I ran across this last week at Beauty That Moves (hat tip to Small Notebook), which is part of an excellent discussion of the grocery costs for buying healthful, whole foods:

I wonder how much other families spend on groceries each week. Is that
too bold of a thing to ask? I've been wanting to pose this question for
several days now, yet admittedly, I don't really know why I need the
information. But then I thought, maybe it's not just for me, maybe we
all need the information - from one another. Maybe it would help us to
feel a little less alone as we hand over however much it is to
the cashier in our respective hometown markets each week. I was taught
growing up that our grocery budget is the one area in  our household
finances we have the most control over, and I do believe that still.
But I also am still so amazed at how much so little costs each week,
regardless of not buying packaged foods and doing all of our cooking
from scratch.

I highly recommend that you read the rest of the post fully, as well as look through the lengthy comments below. The discussion is well worth it.

For those of us who are committed to purchasing nutritious and higher-quality foods, it can sometimes be daunting as we face the balance between a commitment to our health, and the financial constraints that most families find themselves in.

I love the question "expense or investment", because I think it's a very valid one that most homemakers have to continue to ask themselves as they make choices about what they will and will not purchase, and how many dollars they will spend. 

Personally, we've chosen to try to take as balanced of an approach as we can at this stage of life. We agreed early on that good food is an investment in our health, and that you either pay now (in higher food prices) or you pay later (in poor health, medical bills and reduced quality of life). However, we're still a young family, working to save money and spend what we have cautiously. We have a specific and not-so-roomy grocery budget, considering the quality and cost of the foods that we value buying. It's a very tough balancing act, month to month, and it only increases as our family grows.

For me, it's a worthwhile tension when I look at the bigger picture, but I definitely feel the stretch of it each and every month, and have had to make many sacrifices- a bit less meat, no convenience foods at all (even healthy ones), almost only homemade treats, raw milk that we ration out over the course of the week, few bought beverages (but lots of water!), everything from scratch…

How do you view your grocery budget? Is it an expense or investment? Do you relate to the grocery budgets and the concerns of the women who commented on the other post?