What in the world is going on with the cost of food?
I get the whole economy going to hell bit. Real estate, gasoline, airplane fares, the dollar abroad - all in the toilet. I understand that I'm living in a house I probably can't afford because I can't sell it. I drive as little as possible, and since I can't afford to travel further than downtown, the last two are (sadly) moot. But food? Food hits me right where I live.
Have you ever fed three growing boys? It takes a stinking lot of food, let me tell you. In the course of the last few months, I've watched my food bills skyrocket, no matter how careful I am. And I am careful. I really am.
I cook virtually everything from scratch.
Two of us don't eat meat.
We eat a lot of beans, grains and pasta.
I'm finally at the point where I can honestly say we don't buy any soda, which I feel I deserve some sort of award for. I'll take the Fifth on how much Diet Pepsi I drink for free at work.
And I shop the sales. I'll go to three different stores to buy what they have on special. The chest freezer I "splurged" on this spring is my ace in the hole. Man, do I love that freezer. I kiss it regularly as I walk through my garage. I buy big when things are on sale, and then go shopping in my own freezer.
But, in spite of all of this, my food bill is up by 25%. We aren't doing anything different. I still plan menus for the week based on the sales. I still make sure I eat before I go to the store, because me in a supermarket hungry is a recipe for disaster. I still turn my back on most junky or processed foods, although since my kids all take their lunches to school, there are some sugar filled snack cakes in my cart. I think I buy what most people buy. That's what scares me.
I went to two stores today. One, (a store that I flat out can't afford), had a fabulous sale on something I use a lot, and is frozen to boot. And a bunch of coupons for stuff I can always use, like ketchup and baby carrots. The other is my regular haunt, the place I buy the majority of my weekly groceries. But in spite of being really careful and almost no impulse buying (alright, two impulse purchases. One - some artichokes on sale. My kids love artichokes. And two - red bell peppers. One of my top five foods ever. I eat them like apples), I still spent almost $200 on food. For one week. For four people. And with virtually all of the meat coming out of my already stocked freezer. (In my defense, I did buy the ingredients to make a bunch of our favorite casserole for the freezer, but still...)
Surely I'm not the only one frustrated by this?