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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All

I was reviewing our budget the other day after making some little changes. I first created in 3 years ago when we bought our appartment and at that time we were spending about $400/month on groceries for two adults. Fast forward to this year and add a six month old baby and I found we've been spending about $670/month for the last three months.
I realise food prices have gone up and wondered how this compared to other forum users and if those with children found this sort of increase upon arrival.

Keep in mind that
1) we're mainly using cloth diapers around the house and only buy disposables for camping or day trips.
2) I've pulled my wife back from buying any baby clothes that aren't on half price sale. That and family gifts are keeping keeping us going fine.
 

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I use save.ca a lot and coupon clip. Food is expensive. My hubby does the groceries and it does cost at least $600 per month. We use disposables with coupons and take all the deals we can get !!!

Baby clothes we usually get at the grocery store where it is pretty cheap. No Baby Gap here. He doesn't mind at all when he's playing stompy stompy in the mud puddles
 

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Yes our grocery bill went up when we had our daughter two years ago. But our "dining out" bill reduced to nearly nothing, so it balanced out.

I also noticed that I bought better quality food for her than I would have normally bought for myself - basically organic everything.

Now that she is two, I have eased up on the organic stuff, but I find food waste a big problem as she often rejects the meals I have made for her and after trying to give it to her several times at various meals it often ends up in the garbage.

My advice would be not to be stingy with buying quality food for your baby. The cost of healthy food is far outweighed by all the health benefits. Save money by buying the raw ingredients and cooking them at home. This way you control the salt and can eliminate all the preservatives, and if you make and freeze you will save a ton.
 

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Oh and at six months, your child will be starting to eat real food. A real money-saver is to buy seasonal fruit and veggies. Boil them, stick them in a food processor or blender, then pour the mush into ice cube trays to flash freeze. After a few hours in the freezer, pop the the food cubes out into a Ziplock bag, and voila! You have your own cheaply produced, single-serve, no preservative-added baby food that will keep for several months in the freezer.
 

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My advice would be not to be stingy with buying quality food for your baby.
You might also want to consider going organic until your child is closer to 10. There's a paper that will be coming out in the scientific literature (Environmental Health Perspectives) later this year showing that children up through age seven have trouble detoxifying organophosphate pesticides, residues of which can be found on many food products. Between 10 and 25 percent of foods sampled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture contain detectable residues of organophosphate pesticides, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and a variety of food and drink products commonly consumed by children.

Personally I don't think there's any evidence that going organic is better nutritionally, but reducing a child's exposure to pesticide residues is definitely a good thing. Adults are better at detoxifying that stuff than kids are, and given their small size and different diet, kids can be exposed to relatively higher levels of pesticides than adults are.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks

Well thanks for the info. The pesticide stuff is pretty interesting, especially how it effects children differently to adults. I'll be on the look out for that paper, any pointers on where I might eventually find a copy Brad?

Lister I've got to ask if you are doing anything special e.g. grow some of your own food, scratch cook a lot, as your $60/week is a lot lower then myself and other posters?

I think we'll take a look at save.ca and try and cut down on the meat a bit. I was looking at a "Frugally Green" blog suggeted that by cutting out meat completely you could save $600 annually/person. It's just a shame it tastes so good, cutting it out completely is never gonna happen.
 

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Well thanks for the info. The pesticide stuff is pretty interesting, especially how it effects children differently to adults. I'll be on the look out for that paper, any pointers on where I might eventually find a copy Brad?
The paper's really technical, but if you want to read it there's a preview copy online at:

http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2009/0900870/abstract.html (there's a link from that page to a PDF of the full paper).
 

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buying organic does not mean the foods are pesticide free. they are legally allowed to use pesticides and still maintain their orgranic labelling.

there is only one way to be sure, grow your own veggies...
 

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buying organic does not mean the foods are pesticide free. they are legally allowed to use pesticides and still maintain their orgranic labelling...
True, but the amounts are likely to be lower. Oddly enough, though, I met an apple grower once who showed me results of a university test for pesticide residues on a bag of organic apples from Whole Foods Market versus a bag of apples from his orchard, which uses Integrated Pest Management (which involves prevention to the extent possible, supplemented with pesticides when necessary). The organic apples had considerably higher pesticide residues, because there were conventional orchards in the vicinity and the wind drift of pesticides from those orchards deposited some chemicals on the organic apples.
 

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For the two of us we're typically around $60 per week though that can fluctuate between $50-$80 sometimes.
That is excellent budget management. Here in Ottawa, the two of us can manage to cut our groceries down to around $90/week, despite scanning for coupons at local groceries and at

http://www.save.ca/english/coupons.php and

http://www.frugalshopper.ca/links/category.php?n=88&page=3&sort=&direction=

I guess, like anything else in life, there is room for improvement.
 

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Cooking from scratch is probably the best way to save money (in most but not all cases); a lot of people go for packaged foods because it saves time but it doesn't really save that much. I've got several books of recipes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare, and most of those produce excellent food that is much better than anything you can get in a package. There's shopping, and menu planning and cleanup to be added to that, but apart from the menu planning and a little more cleanup, I don't think scratch cooking takes much more time than buying packaged stuff. And it's usually cheaper (not always -- due to economies of scale you can sometimes find packaged foods that are cheaper than what you can make from scratch).

I even make most of our own bread from scratch, using a simple no-knead recipe that takes approx 10 minutes to prepare; it cooks in a covered cast-iron pot in the oven for 30 minutes with the cover on and another 17 minutes with the cover off, and produces bread that's as good or better than what you'll find in a local artisanal bakery (and light-years beyond what you could make with a bread machine). I've only bought 5 or 6 loaves since January.
 

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Most of what we pay for when doing the groceries goes to junk food -- candies, chocolates, chips. They are just too tempting! We spend more or less $500 a month (for a family of 3).
 

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Our grocery bill is around $300/month, for two. We stay away from packaged foods and junk foods. Stick to the outside circumference of the store folks!
 

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Our grocery bill is around $300/month, for two. We stay away from packaged foods and junk foods. Stick to the outside circumference of the store folks!
Wow, where do you live where you're paying only $300 a month for fresh food? We need to move there!
 
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