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Why We Increased Our Monthly Grocery Bill By $75

Guest post from Anne of Modern Mrs Darcy

One year ago I made an unusual decision in the name of frugality: I added $75 to our monthly grocery budget.

When I made that decision, I had whittled our grocery bill down to the lowest point it had been in five years, thanks to discovering MoneySavingMom.com in 2009! I had attacked our grocery bill: getting that dollar figure to drop had become a game — and I was winning.

But then I took our fourth baby to the pediatrician for his 12-month check-up, and found out he was half a pound shy of staying on his growth curve. My kids have all been shaped like little beanpoles — it’s in their genes — and I’m familiar with the drill for slow-to-gain kids like mine: offer lots of quality high-fat foods, early and often. But my baby’s favorite foods (like avocados and Sunbutter) were expensive, and I hadn’t been tossing them in my grocery cart as often as I should have.

Other than being a little on the light side, he checked out great. For most babies, the low weight would have been a wait-and-see issue, but our family’s medical history made it prudent to err on the side of caution. So off we went to the children’s hospital for some routine tests to make sure everything was okay.

$900 later we found out it was. I regretted every avocado I hadn’t bought, thinking how many I could have purchased for that sum.

Even with the good report, our doctor encouraged us to make weight gain a priority. So we re-grouped. My pediatrician and I made a plan, and the linchpin was a diet heavy in healthy foods that were high-quality and high-fat.

I realized that the most frugal thing I could do was increase my grocery budget. I gave myself permission to opt out of the grocery game, and allotted an extra $75/month to stock up on healthy, high-calorie foods.

I still tried to get the most out of our grocery dollars:

But I didn’t sweat the extra expense, because his health was the top priority, and we’d budgeted the funds.

I continue to spend more on groceries than I used to, but that’s okay. My baby just turned two, and when we visited the pediatrician for his well-check he passed with flying colors. Our baby is healthy, and our medical bills have been minimal.

I don’t get the same thrill in the Kroger checkout lane as I did back when our grocery bill was smaller. But by stepping back to focus on the big picture — and not just a single line item of our household budget — I’m being a better steward of our family’s resources.

Anne blogs about redefining the accomplished woman at Modern Mrs Darcy. She’s a voracious reader, writer, and nutrition junkie, and a mom to four healthy and happy kids, who eat lots of almonds and avocados.

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101 Comments

  • I’m so glad your son is okay! And kudos for you for doing what is best for your family even if it means spending more.

    We try to live frugally too, but my husband and I both agree that it’s worth the extra expense to purchase fish, olive oil, wheat to grind, etc. It may cost more today, but I think in the long run it will be better for us and our children. 🙂

  • Emily says:

    Thank you for this post! It’s so refreshing to see someone have this mentality. I get frustrated seeing so many people shop to only get the best price and see how low they can get their grocery bill. I encourage people to actually look at what they are spending their money on and many times it is prepacked, processed, boxed, or canned. Fresh, whole foods are so much better and, while more expensive, the long-term benefits are SOOO worth it. Spend a little more now and your health (and medical bills) will thank you in the future!

  • Leighann says:

    Living frugally doesn’t necessarily mean living cheaply. To me, living frugally means not spending a lot extra on things you don’t need. If you need special types of food in your family, then getting the best deals possible on them IS living frugally. What may be a seriously high grocery budget to one family is a normal budget to another; my family’s grocery budget is $150/week, which includes diapers, baby formula, and mostly organic/all natural foods. I’ve seen where Crystal says her grocery budget is $40/week; we couldn’t buy diapers and formula for that amount, but if I compare my budget to hers, if I compare myself to her, then I can get discouraged. Live frugally for yourself; save where you can so you can buy both what you want and what you need. That’s living frugally!

    • Krysten says:

      Also keep in mind that the $40/week that Crystal has mentioned is JUST groceries, and of course all of her kids are older and wouldn’t need formula.

