So I don’t know how many of you are going through this same problem right now, but I just realized that if we don’t stop spending money on groceries, we won’t be able to live in a house anymore. I have done the numbers and our grocery bills are roughly four times what we spent ten years ago.
Perplexing Thought Number One: my salary has not quadrupled in the last ten years.
Perplexing Thought Number Two: Neither has Gilberto’s.
Perplexing Thought Number Three: The children cannot get full time jobs yet and they don’t seem eager to strike out on their own.
Now, you might say that the food prices in Mexico have really gone up significantly lately. I would definitely agree with that. We are now paying at least fifteen pesos (on a good day) for a liter of milk. Ten years ago we were paying about ten pesos if I remember correctly (and that’s also on a good day).
But I present to you the following: my children used to use about seven liters of milk per week. That’s about seventy pesos a week. Now, they use about twelve liters a week, and I am buying a case of the stuff at 175 pesos a case, per week.
Yes, we understand what’s happening here, of course. The grocery bills grow in direct relation to the size of our children. I am actually dismayed at the size of The Boy, whose rate of growth in the last year has had me really worried. I looked at pictures of him one year ago and I wondered if this is what Andre the Giant’s parents went through when he was almost thirteen.
My Girly isn’t exactly slacking off in the growth department either. I can’t buy clothing fast enough to keep her decent. And the problem is, she really doesn’t notice that all her shorts are becoming “short” shorts and infuriating her father and brother because she’s only eleven.
Coupled with these worrisome growth spurts is the insatiable hunger for all of the food in the house which needs to be prepared constantly. Gil and I have tried our all-mightiest to get these children to know their way around the kitchen. The thing is we also have nightmares about kids and gas stoves. There’s a limit to what is okay and what is flirting with permanent oblivion for our entire street.
Financially and logistically we are a bit tired. But I have been brainstorming and I think we are very close to finding some strategies to making life a bit easier in the food department. The list is still in rough form, but there are some solid ideas in there:
- Send them to friends’ houses to eat. “Talk up” how fun sleepovers are when they are not at our house.
- Never miss another birthday party and get there early before the food runs out.
- Get creative with cereal. Note: should have used water since they were little, ‘cause now they don’t seem very open to change.
- Make as much as I can from scratch that doesn’t require the use of stoves or ovens because it’s October and I sweat when I use the can opener.
- Google “microwave cooking – health hazard?”
- Google “a week of meals with a kilo of tortillas”
I know, I know. Food prices in Mexico compared to places like the U.S. or Canada, well, let’s just say I don’t have much to complain about. But feeding two growing kids isn’t always easy on a budget of both time and money.
And yet, there’s something special about watching a boy tuck into a big breakfast of “Huevos Rancheros” and knowing he’ll tell his wife someday that his mom’s recipe was the best. Kind of makes up for the fact that he’s eating a portion that’s roughly as big as the rest of his family, combined.