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Dad Says He 'Can't Do This Anymore' After Paying $123 For Two 'Cheap' Dinners & Some Snacks At The Grocery Store

Photo: Stokkete / Shutterstock
man looking at expensive grocery store receipt

Food insecurity is a huge problem in our country. Millions of people across America are struggling to provide for themselves and put food on the table for their families. 

Recent studies show that over 60% of the American population is struggling to pay for basic groceries — a necessity that has never been a second thought for many middle-class families. Many people's financial stability is at risk, and families are forced to sacrifice just to eat. 

JB, a father known as @big_riig on TikTok, shared his desperation with grocery prices, admitting that he was basically living “paycheck to paycheck” trying to afford groceries for his young kids. Despite making a “good living” for himself, he admitted to being worried about their long-term finances and stability. 

The dad admitted to paying $123 for two ‘cheap dinners’ and some snacks at the grocery store. 

“Am I the only one who feels like they just can’t do this anymore?” he questioned. Showing a table with a few groceries, the man broke down his most recent grocery trip. “A couple of cheap dinners,” the dad admitted — that’s what he bought. 

   

   

One meal was a frozen pizza, the other was a few fresh vegetables and canned tomato sauce. Alongside those basic ingredients were a couple of bags of chips for his kids, a treat they’d requested while at the store. 

“That’s it… I didn’t even buy the organic — just the cheapest stuff,” he clarified. “A hundred and twenty-three dollars with all my discounts for barely two nights of dinner.” 

It’s not sustainable for anyone to spend this much money on such a limited amount of food. “I remember when I could spend [the same] and get groceries for the whole week. That was breakfast, lunch, and dinner for all of us," he recalled. "I can’t do this much longer. It’s just killing me and I make decent money.” 

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The dad’s confession is one that many families across the nation relate to, with many people sharing similar recent struggles.

“I’m a single guy, so I only buy for myself,” one user wrote. “I spend $225 and $250 a week now on groceries alone and none of that is anything fancy. It’s getting bad.” 

"My family is living on chicken and rice," another commenter shared. "No joke, that’s it. I buy bulk rice to fill us up."

A third commenter admitted to spending over $1,800 on groceries for their family of four each month, significantly more than the USDA's so-called "liberal" recommendation

   

   

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Living in California, he admitted that prices are a bit higher, but he shouldn’t be living ‘paycheck to paycheck’ just from buying groceries.

“I live in California, so I have to pay [those extra fees],” JB admitted. “I try to shop based on what is on sale, as much as possible. I did that in this case, but there was not much that I needed that was on sale.” When he does need better ingredients or knows there’s a cheaper price elsewhere, he drives to other outlet stores, sometimes more than 30 minutes away. 

   

   

“I sometimes take trips to Costco, but it’s a 45-minute trip," he added. "I have to account for that and plan for them… I need to pull out some of my grocery budget for those trips [and the increased cost of gas].” 

Although the outlandish inflation rates from the pandemic have stabilized, experts admit the prices of groceries in the United States have only continued to rise — with things like beef, eggs, and produce being more expensive than ever. Even for people who’ve been frugal with groceries before, it’s become impossible to spend less than $50 on a quick trip

Higher labor wages, supply chain aftershocks, overseas conflict — there are a number of economic factors that have influenced the prices of groceries in our typical grocery stores. While so many families are noticing this unsustainable shift in prices, the truth is that several communities are being hit with its harshest consequences. 

Dad Says He Can't Do This Anymore After Buying Cheap Dinners And Snacks At The Grocery StorePhoto: RossHelen / Shutterstock

Studies show that low-income families are spending more money on groceries than ever before, with many spending almost a third of their income on food, compared to only 8% in wealthier families. 

What does this mean for American families moving forward? Well, for middle-class ones, it might mean adopting a new shopping spot, growing their own food, or traveling to a more reasonable discount grocery store. 

However, for lower-income families, things are bleaker. Not only is it less feasible (and more expensive) to travel for groceries or grow food, but discount stores will see greater turnover and less stocked shelves over time. 

While the reality is gloomy, there is some comfort in knowing that everyone is experiencing these outlandish prices. While low-income issues tend to be greatly overlooked, those of the middle class are not, which should give everyone a misguided glimmer of hope for the future.

This food epidemic cannot simply be fixed by "bargain hunting" or "cutting back" — it's an institutional failure that sadly will only grow more intense until someone with enough power to do something experiences its consequences first-hand. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.