Send Me Your Reality Check - GIVE THEM FOOD...and other ways to cope with life Blog at Allrecipes.com - 180427

GIVE THEM FOOD...and other ways to cope with life

SEND ME YOUR REALITY CHECK 
 
Jun. 13, 2010 2:27 pm 
Updated: Jun. 22, 2010 4:03 am
I hope
you all had a great week and were able to keep your receipts !   Over 300 of you planned to take part in this reality check!
You can follow my format below or do your own thing.........

*Shopping for 3 adults...sometimes 5 when other kids are home from college
*living in the Mid West
*counting all grocery store purchases including, paper, wine,etc.
*counting any money spent on food out including snacks and coffee

What I thought I spent per week:....
     Grocery stores..Kroger, Costco, Walmart..........$200
     Lunches out.......................................................$ 15.
     Coffee/snacks....................................................$   6.
     Dinners out........................................................$ 30.
                                                                                        Total weekly:  $251.00

What I actually spent this week...
     Grocery stores...................................................$248<
     Lunches out.......................................................$ 40.
     Coffee/snacks....................................................$23.<
     Dinner out...........................................................$45.<
                                                                                        Reality check:  $356.00

Cost of not paying attention to what I'm spending is $105.00 / week or $5,460.00 per year!!!!!!!!!


It was very interesting to me that I thought the biggest head in the sand item would be my grocery bill......obviously eating out was.
OK, deep breath.....move forward.........
NEXT BLOG.....
ways to fix this mess.

Your turn..........




 
Comments
JOAN 
Jun. 13, 2010 5:56 pm
If you spent $325.00 per week that would be $16,900.00 per year. If that is somewhere around 10% of your annual income you should be okay. But we have no outstanding loans; house, cabin, cars and boats are all paid for, so maybe my 10% won't work in other scenarios. Erimess has some interesting points doesn't she...a real trooper.
 
Jun. 13, 2010 6:58 pm
Yeah, I totally forgot to even look at it. I might next time I'm on the other computer.
 
Jun. 13, 2010 8:16 pm
Ok, I read the previous post and all the responses! I have two adults and a twelve month old in our home! In a typical week, our bill is $130+. That does not include pet food, diapers, cleaning supplies that comes from Sams. Lunch, breakfast and dinner out about $120. I guess I have expensive taste. Now, we have been buying more organic lately and now our weekly bill is close to $200!
 
Jun. 13, 2010 11:53 pm
I'm shocked (for the good)! I also added my two grandsons ages,5 & 7 in because their with us for a few weeks. What I thought I spent per week:....Estimated: Grocery stores ..........$150 Lunches out................$0 Coffee/snacks.............$0 Dinners out.............$8. Total weekly: $158.00 What I actually spent this week... Grocery stores........$74.19 Lunches out...............$0 Coffee/snacks..................$0 Dinner out.............$8.25 Reality check: $83.33 I COULD NOT SAY THIS 2 WEEKS AGO BUT PROUDLY CAN SAY TODAY. From 1 month ago I know I've cut my food/grocery bill by 1/4, yeah! Great Blog..God Bless!
 
Jun. 14, 2010 12:01 am
Note: Prepare all food at home, we might get a Starbucks every other month. We have 0 debt, pay cash for all our cars, furniture & electronics, have lots tucked away in savings that isn't touched + a Roth IRA. Give about $700+ a month to various charities. What I do spend $$ on is designer purses! No children at home makes it easier to save and buy beautiful purses.
 
Jun. 14, 2010 12:26 am
Over 300 people! My gosh! I'll have to install my accounting software to get my records but will try to do that soon. In the meantime, I'm going to start with a small "trooper" comment. (Am I a trooper? Never thought of myself that way.) There was much disparity between what people spend, and I think a little too much of people trying to compare themselves with others. I think the important lesson in all this is simply paying attention to what you're doing, being aware of things. Maybe someone spends more on groceries than someone else, but less on something else. And maybe that coffee is important to one person but not another. I believe we all have to have our "thing" that we just have to buy. (My money-gobbler "thing" is the wine.) And of course, if you can afford it and have a good retirement set up, and don't care, more power to ya! :-) Awareness (and some restraint) are the keys, not the actual dollar amounts. OK, the accountant will crawl back into her hole now...
 
cocojo 
Jun. 14, 2010 4:29 am
Great job Honey! Erimess...good comments for us,thanks! I agree, that this was just a good exercise in awareness, and no need to crawl back in your hole..we need you and your accountant brain!
 
cocojo 
Jun. 14, 2010 4:31 am
joan....that definitely makes me feel better..thanks!
 