  • P says:

    I really enjoyed this post! We too increased our grocery budget because I found that buying a large variety of fruits and vegetables (that now make up a larger portion of our diet) was just more expensive. I decided that if I was going to spend my money on anything, it would be on high quality ingredients that not only taste better, but could benefit my body in the long run.

  • Sally says:

    Wise words, indeed.

  • Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! It helps for me to keep things in perspective when it comes to buying food for my family. 🙂

  • Karla says:

    Thanks for this post. My son has food allergies and that tends to increase our food bill. Your post reminded me I shouldn’t feel guilty about our grocery bill being a little more.

  • Food, health, and education are the things I’m willing to pay money for! My car budget and clothes budget just don’t matter as much as these three.

  • Great post Anne! I enjoyed it.

  • Amy Lauren says:

    I love this post. I always heard that saying “You can pay the farmer now, or the doctor later”, and I think it’s true. I feel better personally when I eat good foods- I don’t get sick as often or miss as much work. Technically… the extra time I’m able to work and not having to pay a copay to a doctor/prescriptions IS a savings, even if you’re spending more at the checkout.

    Don’t forget, you can save money in other areas of your budget if you need to spend more on food- that’s what I do. I do a lot of couponing on things like cleaning supplies, household goods, toiletries, etc. That frees up money to spend on healthier foods.

    • Anne says:

      Amy Lauren, I really think that’s what we’re doing. Our outlays are staying about the same, but the individual line items look different.

  • You can make money but you can never buy health, that’s why I believe that it’s worth to spend a little bit more for such an important thing as good nutrition for my kids. It’s like investing in their health. And it’s ok that your monthly food budget is over $30, because kids are worth that, and 1,000 times more. Thank you for this, this post makes you slow down and think about the important things.

  • Jen says:

    This is so good– I’m really working on losing weight and needing to buy more fruits and vegetables more often so upped ours $25 and it’s been so great… I just switched it from another part of our budget (and have been selling things from the house on craigslist 🙂 so we don’t notice it but it’s so much better to eat better and not think about how I can’t afford it.

    • Kathy says:

      Jen:
      Congrats on your focus on eating better and losing weight! I was a huge frugal couponista – until November, when I decided to address my significant weight problem. Up, up went my grocery bill – fruits , veggies, leaner sources of protein and reduced fat dairy will do that to a budget. But I am down almost 25 pounds!!! About 25 more to go- and my increased grocery budget has been worth the little too worn (and big:) ) clothes I am wearing!!!! My whole family is benefiting from this – pay the farmer or the doctor…

  • Hannah says:

    Can you share more about what food sources you use to add healthy fats to your child’s diet. We struggle with that too, plus he has mutiple food
    allergies which makes it more challenging (wheat, corn, nuts, seseme, some cheese – trying to figure out if it’s the rennet that is causing the allergy). Thanks.

    • Hannah, we just found out our daughters are allergic to soy (on top of gluten and milk) so I understand the struggle with this! Depending on what your child is allergic to, great fat sources are butter, cream, coconut oil, coconut milk, olive oil, avocados, and bacon/sausage. I like to add high fat foods to smoothies, and we added cream to my baby’s whole milk for a long time to help him gain.

    • Rachael Waller says:

      My children have both been small and here are some of the foods that we’ve tried or that have been recommended:

      * avacado
      * peanut butter/nut butters
      * eggs
      *cheese (the ones your child can have)
      * full fat yogurt
      * full fat Greek yogurt
      *full fat milk
      * hummus
      * adding ground beef to casseroles (like macaroni and cheese)

      I also have let them have fatty toppings on toast, bagels, etc. (like cream cheese or butter).

  • Penny T. says:

    In the U.S. we spend 1/10 of our income on food (on average), in most other countries they spend 1/5 of their income on food. Most of us can afford to spend more money on our food if we make quality, wholesome foods a priority.

