Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'm sorry? Beef costs HOW much!?!

I spent $253 at the grocery store last week.  Three people live in our house.  Three.  Yes, $25 of that was because the ginormous 24/7 kitty litter was on sale for $3.00 off the regular price so I had to get at least two of them, but that still means that the other grocery type items cost a whopping $228.00.  For a week's groceries. And I wasn't buying shampoo or deodorant or toilet paper in bulk.  I wasn't buying junk food or pop.

You can cross out the two loaves of over-priced gluten free bread and that will knock the total down another $10.00 and we're down to $218!!  For a week's groceries.  FOR THREE PEOPLE!!!  But really, a loaf of regular rye bread is still over $3.00.  For a loaf of bread.

I'm morphing into Elinor from Sense and Sensibility...

David & Rissa
Surely you are not going to deny
us beef as well as sugar?

There is nothing under $10.00 a kilogram.
We have to economise.

David & Rissa
Do you want us to starve?

No. Just not to eat beef.

How do poor people manage? If I'm balking at paying $10.00 for a kg of ground-freaking-beef - how are people who don't have money managing to get their protein?

Sure, they could go the vegetarian route, just shop around the outside aisles, but even peanut butter costs a good chunk of change now and despite what the peanut butter companies try to tell you, it's not really a good serving of protein.  Vegetarian 'meat' products are pretty much as over-priced as the gluten-free products.  One could have tofu - which apparently is cheaper, but I'm not supposed to ingest soy - at least not in the 4 hour period surrounding my medication.  Beans.  They could eat beans.  They could buy them in bulk and soak them overnight, cause we all know that planning meals 24 hours in advance is what working families have time for.

Meat is expensive.  Milk is expensive.  Cheese is expensive.  In our house, we go through all three of those things like hotcakes.  Wait a second!  That's IT!!! We should  just eat hotcakes!!! We could save tonnes of money.  Flour, eggs*, a little milk... although David is determined not to skimp out on the syrup, which means we only have maple syrup, so that runs us about $10.00 a litre.  So we're pretty much screwed on the syrup front.  *Frankly we're screwed on the egg front as well, now that we're eating free-range eggs.

When Rissa was little, I used to budget about $125 a grocery shop.   So $500 a month for groceries - ish.  Now we are spending about $800 a month on groceries.  What are the families doing who have two kids?  What about the families who have three or more kids, two of them teenaged boys who eat their weight in carbs?

You can't skimp on food.  You can't.  And yet I put down those red peppers and/or those individual apples because they're too expensive - I can't afford them.  And if I'm doing that, what is the single mom who lives from pay cheque to pay cheque doing?  What are her kids missing out on?  What are the families who live in Northern Canada missing out on?   The families who have to pay $12 for a box of freaking Rice Krispies...  or $8.00 for spaghetti, not to mention fresh produce?

I struggle to make vegetables a priority for our family, knowing full well that I need to be pumping us full of vegetable and fruit supplied nutrients because those foods have supplanted grains at the bottom of the Food Pyramid... The Canadian Food Guide doesn't even have a pyramid now - it  has a rainbow with vegetables and fruits as the top colour.

And yet, there are only 4 colours on this rainbow which is just wrong  PLUS those colours mess with my sense of the proper ROYGBIV colour spectrum because this rainbow goes GYBR.  OCD kicking in - in 4,3,2,1...

So what do we do about it?  Do we become bulk coupon-cutters?  (Which, whenever I'm looking to use them, never seem to improve on No-Name prices anyway.)  Do we only shop when No Frills has their $2 (which used to be $1) Days??    Do we turn back the clock and live like we did in our early 20s, existing entirely on rice and pasta?  Remember Ramen Noodles?  Remember those?  My family can find some spare change on the incidental line in our monthly budget if we really want the good produce.   We can buck up and finance a healthful diet.  But not every Canadian has that... I was just about to type  'luxury.'  Eating healthfully in Canada shouldn't be a luxury.  Feeding your kids well shouldn't bankrupt you.

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