Monday, September 22, 2008

clean up on aisle two


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?

15 comments:

Irene said...

I would hate to be in your shoes and have to feed four people when I see how much it costs to feed just me and the cats and the dog. I believe your $200 food bill.

It's scary, isn't it? I am a very frugal shopper too and you would laugh if you saw how little I buy and no meat at all for me.

Still, I consider myself lucky that I can afford what I buy and not have to eat beans every day or white factory bread. Thank heavens it hasn't gotten as bad as that.

WT said...

No, you're not the only one, but that's no consolation.

ciara said...

i spent over $80 on a bunch of nothing and that wasn't even the 'major' shop. it sucks.

Kaycie said...

I know what you're talking about. I feed a grown man, a teenaged girl, a teenaged boy, and a 9 year old in a growth spurt. Oh, yeah, and the animals; two dogs and two cats. No matter how careful I am shopping, I'm always surprised by how much I've spent when it's time to pay. It sucks. In a big, big way.

-Ann said...

Totally with you on this. There's only two of us and still my weekly shopping amounts to at least 200 euro a week. (199.36 last week, then another 12 euro at the butcher).

Since our other costs are low and we just about never go out, groceries are our one luxury. But if things keep going the way they are, that's going to change. Still, I love fresh fruits and vegetables (I also eat peppers like apples) and would be very sad if I had to give them up.

Maggie May said...

Its the same here.Everything has gone up and the cost of living is ridiculous.

laurie said...

well, that's about right. doug and i spend about $100 a week on two people. and neither of us is growing like a weed. so i think you're doing pretty well, actually.

Kate said...

It's the same over here, we are spending about 35% more than were this time last year.

Marti said...

Hey RC - We are spending quite a bit more on groceries as well. Plus with Hurricane Ike we felt a pinch in the staples of food. I went to the grocery store to get bread and they were out...completely. They had shipped everything to Houston. And the price of the bread has increased as well.

I agree with WT. You are not the only one but it still hurts when you have to spend so much.

aims said...

You know - it wouldn't be so bad if you knew that the cost of that food trickled down to the farmers.

Ya ya - farmers have it rough - well some do and they aren't paid enough for the amount of work they put in to making our food.

So - where the hell does the money go to then? That's what I'd like to know. Who is making all the profit in that industry?

(and no - I'm not a farmer)

Potty Mummy said...

You're not the only one RC. And I wish I could tell you I thought it was going to improve, but I live in finance-ville (currently populated by a ridiculously high proportion of doom-sayers) and all the feedback I'm getting from the city boys is that it's not going to. So keep shopping those sales!

ExpatKat said...

It 's terrible RC. I feed a family of five and I'd be lost without my freezer. Like you I get meat on sale and plan my meals. My other 'can't do without' appliance is the crockpot. Cook loads and then freeze half.
Peppers are a terrible price. Next year I'm growing my own!!

CrazyCath said...

Nope - not the only one frustrated, and we're on another continent.

Lil Mouse said...

i guess my question is do you go to discount stores like savealot or aldi's? you can get a lot of canned goods for half cost that way. jsut a thought. you'd have to compare the prices on pasta and such, but i know the canned foods are lower at those types of places.

Nearlydawn said...

I usually have a food bill in the $50 - 100 range, not counting the baby (baby food is a whole different level of pain). I decided to blog about it rather than steal your blog...