    • ksenia says:

      I was just thinking about pointing this out! I agree 100%. I think making healthful, wholesome, and whenever possible, local and/or organic food a priority should be a no-brainer. For some reason most Americans don’t agree with me.

    • I live in Canada and spend 1/5th our income on food – and still have to be careful with that budget! It does seem like the first place to cut when money is tight but our health matters. I have also found that my family is honestly unhappy when it feels like things are too strict in this department (too rationed or if they never get any little treats). Especially the guys. Anyways, good post and discussion.

  • This is a great reminder to step back and look at the big picture. It’s so easy to get caught up in budgeting and saving money and playing the coupon game. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rachel Jones says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have been trying to get my kids shifted from processed starchy snacks (like the ever popular goldfish cracker and pretzels) to more fruit, veggies, etc. It is more expensive to do so, but in the long run it is so, so worth it 🙂

  • missy says:

    Thanks for posting this! My son had severe food allergies that caused horrible eczema, and for the longest I was trying to budget us under the 50$ a month only to hear my son was allergic to wheat, rye, barley, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, corn, and other stuff I never figured out. So me and ds ( I was breastfeeding) had to go on a strict diet so that he could b e healthy. We redid our whole food budget, and added 90$ a month worth of coconut oil, fish oil, and flax oil and I felt so discouraged. Our bill was so high and the stuff we had to use usually didn’t go on sale, and there were little coupons for us. Anywho hes healed now, Praise God! but I am glad that you posted this just so that people can know that sometimes you may have to go out of budget to keep your family healthy and its soo worth it. Thanks for sharing this!!!

  • Anne, this is a great story that all people should read – never save money at the hands of your or your families health.

  • Great post! This is similar to the reason I stopped making my own babyfood. It took so much time and work (for me personally, I know others don’t seem to have this issue) that I began rationing it when my son started eating a lot more, around 8 months. After a couple days of guilt and wondering where I was going to find time to make all the food to feed this bottomless pit…I had a similar epiphany, step back and BUY some babyfood, lol.

  • Ginger says:

    Larabars are super easy to make if you have a food processor or Blendtec. Google “Lara-type bars” for recipes. It’s just dates, some nut, and some dried fruit. Easy peasy. And way cheaper than buying them ready-made.
    Also, when avocados get super cheap (30c apiece right now), chop them up and freeze them, instead of buying them fresh regardless of the price.

  • Heather says:

    Thank you for sharing Anne! I was falling into that trap when I first started to coupon but after about three months I took inventory of what I had on hand and decided that I needed to focus more on saving for items like toothpaste, toilet paper, soap, shampoo – and not worry so much about saving on the grocery bill unless I was fortunate to find coupons for the natural and healthy foods we enjoy eating. I have found blogs like this to be so helpful – freezer cooking in a hour, meal planning – strategies like that really do save me money over the course of the month but we totally splurge on organic raspberries, blackberries, strawberries – (my boys love them better than sweets!) – all natural peanut butters, larabars (Yum – I love that your child enjoys these too!), raw nuts, grass fed beef, organic milk, eggs from a local farmer, and when our Farmer’s Market is in season – tons of fresh produce from farmers that can tell me exactly how everything is grown and how they don’t use chemicals as they are bad for the soil.

    • Annie says:

      As a health blogger, food is the one part of our budget we don’t compromise. Like Heather, I focus most of my couponing energy on household goods like shampoo, toothbrush, etc.

      Since the birth of our baby, we always have fresh lemons or limes, avacados, cottage cheese, and baby yogurt in the house for her. An avacado cost about $1 here, but it is almost 3 meals for her. And I like squeezing a squirt of lemon or lime juice in water.

      We do not always buy organic, but we try to get the healthiest and freshest food we can. We spend about $100 a week for a family of 3 (and the 3 member is only 1 and still nursing!). My friends are often shocked when they hear about our grocery bill.