Jun. 14, 2010 7:40 am
OK - I had a bit of an advantage as I've been couponing over the past year and set a goal for myself for the month of June to only spend $250 - that's it...diapers, dog food, toiletries and food...everything :) So, because of couponing I have a decent stockpile. For the first two weeks of June, I spent $109.40 (or $54.70 a week). I have $140.60 left for the end of the month and if I stick to it - me and the dh are going out to eat, LOL!! I've definitely avoided going to the store as much as I usually do and didnt wander through the whole store looking at everything while shopping - I stuck to my lists! I shopped between 5 stores (Winco, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Costco and a local fruit/veggie stand) - combined shopping trips with other errands or on my way home from work and bought basics - milk, ground beef, fruit, veggies, bread, eggs, cheese - I'm keeping a tally and have the receipts shoved in an envelope.
 
Jun. 14, 2010 7:51 am
This has become my goal over the past year - I'm looking at this budget thing (getting the credit card paid off for good and saving an emergency fund) as my job! I love coffee, taking the kids out for treats, clothes, etc...shopping is fun and being a "foodie" I love to go and find new and different ingredients, etc - so, I know how easy it is to spend. I'm very motivated and have even started a separate account in which I put my rebate money - I've been able to keep it up high enough so that I can pay for my hair appt or clothes for me and the kids out of that account. There are instances in which you can "make money" with rebates, coupons - you just have to be very patient....really...and I sock that money away - $10 here, $5 there, I even made $10 taking a survey - goes right into the "coupon acct" :-) Then I dont feel guilty at all if I want to go buy a new shirt and use my coupon money, LOL.
 
Jun. 14, 2010 9:41 am
This week: Chinese Take-out 23.25 Kroger 17.85 Kroger 8.51 Kroger 23.15 Publix 7.25 Food Lion 21.82 Total 101.83 Not really too far from my guess. The chinese was a last minute splurge since i had a big interview at work and did not feel like cooking before work ( work 3-midnight).
 
Jun. 14, 2010 3:29 pm
Two adults living in London, UK................ Estimate: $100 (about £65) ---- Actual: $160 (about £105) ................. The breakdown:: Groceries $50, DH lunch at work $20, Eating out $90 ............................. I told myself I wasn't going to "qualify" my bills, but in all reality, it is the end of the school year and the beginning of the World Cup, so we went out for drinks with friends 4 nights this week, which is not typical. Also, it was our anniversary, and duck isn't in an average grocery budget. Within groceries and going out, $60 was purely for alcohol, which makes up the budget difference. If we had only gone out once or twice, it would probably have been about $120
 
Jun. 14, 2010 3:37 pm
P.S. I don't know if I'll be able to do it until we move back to the States in October, but does anybody have tips for "couponing"? I know my parents get a Safeway newspaper type thing every so often in the mail, but it seems more like just advertising their deals rather than clip-able coupons. How do you find/use your coupons to save money?
 
Jun. 14, 2010 5:14 pm
Well, I was pretty much right-on for what I spend. There are currently 3 adults eating here as my son is home from college. I estimated $150/week at grocery store and another $100 for eating out. Actual amount was $162 at the grocery store, $58 eating out, and I guess I have to count the $60 we spent at the winery on food and wine Saturday afternoon.
 
cocojo 
Jun. 14, 2010 7:00 pm
Great job everyone! I like the idea about a seperate account for coupon and rebates and little extras
 
Jun. 14, 2010 7:26 pm
What I thought I spent per week:.... Groceries at Walmart.(I mistyped last time).......$100 School Lunches................................................. $15 Coffee/snacks.....................................................$75&#10; Dinners out.........................................................$30&#10; Total weekly: $220 What I actually spent this week... Groceries at Walmart&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..........$80&#10; School Lunches................................................. $0 (School’s out) Coffee/snacks.....................................................$52&#10; Dinners out.........................................................$57&#10; Reality check: $199.00 ($214 if school was in) (Not sure if that is the case all the time. I suspect it could be worse!)
 
