A few years ago if you had asked me what would be the biggest expense we would face as a family, other than buying a house, I would probably have said car or vacations. I would have thought about “big-ticket” items.
I would have been wrong… it’s turned out to be food!
When it was just the two of us, we didn’t own a car. I used to walk to the grocery store, fill a large backpack and walk home. It would be heavy but manageable, and it would contain a week’s worth of sustenance.
Every couple of months or so, we would rent a car for the day and run around to do our big errands and stock up on heavy items. Our spending pattern on these days would be so unusual that Visa would often call to ensure our card hadn’t been stolen.
Now that we are the parents of two hungry little boys, our weekly grocery bill has tripled. Visa is no longer shocked by large expenditures.
My eight-year-old seems to have recently acquired a tapeworm and often eats more than my husband and I combined. A typical morning will see him having two heaping bowls of cereal and two pieces of toast with peanut butter.
My six-year-old is still a picky eater but will eat yogurt and cheese like it’s going out of style. And the milk… heaven help us, the milk! We should just have our own cow. Is that legal in the city?
On average, the boys go through a litre of milk a day. To make that statement even more impressive, I’ll tell you that they are in a lunch program that supplies their mid-day milk. So we are only talking about breakfast (including on cereal) and dinner milk. To mitigate the damage, I limit them to one cup of milk with each meal. Between meals, or if they are still thirsty after their milk, they get water.
Our grocery list is pretty basic. Milk, cheese, yogurt, chicken, fish, cereal, fruit, vegetables, bread, canned goods… we don’t buy treats and I try to keep the processed foods to a minimum… but it is still so expensive. What scares me is that they are still only 6 and 8. How crazy is the food bill going to be when they are strapping teenage boys?
I have very active kids. I realize that is a huge contributor to their appetite, but I’m also going to have very active teenagers. They will be in hockey, playing soccer and, of course, running away from the hordes of girls. How will I ever keep enough food in the house to satiate them?
Ever since our boys were born, we have been saving money in an education account. I see now that we should have been putting all of our spare money into a fund for future food.
Excuse me, I have to run to the store. We’re out of milk for the morning.