  • Marla says:

    Great post! I think the extra money spent at the grocery store is a bargain for healthy kids that aren’t at the doctor’s office every time you turn around.The whole reason to be frugal is so you can have a better life, not just for the sake of frugality.

    • Yes! I’m trying to remember the purpose behind being frugal in the first place! Thanks, Marla!

    • Andrea says:

      “The whole reason to be frugal is so you can have a better life”

      Yes!!

    • Well said! “…so you can have a better life…” GREAT point!

      With our one year old suddenly consuming massive amounts of food (more than me most days and I’m nursing her AND pregnant) but still staying slim and trim, I am happy to see her eat organic whole yogurt, kiwi, oranges, local cheese, etc.

      I have to say that I believe there is a balance. At the beginning of our marriage three years ago we spent about $600 per month on organics for the two of us. Now I am at about $360 for the month and that includes our fats, dairy and meats being organic. We are working on growing our own produce here at home!

  • Meredith says:

    Your health is your wealth! Good for you for putting your family’s health above saving a few dollars on a grocery bill.

  • Lizzie says:

    Great post. I have lost 153 lbs in the past 2 years. I hardly every buy anything that offers a coupon but I’m so much healthier.
    It’s not possible to eat the way I have to eat and have the lowest possible grocery budget.

  • Tara says:

    Yes, yes, yes! We increased our grocery budget for health reasons as well. You have to think about how much you will save long-term by feeding your family healthy foods and saving in health costs down the line. No, I will never save 75% off my grocery order in food coupons–you just CAN’T get coupons for all of the products I regularly buy. I make up for it with my 98% savings at the drug store, though, and in so many other ways :-).

  • Tiff says:

    Hey, I’m having the same problem with my 15 month old. I would love any tips that you have. Thanks so much!!

  • Brenda Z says:

    Great post! Thx so much for this encouragment!

  • Stephanie says:

    Your post is such a blessing, and a confirmation for me! We are going through something similar. At my babie’s last well visit (age 13 mos) she was off the chart – in the “negative 5%”, if there is such a thing. My pediatrician said to stock up on fatty stuff…cook veggies in coconut oil and then add more coconut oil. This all happened during the week when I was coming to term with the fact that I couldn’t seem to make due each week with our grocery budget. So I decided to set aside some tax return dollars for extra groceries during the upcoming year. Your post really is a confirmation to me that I’m on the right track, thank you!

    I would love to hear what high fat foods are your toddler’s favorites. My daughter loves her scrambled eggs in coconut oil, and any type of bread with our italian olive oil dressing on it. I haven’t been able to get her to take to peanut butter yet though.

    • Stephanie, it’s worth noting that I talked to my pediatrician in depth before giving my baby larabars and peanut butter–nuts aren’t always a recommended choice for babies that young.

      I add cream to my baby’s whole milk, put coconut oil in smoothies, add butter to everything (especially eggs, mashed potatoes, and mashed sweet potatoes), and of course I offer lots of avocados.

  • I love this. We’ve been spending more on buying organic and antibiotic free, etc etc (basically “cleaner” food) and I totally agree that paying a bit more in the now can save you a ton in the later 😉

  • Great post! What I’ve found is that most people’s grocery bills stay about the same when they switch to a whole foods diet IF they don’t also continue to buy processed foods. It’s when you try to both that your bill really goes up. Thanks for the encouragement

    • Oh, that’s interesting, Angi–and now that I think about it, very true for our family. I don’t buy junk. Our grocery dollars go to the farmers’ market, the local rancher, and high-fat and high-cal food, but not to soda, doritos and candy bars. Interesting.

    • Lisa-panaMOM says:

      YES!

      We got rid of most processed foods, and our grocery bill dropped.

      1- because I am only buying the real food
      and
      2- because you don’t have to eat as much real food to feel satisfied!