Rae 
Jun. 14, 2010 7:43 pm
Ok so I said 60 a week with 50-75 a month for going out/pizza. Instead of shopping for 2 weeks this week I did it for one so I could see what I was spending weekly. I spent 58 at the grocery store, then 15 for milk and bread runs through the week. I've been going through those a lot more quickly since the kids are home. Then we spent 5 for a snack out and 32 for pizza. So I'm off a little bit but I was pretty close. Really need to cut back on the pizza and going out. It's sad that one meal cost half of my actual groceries. Also on Saturday I made my trip to Sam's Club that I do every 3 months. I'm not sure where to include that at but I spent 88 on food there :)
 
Jun. 14, 2010 7:46 pm
I don't know about cutting back on my grocery shopping since I'm already pretty good at cutting coupons, we only go out about once a year, I make most everything from scratch and I grocery-store jump. BUT, I did recently cut out all trips to my favorite coffee place and I figured out I was saving almost 75 bucks a week, just by cutting that out!
 
Jun. 14, 2010 8:52 pm
Griffen10 - there are tons of coupon blogs - I frequent www.thekrazycouponlady.com, www.hip2save.com, www.pinchingyourpennies.com, www.athriftymom.com and www.fabulesslyfrugal.com - some are local to my area (kind of NW..WA, OR, CA, ID) - but they have links to other sites as well :) Its sort of confusing at first, then you just gotta dive right in!
 
Jun. 14, 2010 9:28 pm
never gave you an estimate because groceries is the one area of spending that I know where we stand. I go to the wholesaler 4 times per year and purchase baking goods, cereal, pastas, canned goods, etc-spend 300-400$/trip. I spend 20-30$/week in the summer on fresh fruits and 50$/week on perishables-milk, eggs, cheese, etc...so I spend between 80-95$/week on groceries to feed a family of 4 and several extra people on weekends. The boys always have friends over and we often have other family on weekends. We also eat out once every coupld months.
 
Jun. 15, 2010 1:37 am
J&D's Mom - do you like doing surveys? If so you might try harrispoll.com. They were doing surveys back before all the online stuff. They have a point system and when you get enough points, you get to pick a gift. Granted, the surveys take some time and it can take a while to get these points. But you can sometimes get gift certificates, like I just got a $35 one for Amazon. So nice way to add some little thing for yourself without it coming from the paycheck. (I also had $75 worth of Amazon from a credit card that does points, but I forced myself to use half of that for practical stuff.)
 
cocojo 
Jun. 15, 2010 4:18 am
Justus...thanks for the coupon sites. I think next blog we'll tap into some of you who have coupon secrets to share.
 
cocojo 
Jun. 15, 2010 4:19 am
Redneck...what is a wholesalers? didn't know there was such a thing for groceries..
 
JARRIE 
Jun. 15, 2010 5:17 am
All stuff purchased at grocery stores for this week: 148.10. Food out: 13.16 However, the 148.10 figure includes all my cat food and paper products and whatnot, plus I bought a whole bunch of stuff at Walmart to organize my summer clothes in the closet too. Subtracting things humans don't eat OR use for regular food prep (like saran wrap): $95.18 & $13.16. I thought this was a very neat experiment!
 
JARRIE 
Jun. 15, 2010 5:19 am
As usual I typed too fast. That's shopping for 2 adults, more or less. (I do make sweets in larger quantities to give away but that doesn't really count.)
 
Jun. 15, 2010 7:13 am
Thanks Erimess - I'll check them out. I havent signed up with any of the survey sites (well, I did and everything was going to my spam and I didnt realize it). I almost got involved with some private shopping, but realized with 3 little boys, I don't have the time to do that right now - maybe when they are a bit older. The survey I did was just some random "fat boy" icecream survey - I also got a coupon for a free box of fat boy ice cream - and of course I lost it! UGH! I did a Star olive oil survey once and got 4 coupons for free olive oil - that was worth it to me :) I love getting "rewards"!
 
JOAN 
Jun. 15, 2010 8:30 am
"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning" by J.B. Priestley. And sometimes, some of us so wish there was a way to delete a comment and not need a fresh start.
 
cocojo 
Jun. 15, 2010 7:01 pm
joan....love that quote.
 
