There are several reasons for this.
First of all, about 4 years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to The Grocery Game. Things were tight, money-wise and I wanted to learn about shopping with coupons. Wait, things are still tight, money-wise. In fact, they've never not been. Aren't we supposed to grow out of this phase eventually? Sigh.
Anyway, I use The Grocery Game website, and I'm a couponer and a stockpiler. For example, I just bought three bottles of mustard because they were free with my coupons. So when I run out of the mustard that's in the fridge, I just go to the cupboard and get another one. One thing I like about stockpile shopping is that I rarely run out of anything. Usually, there's another one in the cupboard, somewhere.
You know what else is cool? I have a very unorganized next-door neighbor. She frequently borrows things from me. Last week, she made her daughter a hamburger for school lunch two days in a row, but she didn't have any ketchup. She borrowed maybe a 1/4 cup of ketchup from me over those two days. And it wasn't good ketchup either, it was just Hunt's. What I got back from her? Was a huge 40 oz bottle of Heinz ketchup. This wasn't the only incident either. When she borrowed a banana, I got back an entire bunch of organic bananas. A couple of days after she borrowed two eggs? She gave me back two eggs. But they were Eggland's Best, not the store brand that I loaned her. See how stockpiling can be profitable? Hey Erin, need to borrow anything today? I just got back from the store.
Couponing has become a burden also. Because I can't stop doing it. It's a pain, it's time-consuming, and I absolutely cannot bear to pay full price for anything.
My second, third and fourth problems with grocery shopping lie with my family. Let me introduce you to my arch enemies:
This kid doesn't like anything. Dinner? Unless it's spaghetti, a cheese quesadilla or macaroni and cheese (the kind from a box), she doesn't like it. Except for turkey. At Thanksgiving, she had three huge pieces of plain white meat. No gravy, nothing. No one can explain this.
I've always had a "one bite" policy. You have to try everything. If you don't like it, then don't eat it, but you have to try it. Getting this kid to try just one bite of something is ... well, you'd think we were making her eat dog crap. There are so many things I think she'd like if she would just try, but she won't. And because she's already in the zero percentile on the weight chart, I can't just let her not eat. So I keep plenty of tortillas and shredded cheese around so I can make a quick quesadilla. Her school lunches? Gah. She used to eat peanut butter sandwiches, but now she won't. I'm standing there every morning saying, "What can I put in here that you will actually eat?" I never get an answer to this question.
Here we have someone who will not eat meat. None. Her issue is with animal treatment, because some brilliant friend of hers told her to watch some videos on YouTube about how cows are slaughtered, how chickens are caged on top of each other, etc. She says that eating meat would be exactly like eating one of our dogs. Yeah. One time I said, "What if I buy free-range chicken? They're out roaming free! Not piled on top of each other in cages! Will you eat that?"
I wouldn't have a problem with this dietary choice, except I use the term "vegetarian" very loosely, seeing as she won't eat vegetables. My husband likes to call her a "crapatarain", because she only eats crap. I think the proper term would probably be "carbatarian." She likes Hormel's vegetarian chili, so I buy that. She likes the spicy black bean burgers from Morningstar Farms, so I buy those, even though they are ridiculously expensive. She eats an occasional apple, but that's about it as far as fruits or vegetables. I told her to do some research, and find alternative sources of protein, other than meat. You know, peanut butter, cheese, eggs (which she doesn't like), beans, yogurt, etc. She doesn't make any effort to incorporate any of these things into her diet. And she's always complaining that there's "nothing to eat" in the house. So every Monday before she goes to school I say, "I'm going to the store today. What do you want me to get?" And without fail, the answer is, "I dunno."
I have tried, people. I'll make spaghetti and separate some sauce for her before I add meat or sausage. She'll find an excuse not to be hungry. I made an awesome bean and vegetable soup one time. She didn't even try it. I ate it. I made a roasted tomato and bean soup which was again, awesome. Did she try it? Of course not. If I make bean and cheese chimichangas, she won't be hungry. Probably because she's spent the time between getting home from school and dinner snacking. On food we don't have, because clearly there's nothing to eat in this house.
Will not eat anything green. Will. Not. Unless it's plain iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing, and even that's iffy. I have to stop and snort right here, because while he calls Shannon a crapatarian? His diet is no better. He would live on Hot Pockets, kielbasa, and chopped ham if he could. And Red Baron singles. He doesn't even like potatoes, unless they're au gratin. In other words, smothered in cheese. Baked potato? Possibly, but it's got to be loaded with cheese, bacon bits, butter and sour cream. Steak must be liberally drenched in ranch dressing. Pizza and chicken wings.
These three people are the bane of my grocery shopping existence. I will eat almost anything, as long as it's not mushrooms, olives, or cabbage. Or seafood. But I love vegetables, sweet potatoes, whole grain bread, walnuts, and a host of other things that are good for you.
Tonight, I'll grill a couple of steaks. Kylie will complain and end up having a quesadilla. Shannon will eat...whatever she eats. Probably a can of vegetarian chili. I will make roasted green beans that are tossed in olive oil, with kosher salt and a lot of pepper. I will be the only one that eats them. Oh, and italian squash cooked the same way. Yum. Perhaps a side dish of parmesan noodles, which husband will eat, Shannon might eat, and I will not eat, because I'll be full of steak and my delicious roasted vegetables.
Now here's the real kicker: Why is everyone in this family skinny except me?