  • Jessica says:

    How do you manage having multiple children and only one needing the extra calories? My middle son was born at 27 weeks and although he is 5, he still struggles with weight gain. However, little brother does not need the extra calories, so I find myself trying to balance that out during meal time. Just curious how you handle that.

    • Jessica, all 4 of my kids have similar builds, and they’ve all needed extra calories–but only up until about the age of two. I do know that my baby’s extra calories can’t always be SEEN by my other kids: when I add cream to his milk, or coconut oil to his smoothie, my other 3 don’t realize there’s anything different about the two-year-old’s food.

      Is there a problem with jealousy when big brother gets extra calories that little brother doesn’t need? I can see how that would cause problems!

      • Jessica says:

        Big brother eats from a very limited amount of food groups(meat and dairy mainly). Because of this, he also drinks Pediasure to make up for the missing food groups. Little brother is very jealous and always trying to take his sippy cup. I used to give big brother protein bars but little brother wants those too. We are still trying to find the balance.

      • Andrea says:

        I found that the more I tried to restrict one, the more she wanted. So I don’t anymore. The kids eat when they are hungry. I provide small servings to start and if they request seconds (and thirds), I give them more. We drink mostly water and try to be active everyday.

    • Brooke says:

      I have the same issue, one at the tip top of the height/weight chart (definitely got MY family’s build) and one at the VERY bottom of the weight chart (like my super skinny husband) who really struggles to gain. It is hard to find a balance. If the little one gets avocado, the big one wants it, etc. etc. I have been able to keep the little one on whole milk while the bigger one doesn’t mind skim and while my older son (the bigger one) is at preschool, the little one gets a healthy but calorie and healthy fat dense snack. I also will use olive oil or butter on the little one’s veggies while I prep them, then the older one doesn’t know they are any different. It is a struggle though because I don’t want to “fatten up” the wrong kid!

      • Andrea says:

        If your husband is super skinny, your son may always be that way, no matter how many calories you try to pump into him.

        I wouldn’t restrict your older child from healthy foods like avocado, as it may backfire in the long run in a variety of ways including jealousy and interestingly enough, overeating.

      • jessica says:

        I really believe that healthy fats will NOT make a kid too fat…it is moreso sugar and processed grains that do that (or too many desserts) Even wholefat dairy (healthy source of course) If the choices are truly healthy i see no need to limit the kid who is on the heavier side…he will feel deprived/frustrated which can cause other difficulties.

  • Our family spends a little bit more on food, too. We eat real food…and do not eat a single “processed” food item…ever!!! That and we eat organic when we can…and for my special health needs, I have to eat gluten free!!! It’s worth it, though…because we don’t believe you can put a price tag on eating healthy..and while our grocery bill is slightly higher than others, we can’t afford really high hospital bills, either. So by eating healthy, we’re avoiding having to go the hospital because we’re not getting sick or coming down with issues from eating junk food. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 😉

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this post. I have a long list of food allergies and at times it has been very discouraging having to buy foods that don’t have my allergens because they are more expensive and generally those items don’t have coupons. To the person who said they would rather spend their money on better quality food instead of paying the doctor and having to take time off. that is a great way of looking at it. Thaank you for this, it reminds me I am not alone.

    • Jennifer, I hear this. Most of our family is gluten-free, we have two with dairy allergies, and only just found out we have soy allergies too! It’s a little hard to get the hang of–and expensive, too!

      You’re definitely not alone on this one!

  • Maegen says:

    I’m currently working on getting our spending down in other areas so that I can increase what we spend on food and buy more organic fruits and vegetables as well as meat.

    I thought this was a very brave post, and I’m so pleased to see all the kind and supportive responses!

  • Tonya says:

    I added $100/mo to my grocery budget this year. I was tired of eating foods out of a box or a can and we switched to probably 60% fresh meat and produce and 40% processed food (and I mean minimally processed) when before it was probably 25% fresh meat & produce and 75% way overprocessed food. I think it’s worth the expense and that’s what’s key here.