Jun. 16, 2010 2:32 am
I cheated. I didn't keep receipts for a week. Well, I did because I keep all receipts but they're in a big mess - I get behind on things. I went into my accounting program and pulled the last six months I happened to enter (which is also way behind). And I divided by 26 weeks. JUST groceries was $22. That's lower than I quoted before, simply cause I was also spending close to $10 on eating out at the time, which I have cut WAY back on, cause it was a bad time & I didn't feel like cooking a lot. Hence I probably spend closer to $30 on groceries & not much on eating out. I also spent $15 on wine. :-) That's actually high also. Since it was a bad time I was drinking nearly every day, along with going out to eat with my brother a lot. No, I'm not an alcoholic - I might drink every night, I might have nothing for 3 months. $2 on paper products, cleaning, etc. and then $5 on my "health & beauty aids" and a big chunk of that is my vitamins and contact supplies. The big one I never mentioned before is $22 on cat food - I don't even get it at the grocery store so I never thought about it. I feed mostly canned and therefore spend a lot. I discovered the hard way how costly that cheap, dry can be, both in medical expenses and heartache. Oh, that includes litter. But yup, I spend almost as much on food for my cats as me. So I suspect we should say there's 3 people in my household. Even some of the cleaning supplies are for the carpet cleaner for the cat puke. :-) Oh, I forgot the big $1.60 on snacks. That's what I buy individually and not stuff I might get at the grocery store cause *gasp* I actually include those in with groceries.
 
Jun. 16, 2010 2:43 am
So, the budgeting accountant has a big whopping total of $300 a month. But... almost a third of that is for the cats and I don't give in on that. And $60 a month on wine is just not normal. Besides I also sort of "collect" it - I have a wine rack full of the stuff. So it's almost a hobby in a way. If we dump the wine hobby and the cats, it's about $175 a month for "grocery store stuff" and eating out and what very little snack stuff I buy. I'm also not a college student on a tight budget. I don't spend a lot on me really, like entertainment and that sort of thing - no cell phone, no cable, just about never go out. I've never spent a lot on that, and I guess that's good or I couldn't afford the cats. :-)
 
cocojo 
Jun. 16, 2010 4:26 am
Erimess....I'm sending you my 80 pound puppy...he'll live a much better lifestyle at your house!
 
Jun. 16, 2010 7:32 pm
I estimated that I spend about $400 a month on groceries. This includes all paper products, cat/dog food, diapers, wine, etc. Here are the actual amounts so far... Oh yeah, there are three people in my household, 2 adults and a two year old, and we live in the Midwest. Grocery Store: $115.96 Eating Out: $13.48 Target: $14.51 ------------------------ Total so far: $143.95 The food should be enough to last us two weeks so if all goes well, we will end up below what I thought we spend. That would be lovely!!
 
Jun. 16, 2010 7:33 pm
LOL The lines and spaces that I created in my last post didn't show up, and now everything looks funny. Sorry, I hope it's not too confusing now. :o)
 
Jun. 16, 2010 10:13 pm
80 pound *puppy*? Ok, now I call every dog I like a "puppy" even if it's 12 years old. But do you literally mean a puppy? And I don't really know much about taking care of dogs. Er, well, I can take care of one, but I mean like training them and such. I imagine he's much more expensive to feed than my cats.
 
Jun. 17, 2010 5:51 am
I think keeping track is a real eye opener for all of us. I'm just not sure yet if I want to know! I will have to track over a 4-6 week period as my freezer cooking weeks blow the budget but then I'm spending less in other weeks. I know my not grabbing take out on the go saves me tons. Should've done this little exercise before I became a freezer cook. That would be the real comparison for me.
 
NancyH 
Jun. 17, 2010 7:03 am
Don't remind me.... I want to get into couponing, but it does take up a LOT of time, so with five kids right now all at home, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon LOL. I always enjoy when I save some with EB at CVS though!!
 
Jun. 17, 2010 8:04 am
Cocojo-the wholesaler is The Real Canadian Superstore Wholesaler, it's similar to Costco, but I don't need to buy a membership. Superstore in Canada is a large food chain-like Safeway. They keep their prices extremely competitive, their wholsesaler has even better prices. Unlike Costco, I can purchase for example 1 bag of apples for 3$ of 2 for 5$. They have a huge assortment of these types of deals-many on dried staple/baking items which can last for awhile in the cold room. I also do not include toiletries in my grocery bills, they stay separate. I have my own garden, raise my own chickens and turkeys, we buy our pigs whole and butcher, and we eat mostly wild meat. I sell turkeys close to Thanksgiving to recoup my meat costs. It is very interesting to me to read all the comments-great idea for a blog.
 
