Sunday, September 6, 2009

The BIG switch - one month down.

There is more to this than school lunches...

This is about the one month mark for a grocery overhaul in our house.   The number one comment we have gotten from people when we tell them we are buying mostly all organic is.... "But aren't organic items more expensive?"
Our answer... "UH, HUH,  BUUUUUT..."  you knew there was going to be a but there, didn't you?!  "We are paying more money on individual items, but we are buying less."

Now for the total hypocritical statement - this past month, my grocery bill was close to $1000!!!!!!!!!

A little background info. here..... I was coupon queen!   At one point in my crazy couponing days, I had 6 of every coupon and would match store sales with coupons for rock bottom prices.  It was normal to open my pantry and see a rediculous amount of  mustard, ketchup bottles, bbq sauces, cereals, fruit snacks and a full shelf overflowing with brownie and cake mixes that I didn't even pay a single cent for!  I have stocked my house and pantry on $250 a month (including toiletries AND dog food!).  A MONTH!
That is what I just averaged a WEEK!

so... am I freaking out a bit about my spending this month?  no.  I am remarkably  calm.  I see the bigger picture.   Have you ever moved before and tossed all the open containers?  I have.  3 times in the last 8 years.  Each move we kept what we could, but tossed anything nearing it's date and gave away whatever would not make the month in storage  (side bar - why do moves never run smoothly?  I don't think I have ever gone directly from one house to another!).  Each time we moved, the first few shopping trips were ridiculously high.

Well, we have moved.  Not physically, but we have moved none the less- into a new phase of life - attempting to educate ourselves a little more about what we put in our mouths.  Now, please don't think I have blinders on.  I know I can't control the world around me.  I know my kids are still asking me to buy dora cereal or GI Joe fruit snacks. I am aware of what I am competing with!  My homemade food is not as fun as dora, or as shoot 'em up cool as GI Joe... but I' working on it!
I am not trying to shelter my family from the rest of the non organic world - but If I can make more meals at home, try new things and keep them fun and exciting, I can at least control what goes into our bodies about 90% of the time.  I figure with 3 meals a day, plus snacks that 90% of the time, meals come from our house.  Yes, they will eat gummi worms from Grandpa, and eat who knows what at friends houses, but if our diets are 90% free of chemicals, HFCS, and genetically modified foods, then I am ok with that!  It is a 90% change from where we were!

So back to the cost - The first few weeks were the most expensive.  There were a few costco and specialty store runs in there to overhaul the fridge and pantry.   There are still a few items I would like to switch over, but for the most part I think I have done it!   I even hit up a few pantry item clearance/overstock sales at the chain grocery stores in the area (guess the rest of the area isn't buying organic?) I feel pretty competant now that my fridge and pantry are loaded with basics.  My grocery bill this week consisted of $70 at Kroger and $20 at the farmer's market.  That is $90 a week.  I think I can do this for under/right around $100 a week.  Winter may bring some new challenges, but I am up for it!  I am sure it is fluctuate a bit, but as I said above, we are paying more for less.


  1. Holy smokes! Thanks for being totally honest. 1000 a month would totally freak me out, but I agree on the no gmo, no hcfs. It's worth it to be 90%.

    We are far from 90%. My husband isn't totally onboard and he skews a bit to the dark side.

    Good luck this winter!

  2. That was doing a complete revamp with a few high dollar costco runs included. This month will be/should be/BETTER be MUCH less!

  3. Amanda-your blog is fantastic! I love love love your lunchbox photos:) We made the switch to Organics about a year and a half ago and it does get much better... I average about $80/week during the summer months (we have a garden full of veggies) and closer to the $100/week other months. Have you checked out Organic Deals & Coupons (not my blog...), she is pretty good about letting readers know where the deals are!
    How old are your children?
    My son is in preschool right now and he always takes a healthy snack and a bottle of water. But he tells me that his friends have fruit snacks, chocolate chip cookies and 'juice bags',which I assume is a Capri Sun ;). So far he hasn't asked for those things and he genuinely wants to take an apple. Are your kids getting any peer pressure? If so how do you handle it?

  4. We did a garden this year, but my more substantial items didn't quite make it. The herbs, small tomatoes, and peppers did very well but we lost the squash, cantaloupe, zucchini, etc.
    I'll read more and try again next year!

    my kids are 7 and 4. I teach pre-school two days a week. I have seen some really good lunches come through the school and some that really make me cringe.

    My daughter is a non issue (right now) for peer pressure. My son's biggest struggle is that most kids buy their lunch. We tried that route a little last year, but he always picked nuggets and usually would fess up that he added ice cream. I have not let him buy a lunch yet this year. I will, but have just avoided it thus far. I have to say, he likes getting attention from a few teachers who come check out his lunch from time to time. A few kids do too! I know he still misses some of the 'old foods' but he also gets excited over some of the fun lunches and likes to help sometimes.

  5. Just love your blog! Thanks for following mine. I have to admit that for a family of five, eating mostly organic, I spend about $250/week on groceries. I know it's insane. That went up from under $200/week before making the switch to all natural, organic foods. It's worth it to me. When a friend of mine told me that her niece started her period at 9 (NINE!!!) that was enough to convince me that I did not want my kids ingesting growth hormones and chemicals. I do not want my daughter to have to deal with those kinds of issues at 9 or 10 or even 11 (though I know it's out of my control).

    I'm pretty sure we'll go completely broke buying groceries once my two boys hit puberty, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

    Great lunch ideas!!



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