My Love/Hate Relationship With Grocery Shopping

If there’s anything that moms love more than a complete lack of responsibilities in any given day, it’s the opportunity to escape the nest, fly solo, and hit up their favourite grocery store!

While I totally get that there are many, many other things that moms would prefer to do other than mentally calculate the family’s expenses, diet, and meals while navigating the endless aisles – think: spa day, wine & dine with friends, sip a hot coffee without a chorus of children babbles and destruction prevention – grocery shopping is the closest form of realistic escape that we can hope for.

I, like many other moms, love it when I can hop in the SUV, blast my own tunes, and take the five minute drive down the road to the local supermarket. If I’m feeling extra ambitious and free, I’ll go out of my way and skip provinces to my fave store, Farm Boy. Not only do I usually save a bit of money here, the store is so gorgeously designed that I feel like I’m in a trendy farmer’s market or in a completely new country! It’s just blissful.

However, this positive relationship I have with the places where the food lives is one that is quickly changing from Yeehaw! to blaw.

Like any new relationship, grocery shopping began with excitement, opportunity, and the donning of rose-coloured glasses. I believed it was what I wanted, what I needed.Β Looking back, it has become the relationship that I dread. The one I wish I could ghost away from.

As the girls get older, eat more, and become more demanding and picky with the grub they ingest, I find doing groceries to be more of a headache than the luxurious escape from the chaos it used to be.

Mostly, I’ve become extremely jaded by the prices of food. Like, I feel like an old man looking back at the days where a bag of flour cost a nickel and milk was delivered for 25 cents a week. I used to love filling the cart with items for the family, but now I’m cynical about the thrice a week chore.

Is it just me, or do food costs get jacked up every few weeks? It may be small, but it’s happening. I swear!

Aside from the rising price of food, the girls waste more than they ingest, which is a whole other issue. This means that every time I serve them a meal, I’m praying it all ends up in their face instead of on the floor, because every time I see the scrambled eggs splat or the cut up chicken wedged between the high chair and their butt cheeks, I’m mentally adding up how much they’ve wasted.

“Well, let’s see. Breakfast cost me $1.03, lunch was $0.94, and dinner…*sigh* there goes $3.12.” Adding all of this wasted food up at the end of the week fills me with despair.

The food items that really grinds my gearsΒ are dairy products – milk, cheese, butter, yogurt. These prices are outrageous! We go through these items SO FAST in our home, that this monthly budget alone could exceed our phone and Internet bills!

And don’t even get me started on toilet paper. Christ.

I think that the worst thing about shopping for your family is the desire to actually feed your loved ones healthyΒ food. And if that’s a priority, be sure to budget an extra $50 per grocery run, because if you want to be healthy, it’s gonna cost you an arm and a leg.

Our closest grocery store is the most expensive one I’ve ever been to, and yet we still buy 80% of our food there. Why? The only thing I can say is that it’s super convenient. AND THAT’S HOW THEY GETCHA. We go for the roast chickens and stay for their organic aisles, but we bitch under our breath at how much our bills are every. damn. time.

Something has to change!

On that note, there is a new grocery store in Ottawa I’m pretty drawn to called called Nu Grocery and I would LOVE to check it out. Its entire concept is built around having zero packaging for all of their products. So all you do is show up with containers, fill ’em, and pay for the food you want. It’s basically a concept that reduces our carbon footprint or whatevs, but I’m super intrigued as to whether or not prices would be lower, too. I would love to fill my mason jar full of butter and pay a fraction of the cost!

But that trek is for another day, one filled with extra time, extra money, and extra tupperware. All of which are the things I cannot spare.

 

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Going Organic: Episode 2 – Natural Dish Soaps

There will come a time in every parent’s life when they will finally (and thankfully!) stop sterilizing bottles and can welcome the simplicity of hand-washing those many, many bottle pieces. Now that you’re conscious of every germ and chemical that comes in contact with your baby, you’re probably in need to finding a dish soap that will get the dirty job done, while also reducing any potential harm it may cause for your growing, and immune system lacking, human.

While there are some things we can pass on when it comes to organic products (toilet paper is one of them), we believe that dish soap is something worth spending a few more pennies on to ensure that any soap remnants remaining on our mugs or spoons are not slowly poisoning our bodies, or the little bodies of Chloe and Sophie.

We’ve had the advantage of testing mostly every eco-friendly dish soap that we can get at the grocery store or pharmacy and we’ve had opinions on them all. We definitely have a favourite, but I’ll quickly go over the good, the bad, and the ugly brands you’re likely to find at any supermarket.

The Good

Seventh Generation or Green Works are both fairly inexpensive and efficient soaps that you can find at most Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstores, or Shoppers Drug Marts. So far, I haven’t been able to locate any eco dish soaps whatsoever at my local Walmart, but that’s not to say they’re not offered at other locations. Both are usually under $5 and are often on sale. The scents are really nice (we love the Green Works Water Lily scent) and both offer up a fairly decent cleaning job. The only problem with the Green Works is that it’s made with Clorox, which isn’t exactly “chemical free” if you ask me. Because it works alongside the power of bleach, it can be pretty hard on the hands. And when you’re constantly washing dishes, the last thing you need is a pair of hands that are dissolving before your very eyes.

