I have a fearless friend, Mrs. Mac, who started a blog in which she details her efforts to live frugally yet improve her family's health through a heckuva lot of hard work - gardening, making things herself, canning, doing all her own baking, buying locally, et cetera. She has food allergies to deal with, plus a son with special needs and a darling grandson whom she wants to see grow up strong and healthy, so she has plenty of motivation to feed her family carefully. Plus she wants to live wisely on their means. She started posting her monthly grocery expenditures on her blog, beginning with this calendar year.
I think we're reasonably careful (nothing like Mrs. Mac, but careful-er than we used to be, anyway) with our grocery budget, and yet I just ran a report and was horrified to see that we spent $1200 on food already in just the first 2 months of 2010. Then I remembered that included in that was $335 to share a half a beef from Fareway Foods. And that's a lot of beef in the freezer, and we don't eat it very fast, so it will last awhile. So I feel much better about that.
Still, I need to do better.
We have not bought bread since well before Thanksgiving. But we still buy hamburger and hot dog buns. I buy eggs from a farmer friend - lovely brown ones that are super fresh, with big dense yolks that stand up in the frying pan. They are more expensive than the cheapest eggs we could buy, but I think they are worth it. We also buy cheap wine from ALDI (and that is not included in the total above - it's under a separate budget). But I no longer splurge on fresh unpasteurized milk from our organic dairy farmer friends, though I miss it. We don't eat a lot of meat. We buy frozen fish, and frozen chicken, and we eat quite a bit of rice and beans. We have a tiny garden, and unless we rent land somewhere else, it's about at its limit, because New Albin is built on a 500-foot-deep pit of alluvial sand with about 2-1/2 inches of topsoil, and the garden is in about the only space in the yard that has more dirt than that - it's where the old outhouse once stood. And no, I'm not kidding. Just don't think about it when you eat our lovely tomatoes. They grow well for a reason, you know. :o) Anyway, I guess another alternative would be to do raised boxes. Maybe we'll have to think about that.
This is mostly a thinking-out-loud post.
I'm not ready to post my grocery budget like my friend does on her blog sidebar, but she is an inspiration.