Cost of Groceries... Wow - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 69 Old 05-20-2009, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I was looking at Hillbilly Housewife today for the first time in awhile, and you know the $45 Emergency Menu? ($45 to feed 4 people for a week, assuming you have NOTHING in the house, $51 if you are feeding 6 people.)

Now, that's been up since 2006, so it's safe to assume that prices have gone up. But they just updated with current, spring 2009 prices, and the $45 menu? It's now the $70 menu. (Scroll down to the shopping list, and check out the bottom lines.) WOW. $25 doesn't seem like all that much, but it's like... what, about a 55% increase? In three years? Yeesh.

Also, the USDA "Thrifty" Plan for feeding a family of four went up to around $500/mo last year, and already this year they've bumped it up to $600/mo.

I mean, what is going on? Has food always risen this fast, or is there something else at work here?

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#2 of 69 Old 05-20-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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My guess is that it's tied to gas prices. Most groceries are shipped many miles, and oil is used for fertilizer, tractors, etc.

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#3 of 69 Old 05-20-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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#4 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 01:14 AM
 
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Last year at this time when I found MDC food costs were rising exponentially. Gas was super expensive and so it all got tied together.

I'm noticing that prices are dropping again, I mean 2 gallons of milk cost what one did last year. $3.99 in my area, now I can get 2 at Safeway everyday price of 3.98. I was buying milk and freezing it because it was so darn expensive.

I guess the rising prices did one good thing for me, I discovered sale shopping, stockpiling, and coupons. I will never go back to the way I used to be. It seems so ridiculous now, we have less money, but make do with it and do very well, in fact better than before. My house is full of food and I also don't hardly ever shop at Walmart anymore. I can hardly ever say oh we don't have anything good to eat, we have tons of options all bought at close to less than 1/2 price.

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#5 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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I think that food prices are definitely up around here. We did a comparision shopping trip with the list from hillybilly housewife a few months ago and couldn't make it even close.

BUT, these lists are definitely helpful. We went through and highlighted what we liked and used it as a way to brainstorm our families own emergency menu. Since I don't like to cook and have little time, I tried to be realistic.

Strangely enough, now that I joined weight watchers again, I am surprised to see that most of their recipes and menu suggestions are very similar to the low budget meals. They are quick, easy and relatively expensive.

But yeah, food prices have gone up! Along with gas prices.
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#6 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 02:10 PM
 
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I don't think that hillbilly housewife really ever had accurate prices for what food costs at least for me over here in california.
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#7 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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I don't think that hillbilly housewife really ever had accurate prices for what food costs at least for me over here in california.
I agree I live in WA and $45 couldn't have really bought her meal plan. I always said that. I do like her concept though, although some of the food ideas are pretty gross IMO.

One thing I learned though is her idea for buying cheaper ground beef cooking it and draining it, then rinsing it with water. I love doing that, it makes for super lean non greasy hamburger. Super nice.

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#8 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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Groceries prices have gone up my area dramatically in the past 2 years. I couldn't get anywhere near her $45 budget even before the highest increases in my area. I think sometime early last year I actually tried an experiment to see what it would cost at my local Safeway (cheapest prices here) and the amount was about $75. I'm guessing it would be more like $85 this year at least.

I have seen some really great sales in the past couple months, but overall grocery prices are so much higher. We used to eat mostly homemade simple foods to try to keep our budget low, but now it isn't really a "choice" to do that, it is a necessity. I've even had to sacrifice on organics at times, when that never used to be an issue for us if we weren't blowing our money on processed stuff and extras. Even our CSA hare has gone up drastically in the past few years - to the point that we are trying to grow a garden in our suburban front yard to see if I we can cut out the CSA share which we love so much. All I can say is that I am very grateful that my DH and I are both very frugal people who have made good use of stockpiling skills. It used to be just a frugal tactic - now it is really necessary and it seems most of our friends are doing the same.

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#9 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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I think it REALLY depends where you live and where you shop.

Someone mentioned Safeway? Safeway and Albertsons are pretty much the two most expensive chain stores to shop at. I can NEVER find low prices there...it's just not worth it.

I shop at big ol' ugly stores - WINCO, Sherms (food4less), grocery outlet. I eat simply (buy the amount i need from bulk bins) and it saves me a TON of money on food...

$70/week is EXPENSIVE IMO. But then again, I'm vegetarian, so what do i know? lol
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#10 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I can see $45 per week for 4 people... if you are eating oatmeal and beans.

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#11 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it REALLY depends where you live and where you shop.
It absolutely depends on where you live and where you shop. But this example is comparing apples to apples- Wal Mart and Dollar General, same items, same location (VA), just 3 years apart. That's why this really hit home to me.

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#12 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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I think it REALLY depends where you live and where you shop.

Someone mentioned Safeway? Safeway and Albertsons are pretty much the two most expensive chain stores to shop at. I can NEVER find low prices there...it's just not worth it.

I shop at big ol' ugly stores - WINCO, Sherms (food4less), grocery outlet. I eat simply (buy the amount i need from bulk bins) and it saves me a TON of money on food...

$70/week is EXPENSIVE IMO. But then again, I'm vegetarian, so what do i know? lol

That is funny, because in my area Safeway tends to have the LOWEST prices by far for an actual grocery store unless you want to buy expired items at Grocery Outlet. Yes, really Grocery Outlet here does seem to have mostly expired foods Costco is cheaper on some items and so is Trader Joes for a few things. We buy in bulk, eat simply, compare prices, preserve local produce when it is in season, etc but still costs are very high in our area for food. Even when doing all the frugal things we can to save money, our budget ends up much higher than I've seen posted by some people.

