Saturday, April 08, 2006

Frugal or Phosphorescent

I gathered my courage and went to Walmart today, in order to combine my grocery and Easter shopping. It was the usual nightmare of way too many people, too much stuff, and a shopping cart that wouldn’t turn. The worst thing of all was that, as I picked up my groceries, I came to a very sad realization. Walmart’s grocery prices really are much lower than the prices at Publix. I’ve been telling Ed for years that Walmart’s prices were only lower on a few things, so I wouldn’t feel like I had to shop there, but, shopping today, I had to admit that the prices are substantially lower on practically everything. And it is such a miserable place to shop.

One of my purchases was a box of powdered milk. I keep reading posts on my favorite hs message board from women who claim to spend under $200 a month to feed (and provide paper products & toiletries for) families much larger than mine, and I would Love to get our grocery budget down. On the off chance that we ever sell the house, it would make the period until I come up with a new source of income much easier to survive! Ed took one look at that box and had a conniption fit. “Powdered milk isn’t real milk,” he said. “Powdered milk is degrading.” “Our children will get sick and their bones will disintegrate.” I pointed out that I had also bought four gallons of regular milk, and I’m planning to mix the reconstituted milk with the regular fat free that we drink, but he was not consoled. I kept telling him that powdered milk is real milk, and he kept saying it wasn’t. Finally, he picked up the box and started reading the nutrition information. “There’s nothing in this stuff,” he said. I got a gallon of milk out of the refrigerator and handed it to him so he could compare the labels. He studied them for a long time (he’s a slow reader) and finally announced with triumph, “This powdered milk has no phosphorus!” He was right, too. He asked me what the phosphorus was for, and I had no answer (for once!), except of course to make people glow in the dark. So that’s why powdered milk is no good – without that phosphorus in their diets, you can’t find your children outside on moonless nights!

Hana came over and played all day today. K. periodically came crying to complain of some injustice, but, for the most part, they all played well together.


CeCe said...

I'm pretty sure that phosphorus isn't a crutial ingredient in bringing up healthy children! But, I remember drinking powdered milk when I was a kid, and I just remember it being pretty gross.. Let me know how it goes!

Amy said...

I am with you on trying to rework our grocery budget again. Sometimes it just feels like that is the only place I can control our outflow. This weekend I went to the library an picked up several cookbooks to go through to try to find new, inexpensive recipes to try as my DH is kind of a food snob and wants meat with every meal and I would like to reduce our meat intake for cost and health.

The good thing is that I am moving 10 minutes closer to our superwalmart so I can hopefully start using it more productively. Before it just hasn't been worth the gas expense.


Melora said...

Cece -- The kids seem to like it fine, and the little girl from next door was over yesterday at snack time and drank her milk without comment (and she Would comment!). Ed is still Not Happy about it, but I plan to mix some of the reconstituted in with our regular milk and see if he notices the difference. We drink fat free anyway, so I think it is closer to what we are used to than it would be if we were used to 2% or whole.

Amy -- That's what I tell Ed when he moans, "But you can't scrimp of milk (or coffee, peanut butter, spagetti sauce, mac & cheese, or whatever generic I've just brought home)! Our grocery bill is higher than our mortgage (which, admittedly, is relatively low), and it has more flexibility than the other areas of the budget. My mom says her superWalmart up in Maine isn't an unpleasant place to shop, so I think my poor impression of the place, with irritable employees and huge crowds, isn't typical. The grocery prices are great! (but the Easter candy was not bargain).

Joyce said...

In MY world, eating for $200 is possible if you limit your entire grocery list to only powdered milk. Either groceries in the U>S> are way cheaper than in Canada, or you people eat like birds.
(Judging from the reports of obesity, I'd bet for the first. Of course, I refer to the culture in general, and certainly not to you personally!)

Cherrypie said...

I bought some powdered milk once in a similar ( and one time only) burst of thriftiness. I found it when I moved house last year. Unopened. Best Before October 1992!!

Dy said...

I believe phosphorus actually depleates vitamin c, so it's technically better for you than whole milk.

I also recently began purchasing the powdered milk. At under $9 for a box that will make five gallons of milk (vs. over $3/gal. for the normal stuff), that savings adds up quick!

Zorak is torked. Seriously, deeply peeved. Why? Because it doesn't taste right on his (you'll laugh at this part) Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. *sigh*

The boys, however, think it's a hoot. They like to mix it up. We've also been mixing two different containers of it. One plain for cooking and baking, and one from the hillbilly housewife's stash o' awesome recipes, for having with our lunch. (We started with the vanilla milk, then tried almond, then cherry... and we finally threw caution to the wind and whipped up a batch of cherry-vanilla! Oh, the variety! LOL!)

Now that I think about it, I wonder if that's the milk Zorak poured over his cereal... ew.

Melora said...

How could I laugh at Zorak's Captain Crunch, when Ed eats Magic Stars (gereric Lucky Charms) and Cocoa Cool (generic Cocoa Puffs)? Ed hasn't noticed any difference in the flavor of his milk yet (I've been mixing the reconstituted powdered with our fat free), although I'm sure he Would if he knew! Strawberry or vanilla milk might be a little more obvious, though.