  • Sam says:

    This is great! I work hard to get great deals on beauty and cleaning products, which then allows me to purchase tons of fresh fruits, veggies, and meats for my family. I also had to go on a gluten free diet a few months back and I would never be able to afford it if I still had to pay for deodorant and facial cleansers. 😉

  • MamaK says:

    Great post and comments! What is the point of frugality if it doesn’t increase your quality of life, right? There is study after study about how our food choices affect our overall health. If there ever was an area to go for more quality, I think it is feeding our families wholesome foods.

    I agree that eating whole (and organic) foods seems expensive up front. And I’m sure that I do spend more than an extreme couponer would. However, I know what I spend is comparable to what others in my area spend on processed and less healthy choices. We don’t buy soda or many conveience foods. I definitely spend some extra time cooking from scratch and seeking out good deals on what I can, but it is totally worth it to me.

  • Alicia says:

    I have never responded to a post before. I have been a MSM follower for 3.5 years. You are completely right. We are mothers first and money saving moms second. You are doing a fantastic job, just follow your heart and Gods way.

  • Grace S says:

    I had to do the same thing. Increase my grocery budget since myself and my husband are lactose intolerant, and I am Gluten intolerant. My son at the moment isn’t but he will be monitored and tested every 2 years and if it ever shows up inconclusive he will be taken off gluten as well. I’d rather spend a few more dollars keeping everyone healthy and well than not!

  • Michele says:

    I increased my food budget this year so that we could eat better, healthier and help support the local economy/neighbors. I can either pay the farmer or pay the doctor.

    Malnutrition is not just starvation, but also obesity.

  • another Meredith says:

    At the same time, I believe it is important to point out that a lower grocery budget doesn’t necessarily indicate poor health. Crystal does a great job of modeling this principle! When you strip out the carbs, junk and make from scratch, high nutrient density IS possible on a lower budget.

    • very true! I’m always amazing at Crystal’s menu that she posts. Also, I know that several years ago they had a $40 a week budget but then she upped it for these same reasons. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they still have a $40 a week budget.

  • Lisa says:

    What a refreshing post! I’m gluten and lactose intolerant and my husband is vegetarian. I often get frustrated when grocery shopping because there are just so many great deals that I have to pass on because we can’t eat it. Although the foods we do eat are more expensive and usually not on sale, whenever I find rare coupons or nice sales on these items I try to stock up, which helps a lot. Also, we are members of a local organic farm (csa – community supported agriculture), which is a fantastic way to get really great tasting, healthy and high quality produce. I pick up half a dozen vegetables every week from May through October and also get to pick in the fields. During the winter months we go through our large supply of vegetables, soups, and tomato sauces that we prepared and froze and canned in the fall. The yearly membership fee of $350 (if I remember right) comes out to about $7 a week when spread out over the year and is well worth it when you compare it to the often sad looking vegetables in the stores. High quality is so important. However, I will clip coupons and keep an eye out for great deals! 😉

  • Great to see this kind of post on a couponing site!

  • Great post! We increased our grocery budget a few years ago after I started reading about whole foods and began cooking from scratch. Our health and wholesome food is a priority for us, so we don’t mind spending more money in this area. To counter the increased cost, we just cut down on spending in other areas – ex. small clothing budget (shop secondhand), use prepaid cell phone, no big vacations. But I still coupon for non-food items.

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  • Alicia says:

    Thanks SO MUCH for this article!! I really noticed a downgrade in my family’s health after two months or so of sacrificing quality for cost.
    I had to go back to a healthier yet more costly menu. I often struggle with feeling guilty about buying nutrition rich foods and allergy free foods.

    This article was so very encouraging.