Janet 
Jun. 17, 2010 10:16 am
192.65 for the whole week, and that is trips to the grocery store and farmers market. I had one cup of coffee out this week but it doesn't count it was offered for free. I spent a little more than I thought I usually do, but I am feeding a family of 5 adults, 3 being young adults that eat a lot. This next week will be a killer because of Father's Day barbeque; daughters birthday and a potluck barbeque that I am going to as well. I am feeding 14 on Father's Day. Thank you for bringing the awareness and for everyone fessing up to their receipts. One thing I believe it has taught us is to try and become better cooks and make things from scratch because their is definitely savings there. I already do this now and will continue to find even more opportunities to find ways to reduce my costs. Thanks for a great blog.
 
nymbus 
Jun. 17, 2010 10:42 am
Ok, so I know that food/groceries are my major budget killer. I spend close to $500 a month on all groceries and eating out. Nearly every lunch I go out with coworkers, and my bf and I eat out once or twice a week. We live together, and his 9-year old bottomless pit stays with us 1/2 time as well. As I'm reading the responses here, it seems like most folks are supremely pleased as punch with themselves and their spending, and despite my huge budget, I am too. I love having huge piles of food in the pantry, and I like eating out with friends and family often. It's my main form of entertainment. Some people like movies, I like good food. I suppose when broken down, I'm only at 140.00 a week for all food purchasing, which includes the kiddo and bf. I'm sure bf eats out on occasion for lunches also, and he has a $3 day habit of diet coke buckets, which are his budgeting issue. That doesn't include my dog food, which I get at costco once every other month. A tool I find really helpful is Mint.com. It allows you to real-time track all your accounts, credit cards, and set budgets for yourself. Take a look, it's a secure site and one that really helps give the bigger picture to people like me who don't keep reciepts. (My contribution to less paper out there). Good times!
 
nymbus 
Jun. 17, 2010 10:44 am
I should mention, I live in Oregon and my exact budget for last week was $172, with one big dinner out and a huge two-week shopping trip done as well. :)
 
Janet 
Jun. 17, 2010 10:52 am
Another note: Someone made a good point that we cannot compare each others grocery costs, we live in different areas of North America and beyond and we have different size families to cook for with different circumstances. I believe this blog was to help each other become aware of our spending habits and become aware of where our money is going. Someone realized that they spent 1/4 of their grocery total on eating out; what a valuable lesson to learn that only one meal cost as much as 1/4 of the total food bill for the week. So many people don't know where there money is going and can't understand why they aren't possibly able to save money. The advice of sharing information and ideas on coupons, certain programs available to help reduce costs, buying in bulk, where to shop are all valuable tools to be using. I feel sad for the person who said they have 5 children and just hasn't the time to look over the expenses. Consider the household a business and that you are managing that business; if you start today you will know exactly how the house is being run. Consider it a life lesson and find the time to manage it; it is a great project. In high school my home-economics teacher (she was actually from the southern states and taught here in Canada), she taught us how to cost out each meal we prepared; what a valuable tool to be using today. Her name was Gaye Raye (not kidding), and she was the most influential and one of the most amazing women I have ever met. God bless you Mrs. Raye.
 
Jun. 17, 2010 1:19 pm
Wow, I'm loving all this advice. I'm one of those that really doesn't want to know, but you make a great point Janet, my household should be run like a business. I'm going to go look at my debit card (I use debit for everything) just to get a general idea. I know I spend way too much on groceries. I'm feeding 4 big eaters every single meal, snack, etc. None of us spend money on these things, so it's a pretty big grocery bill for me.
 
Jun. 17, 2010 1:36 pm
nymbus, nothing wrong with eating out being your entertainment. For some people it is - it's their get-together with friends or whatever. The majority of eating out (restaurants, not the fast food) has been nothing but going out with the group. Or at least, nothing wrong with it from a financial point of view, since most people spend hoards on entertainment. (Health point of view might be different depending on what you get. I know I eat worse.) However, not keeping receipts is NOT cutting back on paper - hate to burst your bubble on that one. The receipt prints - it took paper to do that. And my entire collection of receipts for a year could fit in a small shoebox, which is nothing compared to all the tons of garbage people are printing off the internet all the time, using the computer that supposedly is supposed to save paper - HA!
 
poush 
Jun. 17, 2010 4:11 pm
This post inspires me to cut back on my spending... I am a student, had to get a line of credit (I'm working for the summer, but tuition is 20 000, plus apartment and internet and phone another 900 a month, will go up to 1200 when I move out of my bachelor pad and into a real 1 bedroom in August!!), and working while in a professional program is not worth it. I did it for a year in undergrad and came out debt-free, but now my studies are too important. I was in London last week and did okay for meals (less than 4 pounds a day) BUT Starbucks killed me... some days I would have 2 lattes-- no public loos in England, and if I was going to have to pay I'd at least want to get something else out of it! Anyways, no more little purchases like lattes for me this month! I'm going to keep track of everything and see how much I spend. Should be interesting, thanks again for the inspiration!
 
