The Famous Food Budget Quandry

Meredith over at Like Merchant Ships has posted many wonderful posts in the past few weeks. I really enjoy reading her blog for its rather balanced and realistic view on frugality. Recently, Sallie over at A Gracious Home, another blog I adore, stated that she just didn’t think it possible to buy good food on a $50 a week grocery budget. I found myself agreeing with both ladies – if you are picky or have certain preferences in brands, etc, yes, $50 a week can be hard! If you buy only organic, here in the Upper Midwest, it can be darned expensive! I do find myself debating on whether I should buy that gallon of organic milk for $6 on sale, or if I should just buy the $3 gallon and put the other $3 in my son’s college fund (sorry, college fund!). It is definitely a quandry for me. I have a pretty vehement hatred for Walmart – our local Walmart in Burlington is lacking on the customer service, as well as selection: I don’t think they stock as often as they should!

Either way, I find myself still shopping there. Why? I can get Walmart to match other stores sale prices, use my coupons, and get items for near free. I can’t do that at my local grocery (which is now corporately owned). During the summer, you won’t find me anywhere near the grocery or Walmart for eggs and produce – we have a wonderful farmer’s market owned by the Bowers family in East Try. I have no problem paying a bit more for FABULOUS produce, while supporting my local farmers. But I can’t afford to buy all of my groceries this way all the time – we use our fair share of Hamburger Helper, box muffin mixes, etc from time to time. I’d rather buy a loaf of wheat bread for 89 cents than spend the day in the kitchen making bread and missing out on my family. It is all about a return on investment – and at any rate, DH was raised on Wonderbread and other store bought breads. He’s not so much a fan of the homemade variety for sandwiches (which are only Oscar Mayer bologna, thankyouverymuch!).

I could be upset that I can’t afford to feed my family organic and free range all the time. But I’m not. I do my best to make the most balanced meals possible so they’re as healthy as possible. If I get too hung up on not being able to afford all organic, that I must grind my own wheat and make my own bread, not allow processed foods in my home, and only allow DH and our family eat oatmeal or ‘healthy’ cereals (he and I both love our Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa puffs on occasion. NOT every day….), then I’m missing the point. I’m not being grateful for the blessings I’ve been given and that’s never any good.

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