Up on the soapbox...

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I eat and what my family eats.
I have seen quite a few blogs that preach about getting a family food budget down to $40 per week. Quite a goal I must say and there are many that are able to do it, which I find amazing, honestly. For awhile these blogs had me inwardly berating myself for spending what I do (which is honestly not that much), and wondering why I struggle so much with clipping coupons (I hate it! I find it frustrating!)...I never seem to find very many that I can use. I thought and thought about it. Then it hit me...one, most of the coupons are for things that we don't or rarely use. I try to avoid purchasing convenience foods as much as possible and I find that most coupons seem to be for over processed, over packaged, chalk full of unknown scary ingredient type foods. That's not to say that we never buy those things... we do have our little pleasures that often come from a chip bag or pint of Ben and Jerry's. Second, there is such a push in America for super cheap food...we want everything but we don't want to pay for it. And we are willing to sacrifice our health and well being for high processed food that supposedly tastes good but, doesn't do a body any good. And also we feel that spending more then 10 minutes a day cooking is a waste of time that could be better spent some other way. I personally would rather pay a little bit more for better food and spend a little bit more time in the kitchen making something wonderful (at least that's the goal). This would equate better pay for small farmers and hopefully increase the push for more focus and availability of local foods. Why aren't we willing to pay more? Why aren't we willing to take quality ingredients and form them into foods that nourish our bodies and nourish the bodies of our families? I read a post here (I can't seem to find the exact post) and something just clicked. Sara talked about how it is privilege to feed ourselves and our families everyday and that we should put the best that we can into the food that we make.
I don't want to discount that many families are hurting right now due to this poor economy. Everyone has to do their best with what they have and what they can afford. Also, I know that there are many that hate to cook, so convenience food is the answer. I also don't want to make it seem like we never eat out or get fast food...we do, however, I know it's not the best that I could be giving to my family but, sometimes I just don't want to cook. And with all of that said I have decided that I am not going to beat myself up for spending more then $40 per week on groceries.
To be honest I often stay away from soap box issues here on the ol' blog. I never want to start a ruckus or insult any one's sensibilities...if I did, please know that it was not my intent and if you do decide that you want to give me what for, then all I ask is that you be gentle...I can be decidedly thin-skinned, just ask my husband. I wouldn't mind a nice healthy dialog on this...maybe you have some points to share that I have not considered?


Amanda said…
sarah...i definitely don't think you will start a ruckus. i completely agree with you...even though i am a couponer...i definitely try to strike the balance between couponing/bargaining and keeping our diet full of fresh food. i find i mostly use coupons to get hygiene type items for cheap or free...and to keep things like granola bars and cereals cheap and on hand. when it comes to lunch and dinner at our house i am all about shopping the "outside" of the grocery...produce, meats, etc. and avoiding the processed stuff as much as possible. i feel like putting the ingredients together is an act of love...part of my ministry to my family. baking fresh bread each week and even making our "treats" things like home-baked chocolate chip cookies rather than chips ahoy may take longer...but the pay-off is great...knowing what exactly i put in AND reaping the benefits in the taste department. i try to stick to a $50 a week budget...and most weeks we are able to do this even while eating few processed foods...but this might also be because i tend to base my weekly menu solely off of sales, in-season fruits and veggies, etc...and i think freezer cooking really helps extend our budget! :)

i'm interested to hear what others have to say!
Fairlightday said…
I understand your dilemma. I deal with it often. I don't know how on earth we would ever do a $40 a week budget. There may come a day when we have too, but I am thankful right now that we don't. We stick with mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, a little beef and I try to keep the amounts of bread and pasta at minimum. It's difficult and we do all organic dairy,flour, sugar, most fresh items, use coconut and olive oil instead or corn and soybean, and buy in bulk. It all adds up quickly. Very few organic items have coupons or go on sale very often. Try finding items without hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup and you will see the prices go up. :) I would love to hear how others keep their costs down with a similar diet. I'm at a loss often trying to keep our groceries at $400 or less a month.

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