Janet 
Jun. 17, 2010 5:26 pm
Poush: I sympathize with young people today, to get a good job you need an education, however to pay for the education you need a good paying job to make ends meet. Yes your studies are very important. I believe the recession will change a lot of us and our thinking about treating and spoiling ourselves too often, everything in moderation is fine. We have to become more creative and create these specialities at home. Years ago we didn't have all of these luxuries of eating out places and coffee houses, were people better off then? I treated myself to a Keurig Coffee Maker, the one that takes the individual discs. Typically this coffee costs me .50 cents to make and I can enjoy a coffee that is just as good if not better than any restaurant. I don't have to brew a big pot and either drink it all or waste it, no measuring the grounds or water. I have friends that buy a coffee for $1.50 everyday and don't always stop at just buying one. The rage in Canada is buying your coffee from a place called Tim Hortons, I swear that they put something in it because it seems that everyone is addicted to the coffee, cars are lined up 20 deep to get their coffee and that just isn't in the morning either. I think it is absolutely ridculous, it is like a culture thing that everyone has to be a part of. I have neighbours that drive to pick up their morning coffee to have at home, does this make sense are we that lazy to not be able to figure out a way to make coffee when we are going nowhere anyway? I get the fast food drive-thru thing but the coffee baffles me. When did we get so nutty?
 
Jun. 17, 2010 8:19 pm
Janet - I know what you mean about everything requiring eduation. Whatever happened to the experience of work and real life? People spend so long in front of a book that they have no clue about real life. I work in the college environment so not like I want people to quit. LOL. But really, pretty soon it'll take 20 years just to have the education to flip hamburgers. And I'm not sure the recession affected a lot of people. I mean that in two ways. One is that it just didn't hit a lot of people. It had no effect on me. People who lost jobs and houses and such are the ones who got hit. (And the housing market I think is just a whole different ballgame.) But the other way I mean is that there's young people sitting around with their cell phones and saying we're in the great depression or something. HUH??? Oh, and we have Tim Hortons in the US, though I'm not sure if it's the coffee craze it is there - more like, uh, that Seattle place or whatever it is. I don't do the coffee thing so I dunno. How the heck did we get off on this? (Oh, well it's related to money and I mentioned coffee, so it counts.)
 
Jun. 17, 2010 8:20 pm
poush, um, you don't have public bathrooms in England? You gotta me kidding.
 
poush 
Jun. 18, 2010 3:38 am
Ha I was on vacation visiting England... from Canada. The loos in the tube and in most public areas cost 50p minimum! And also, many Starbucks etc DON'T have them!!! When I was touring Westminster Abby, the loo there was closed for some reason! They were directing people to the 50p one across the square!! I found one free public one at the Camden market, that's it :)
 
poush 
Jun. 18, 2010 3:39 am
Sorry for the excessive "!!!!!" but it was funny.
 
Janet 
Jun. 18, 2010 4:05 am
Erimess: I agree that the needing an education has become overated. I know what you mean about kids and cell phones and texting, their actual social skills of speaking directly to someone is gone. Technology isn't such a grand thing. Funny enough that you should mention about flipping burgers, I used to own a fast food restaurant and just sold it last year. In Canada the recession was devasting to communities with the auto industry. I noticed a substantial decline in business at the end of 2008 and I was very concerned. The franchise that I was associated with had been having a difficult time securing more new franchisee's; they are all about expansion, they do not care about the existing owners. They wanted us to take on 5 more locations of the course of 5 more years. I live in a community of 43,000 another restaurant in my community is not needed. I think the point I was trying to get across is that many years ago there were a few mom and pop places to eat with maybe a couple of franchised restaurants, now there is literally a Tim's or Starbucks or McDonald's on every corner you look. Are we getting so dependent on this socially that we are killing ourselves with their food and draining our pocket books. The owners that have all these places require a lot of money, time and blood sweat and tears to survive anymore. But as long as a Franchisor can see the opportunity to put another store in they do it with no consideration on the impact of the owners around them, they are forced to take the new store or worry about having too much competition just within their own franchise. I sold so that I could have piece of mind again and I am drawing from the resources I grew up with. I am not working and I have thought about owning another restaurant, but independent that serves only HEALTHY meals. I have 3 children in University and time will tell if their education will place them in jobs in their fields. Cooking has become a dying art because of the over abundance of choices out there. Maybe its good and maybe its bad, but in the tough times I still think it is valuable to know how to cook. I have learned a lot from being in business, I had to watch pennies, not dollars and an lot of people wouldn't even understand that. I certainly did not get rich from this venture, so I am now watching my home and running it like a business and watching my pennies. I would be more than happy to coach anyone wanting to get involved with a franchise. Poush: having to pay to use a bathroom that is an all time low in my books, after having children my poor bladder wouldn't be able to hold onto a Starbuck coffee for very long either. I wish you all the best. I employed many young people and I understand your struggles, by you recognizing where you can trim any cost down to watch your pennies is a valuable lesson to be learning already. Hope I enlightened everyone a little and sorry for the rambling. Great Blog.
 
