We went into our blog archive and found a post from 2014 from housemother Krista Hill. Krista talked about the challenge of budgeting, feeding, and keeping house for 10 teenage boys and staff(and you thought your grocery bill was high).

Many things have changed since then but one thing remains constant. Teenage boys eat a lot! Let’s take a look.

Original article:

Imagine the time, energy, and cost of feeding 10 hungry kids and cleaning a 10-bedroom house.

The housemothers at Ranch Ehrlo know all too well what it takes to keep the kids fed, the shelves stocked, and the house in working order.

The average monthly grocery bill ranges between $2,500 and $3,000. Cleaning supplies tally another $500 per month, and there is an added expense of grounds maintenance in the summer months. Of course, monthly expenses vary from house to house depending on the number and demographics of youth.

(2022 addition - Our monthly budget ranges from $4,500 to $5,000 now.  The last couple of years with COVID-19 means extra cleaning product so that amount has been a lot higher the past two years.)

As the housemother of MacKay House, we use a lot of everything.  I usually shop at least twice a week, sometimes three times. I do try to use coupons and watch for sales. We always have to be budget conscience.

Laundry: About four to six loads per day, so between 120 to 180 loads of laundry a month. This equates to two or three containers of the 77 laundry pods a month. I use pods because they make a lot less mess than liquid or powder soap and the boys love throwing them in the washer! They’re able to practice their basketball shots!

Milk: We usually go through between six and 10 4-litre jugs per week. We have a lot of growing boys and they love milk for their growing bones. They especially love to have milk when we have "Friday" brownies. Every Friday we have brownies that get dunked into a cold glass of milk.

Cereal: I always buy the "family" size of cereal and that box will last a couple of days. We have a range of types of cereal so everyone can have a selection. Cheerios, Mini-Wheats, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Granola, Shreddies, Honey Bunches of Oats, and oatmeal are a few of the favourites at MacKay but the sugar cereals are a real treat that we have on a few occasions. Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Fruit Loops trump all other cereals.

Bread: We usually go through 10 to 15 loaves a week. Between breakfast and lunches, the slices disappear faster than a magicians' assistant.

Appliances: Our appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher) are replaced every two to three years due to the frequency of use. Our dishwasher runs three to four times per day!

Hygiene: Ten to 12 bottles of shampoo/conditioner each month. Ten to 12 bottles of body wash each month. Ten to 12 tubes of toothpaste each month.