The Bad

Eco Max and Bio-Vert are both pretty useless when it comes to cleaning if you ask me. While both are on the cheaper end of environmentally-friendly products, costing a bit more than your average Palmolive, their price doesn’t necessary make up for their poor job at cleansing the dishes. They both lure you in with fresh scents and a reasonable price tag, but you should only be grabbing for one of these if the other decent soaps are sold out or you’re on a super tight budget.

The Ugly

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If you want to spend a few bucks on something that’s going to be squirted right down the drain, but makes you feel like you’re being eco-conscious, Nature Clean is a great option for that. This is pure garbage that makes me want to use any other chemical-infused solution over this bottle of useless liquid. It deceives you with fresh and soothing scents like lavender and tea tree, but don’t be fooled. The price is cheap, but it’s on par with other non-organic brands, so the only difference you’ll notice is the fact that it doesn’t smell like anything, lacks the ability to produce any sort of lather, and you’ll have to squirt a third of it into the sink before it creates any sort of foam. Before you’ve even finished washing the first round of bottle pieces, you’re looking into a foamless, murky void that makes you wish you had some Dawn on hand.

The Favourite

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If you want the soap that cleanses well, smells amahhhhzing, and is totally worth its (typically) $4.49 price tag, Method is calling your name. Sure it’s trendy and the most expensive of the “inexpensive” eco dish soap brands, but the extra buck or two will be worth it for one reason alone – it has a hands-free pump, meaning that it doubles as a hand soap. That’s right. When you get your baby’s feces all over your hands following a massive blowout, this dish soap lets you lather up with having to handle any products in the process. This handy feature – and gentle feel between your digits – will be the cherry on top of an already great product!

So when you’re ready to stop boiling or microwaving those bottle pieces, remember what’s truly awful and save yourself the experiment, and choose something your hands and life will thank you for (*cough, Method).

 


*I feel that it’s important to note that all of the products featured in the Going Organic series are NOT paid endorsements or advertisements. I’m simply spreading the news to other parents about organic products that we have tried, loved, or wished we’d never spent our money on.Β 

Going Organic: Episode 1 – Live Clean Baby

Before having kids, my partner and I were big fans of the Live Clean brand. We bought the shampoo and conditioner in bulk, used their Fresh Face line of facial wipes, and replaced my Bath & Body Works hand soaps with the coconut milk moisturizing ones by Live Clean, saving ourselves at least $2.00 a pop and cleansing our palms with something we could feel good about. When compared to similar products, we’ve discovered that Live Clean is better for you, your wallet, and the environment.

Before our babies even arrived, we were stocking up on the Live Clean Baby products and requesting them on our registry, from the gentle and calming varieties of the tearless baby wash to the oatmeal relief diaper ointment.

Each item under the Live Clean Baby brand is under $10 and is worth every penny. The products tend to go pretty far (and we have twins, so remember it’s twice the distribution), although depending on how big of a bath you run for your baby (sink vs. tub), we find that the shampoo and wash doesn’t last long. It’s the only Live Clean Baby product we’ve had to replace on a fairly regular basis, but it’s one we’re happy to add to our cart alongside their teething biscuits.

Aside from the fact that this brand is eco-friendly, vegan, 97% plant based, hypoallergenic, and free of phosphates, dyes, and parabens (all key terms for a millennial mommy!), it doesn’t dry out the girls’ skin and leaves them smelling fresh for days. Best of all, it’s completely within our budget. Compared to the Aveeno Baby wash and shampoo, it’s slightly less in price. However, it’s a tad more than the Johnson & Johnson soaps and products when comparing volumes.

The Johnson & Johnson washes and products are the better deal financially, but it may not be the best to use on your little one. Recent studies have found that the line of baby products are made with toxic chemicals and other controversial ingredients. The worst culprit being baby powder (a substance that, coincidentally, Live Clean Baby does not produce).

If you’re searching for a line of baby products that range from lotions, petroleum jelly’s, and even massage oils that you won’t think twice about using on your newborn, the Live Clean Baby line is a safe and secure bet. The best deals we’ve found in price have been at Walmart, but they frequently go on sale at many other grocery stores and pharmacies.

If you have a cost-efficient product you’d like to have reviewed, send me a message (or a sample!).Β 


Going Organic is a series that discusses the trend that most modern mothers love to incorporate into their millennial parenting strategy. This strategy involves feeding their children foods that are ideally organic, free of added sugars (including glucose, fructose, and corn syrup), artificial colours or flavours, preservatives, and other ingredients that are considered “bad”. This strategy also applies to any product that is used topically, since anything absorbed into the skin is also risky. As a millennial mommy, I’m not immune to this trend and often find myself directing my shopping carts towards the organic aisles.

Unfortunately for our family, we’re not financially cut out for living the #organiclife, which is why we’ve become increasingly savvy when it comes to choosing the right products for our budget, and ones we can feel good about feeding and applying to our kids.

The food and products that will be reviewed throughout this series are all under $10 and can be found at any grocery store or pharmacy.