nymbus 
Jun. 18, 2010 11:34 am
Erimess, around here, 99% of the stores/restaurants ask if we want a copy of a receipt before printing out the double copy. (I live in hippie central though- Eugene Oregon). I just say no to that and check it online that day or the next. It's small, but in this world small things need to be significant. (Just look at Deep Water Horizon. Several small things went VERY wrong there...) Even though banks/credit unions want folks to upgrade from paper to online because it saves them cost on printing, ink and stamps, it actually makes a pretty big difference enviornmentally too. I work at a credit union and when we removed paper statements for 60% of the members, we cut over 4 million pages per year. That's a big paper saving. Every little bit counts, and I've been online to avoid issues with lost mail and account numbers for years. Most fraud happens from stolen paper mail too. I guess in these times, I need to know that small differences are helping... I don't want to live in a world where small isn't good enough. It may be insignificant when it is one, but it isn't when there are many involved.
 
poush 
Jun. 18, 2010 6:32 pm
Great information and great post, Janet. Thanks for the well-wishes :)
 
Jun. 19, 2010 12:20 am
Janet - actually when I was talking about the cell phone stuff I wasn't referring to their inability to socialize face-to-face (although you have a point there) - I meant talking as tho we're in the depression while they sit there a spoiled brat with their cell phone and have no clue that the great depression meant maybe not knowing where your next meal is coming from. Talk about having to watch the budget! Those people knew how to make a food budget stretch. My parents lived thru it and I got tired of hearing about it, but there's lessons to be learned there as well. And yes, fast food eats up money... how many posts have we just been thru showing how much money people are spending at restaurants or the coffee...
 
Jun. 19, 2010 12:22 am
nymbus, I can't get copies of receipts online. I can get my bank statement that way but not receipts. And I'm one of the 40% still getting a statement. If I don't get stuff, I'd just print it. I want hard copies - can't handle trying to read stuff like that on a monitor. (But I do recycle like crazy so at least stuff is going "back into the pot.") OK, we've strayed just a bit here. :-)
 
cocojo 
Jun. 19, 2010 5:56 am
Erimess....yes, I'm talking about an 80 puppy..8months old...giant schnoodle..see him on my blog pics at 5 months...he's huge...we did cut all his hair off for summer. Also here's a quote for you and Janet...my son is a 24 year old entrepeneur..he runs 2 businesses..has 3 years of a 4year business degree...hated every minute of college and eventually quit to run his business. This is his favorite quote:...............The rule for every man is, not to depend on the education which other men prepare for him,—not even to consent to it; but to strive to see things as they are, and to be himself as he is. Defeat lies in self-surrender." - Woodrow Wilson
 
Jun. 19, 2010 6:23 am
Redneck, I'm curious as to how much you pay for flour on the prairies. I've found that the cheapest I can get a 10Kg bag is about $9 (regularly around $14)and this would be at our Great Canadian. The price of wheat has skyrocketed in the past few years at least here on the Canadian west coast. While I enjoy shopping at Costco, I don't like the cost of the membership and I find I come home with several hundred dollars of stuff I didn't plan on. I like the other stores that don't require membership. Not as pretty but just as cheap or better.
 
Janet 
Jun. 19, 2010 9:15 am
cocojo: One of the best quotes of all time. What type of business does he own? It is very important to be doing what is important to him and all the power to him for recognizing his likes and likes and staying true to himself. I wish him success in his business endeavours. I just hope he isn't involved with a franchise; although it was a great learning process for me I just know personally that I wouldn't buy into that concept again. There are many successful people that did not continue with their education. I think it is important to be a well rounded individual than to be someone that is over educated and has zero personality or social skills. To be kind, compassionate, passionate and appreciative of what we do have as opposed to what we don't is important at the end of the day. Thank you for creating such an interesting blog. What topic are you picking next?
 