  • What a great post. Thanks for the information. Eating right is definitely worth the costs. Although if a stranger were to see me, they probably would assume I don’t eat right. Well, in the past that has been true. However, I am trying hard to incorporate more whole foods in my diet and minimize the amount of carbs I eat. I am not talking about eating a no carb diet. I am talking about cutting back much of the pasta, breads, rice, and Mexican food I eat too much of. I love those type of foods, but it makes me feel bad if I eat too much and I’ve put the weight on to show for it.

    I am trying hard to eat more vegetables with most meals. I am now substituting whole grain breads/tortillas in place of white breads. I am paying the extra dollar for certain foods because they are suppose to be healthier. It is worth it if it makes me feel better. I have a ways to go to lose weight, but the cutting out some of the processed foods will help me lose weight. In fact, I might even save more money! Sorry for the ramble, just a topic I am so interested in now.

  • Anitra says:

    We are moving towards more whole foods in our diet & added another child… When we worked up our overall budget for the year, we decided to add $75/month to buy more fresh and whole foods AND make sure our little omnivore is eating well too.

  • I am so happy to hear this. I LOVE hearing how people are paying a little extra for healthier foods. I believe in that. I think healthy food is important and I would much rather pay more for food rich in nutrients than cheap foods with no nutrition!!! I am seeing more posts about this and I love it! It’s hard to see some “brag” photos these days–where everything in the photo is something I wouldn’t dare touch because of the added sugars, artificial sweeteners, high calorie “junk” foods. Thanks for the post. I hope more people catch on to this. Good health is important and well worth the extra money!

  • Lynn says:

    I love to see such a balanced approach to the grocery bill. It’s true, typically items that very healthy can be expensive and while my family won’t win any awards for the lowest grocery bill ever, I always remember that what goes into your body is very important. I would rather spend $5 on blueberries than spend $2 on cookies! Until I can get my garden up and producing (although I wish I lived where I could garden year round or had the room for a greenhouse – maybe someday!!) then I really will pay whatever is necessary to keep my kids enjoying their fruits and veggies and expanding their taste for great foods!

  • Denny says:

    You are a wise mama. I jumped on the coupon-crazy bandwagon last year but have since learned moderation is good in all things, including being frugal. I found out 8 months ago that I am gluten-sensitive, and my 15-year old daughter found out the same thing 2 months ago. So many items you can get cheaply with coupons are junk! I rarely coupon now and am filling my cart with fresh produce, nuts, and whole foods. I make all my gf stuff from scratch and have never felt better. My grocery bill is really not much more than when I was spending hours couponing. As a busy teacher/school administrator, it just was not worth the multiple trips to Walgreens, CVS, Dillon’s, etc. for a deal on PopTarts. Thanks for encouraging us all to think “balance”.

  • Carrie says:

    I’ve also found that spending a bit more on healthful, delicious items at the grocery store saves us money elsewhere. We are more likely to eat at home when we have quick, nutritious food options like fish, so we spend less eating out.

  • jessica says:

    honestly i find this article rather disturbing…i cant believe that if you (i say that in general, not to the author specifically) have a baby that struggles with being underweight you would even consider for a moment cutting back on grocery spending…(unless you’re truely in dire straights financially…and then ther’s WIC/welfare help). !!

    • Ellen says:

      Jessica, she is saying that she was making different choices to cut back on the grocery bill BEFORE she found out about the weight issue (which was only 1/2 a pound, so not really drastic!). As a healthy adult from a very healthy-eating family where as children we were ALWAYS far below the weight curve, I don’t think this is in any way talking about starvation or children. It sounds to me like they were eating plenty, just not some of those higher-fat-higher-cost items. As soon as the author realized it was an issue, she made sure to up the budget to include them.

      In fact, I think she is making the point that you are – a child’s health is more important than a budget number.

  • Jen@anothergranolamom says:

    I think it is really important to remember that buying high quality food saves in health and energy/quality of life in the long run. Our family is very active, and we wouldn’t be able to do the things we enjoy most without good foods to fuel our day. We make our grocery bill an investment in ourselves.

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