BLONDIE1630 
Jun. 19, 2010 9:29 am
Being an unemployed single mom this past year has definately made me tighten up my budget. I am bad about clipping coupons and forgeting them though. However I have found a couple of resouces that some may find useful. I purchase some of my food from www.angelfoodministries.com which is hosted by one of the local churches. There is also a program in Florida called SHARE which is also run through local churches. Their website is www.shareflorida.org.
 
Jun. 19, 2010 3:10 pm
I feel on the fence about what we spend on our groceries and food expenses. We are a family of 7 and are growing, and I'll stick to my previous post of about 1500 per month on groceries and others. It's a lot, but we're a lot of people, I think if we had a larger garden and froze/jarred more as I'd like to do, we could save. I feel like I am a thrifty shopper, I go to a few different places to get groceries, a local meat store (which is 1/3 the cost of the grocery store) but we do eat out regularly when we are able to without the kids. I also do some gourmet cooking a few times a month that calls for unusual/expensive things yum! I wish we could spend less, but I'm not sure how. Our cupboards are packed and we tend to stock up if there are specials.
 
Sarah G. 
Jun. 19, 2010 4:19 pm
2 adults and 1 child (4 y/o) in Florida. I'm a WAHM and cook nearly everything from scratch. What I thought I spent: $450/month total all groceries, toiletries, alcohol and paper goods (roughly $200 in bulk items at start of month and average of $63/week in fresh/perishable items) What I actually spent this week Groceries $78 Lunches out $6 No other meals or coffee out
 
Ruth Cooks 
Jun. 20, 2010 7:44 am
clearly I'm doing something wrong. Groceries for 4 (2 adult, 2 teens) are $250-300 per week, wine another 30-40 (two bottles on average) and dinners out around $100-125 on average, yikes!! Live in Canada, big urban city, that may explain some of it!!
 
SueK 
Jun. 21, 2010 12:22 am
Finally, I have my numbers crunched for the past week. For myself, 4 18-yo eating machines and 3 pussycats, I spent $368 for food, $66 for household/paper stuff, and $115 on dining out. We live in northern California (Sacramento.) I'm working on eliminating the dining out; it's generally me that volunteers that we eat out. I am proud of one thing, however. I noticed when I reviewed the receipts that I'm buying fewer processed foods. More from scratch, healthier, better tasting. I've also found that it helps A LOT to create a week's menu and make the shopping list from that menu. I save $ and I'm never at a loss as to what to fix for supper. I may have to take out a second mortgage to feed this herd through the rest of the year! LOL!
 
cocojo 
Jun. 22, 2010 3:56 am
Janet...thanks for the encouragement re:my son. He runs an organic fertilizing business/landscape and also is close to launching an e-commerce website to do with creating a community for fly fishermen...his true passion. He is a self taught brilliant mind....even though as mom it's a little scary to watch your child walk the "road less travelled"....I know he'll be fine.
 
cocojo 
Jun. 22, 2010 3:58 am
PS....if you have a fly fishing enthusiast in your family..go to my son's web page to take a quick survey so he can meet your needs better in his soon to launch community. www.localwaters.com
 
cocojo 
Jun. 22, 2010 4:02 am
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time and effort to participate in this little experiment. I think a good suggestion for our next goal might be to pick one thing that you can cut down on, or eliminate from your weekly grocery bill/eating out. One less bottle of wine...less snack food....and for me, I'm going to pack some herbal tea bags in my purse and order boiling water when out with friends. As long as I'm buying something...a bagel, muffin etc...I don't feel bad ordering water and giving up my lattes!
 
 
 
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cocojo

Member Since
May 2009

Cooking Level
Professional

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Hobbies
Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Painting/Drawing, Charity Work

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About Me
Loving life at 50ish. Kids are gone and I'm focusing on my career! I enjoyed running a chocolate truffle business for 3 years and now teach adults and children about chocolate. I also teach hands on cooking classes at a local cooking school and am writing my first cookbook! Please visit me at my blog www.allrecipes.com/cook/givethemfood
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook almost anything but particularly enjoy Italian. I have been studying Vegetarian and Vegan cooking for the last few years and love to make healthy meals.
My favorite family cooking traditions
from scratch cinnamon buns on Christmas morning...they take forever but Oh! so worth it!
My cooking triumphs
landing my dream job as a teaching chef.
My cooking tragedies
when I was teaching myself to cook way back in college, I made these wonderful oatmeal raisin cookies for my roomies....only problem was I forgot the flour! The cookies became one big mass that overflowed the cookie sheet and made a huge mess in the oven!
 
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