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#13 of 69 Old 05-21-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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It absolutely depends on where you live and where you shop. But this example is comparing apples to apples- Wal Mart and Dollar General, same items, same location (VA), just 3 years apart. That's why this really hit home to me.
Yes, exactly. I've heard some people who live in low cost areas act like those of us who's budget has risen are doing something wrong. We must be buying lots of processed extras, not paying attention to sales and being wasteful. Really, costs HAVE drastically increased in many areas and it just plain sucks.

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#14 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 01:28 AM
 
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In my area food stamps have gone up to reflect the rising food costs. Last fall I got $299 per month now I get $346 per month. I still manage to get by with the same amount of food.

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#15 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 01:39 AM
 
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I think it REALLY depends where you live and where you shop.

Someone mentioned Safeway? Safeway and Albertsons are pretty much the two most expensive chain stores to shop at. I can NEVER find low prices there...it's just not worth it.
Safeway (Vons in SoCal) is about middle of the road price wise in California... not the cheapest, but not expensive for basics.

In the Bay Area, it's the local chains that tend to cater to the yuppies that are the most expensive stores, and the bargain basement stores like FoodMaxx/Food 4 Less are few and far between.

In the area of SoCal that my family is from (San Gabriel Valley), Ralphs tends to have the highest grocery prices.
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#16 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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I won't buy stuff at regular prices at SW, but when it is on sale and with a coupon OMG that store can be a bargain basement. My MIL gets the most amazing deals at SW-she knows exactly when the markdowns are. They also have some of the best dairy markdowns I've ever seen, I've gotten organic gallons of milk for 2.75, which is cheap-cheap. I recently got so much there for hardly anything using coupons and Catalinas, it also keeps me out of Walmart as much as possible.

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#17 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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I have been saying this on MDC for the last year. I used to be able to spend $600 a month. Maybe $800. But now it's up to $1200 for 4 of us. That's not including dog food, but it does include diapers, paper towels, and cleaning stuff.

Oh and I do shop at Jewel (used to be Albertson's, now owned by SuperValu).

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#18 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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$1200 for four people?? that is like, more than we make per month :

we are over here trying to feed a family of 5 on under $350/month. I know someone who spends just under that per week.

No wonder i feel like we can't afford to eat that healthy!

/whine

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#19 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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My weeks when I shop carefully and have a little left in the house already so don't need much meat or whatever, I used to spend $80-$90, now those weeks are $110-$125 and sometimes groceries cost me $140. Family of 2 adults, 1 young boy having lotsa growth spurts, and 1 baby on the way. We use very few paper products or cleaners fwiw, and use mostly meat, dairy, and produce not boxed things so much. Of course, I can always note what things sent it over the top, like that week we bought soda or razors or ibuprofen or something.
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#20 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 01:23 PM
 
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$1200 for 4 people? : Goodness gracious...it costs us $600 a month for a family of 5 eating a gluten free/egg free/dairy free/low sugar diet/mostly natural or organic non-vegetarian diet, and that includes the cost of paper products, 2 packs of goodnights a month for DS, DD2's hypoallergenic formula supplements, and 1 pack of disposable diapers every 1-2 months for when we're travelling.

I've never been more thankful to live in Ohio than I am right now. : Here it's entirelly possible to do if you menu plan, make things from scratch instead of prepackaged stuff, and buy locally.

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I have been saying this on MDC for the last year. I used to be able to spend $600 a month. Maybe $800. But now it's up to $1200 for 4 of us. That's not including dog food, but it does include diapers, paper towels, and cleaning stuff.

Oh and I do shop at Jewel (used to be Albertson's, now owned by SuperValu).
I can see that happening very easily depending on your COL area and if you shop at Jewel, you live in the Chicagoland area and yes its expensive to live around here. Since Supervalu came in, I noticed Jewel's prices skyrocketed. I havent been in the store in over 6 mos. You should check out Caputos and Aldi if they are near you.

The only way for me to control our costs for food is to buy in bulk, stockpile and plan a heavily organized meal calendar. I also make 95% of our meals from scratch. the 5% is eating out (once a month if that) doing a happy meal treat here and there or snack type stuff. IRL, I know talking to other couples and parents we have the cheapest cost of living for meals than anyone. We used to be able to feed us for under $400 a month. Now its $500 on a good month and more like $550. That includes already fixed in costs even though its paid for- like our side of beef we bought at the beginning of the year. But it comes out to about $85 a month.

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#22 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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I used to be able to shop for all of us for around $400 a month, but then prices went up, and our daughter started eating real food. We spend $20 a week on milk, easily. Both my kids drink a ton of it. (That's non-organic, I can't afford organic.)

Now we're up to about $600 and it's killing us. I do buy some prepackaged and processed stuff, because I'm a really, really, really bad cook.
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#23 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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I've heard about Caputo's. The nearest one to us is about 1/2 hour and the nearest Trader Joe's is more. So I do shop at Jewel and it costs a lot.

I've really tried to keep the cost down, but I just can't. Can you imagine when my boys are teenagers? Yikes.

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#24 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 08:37 PM
 
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I've really tried to keep the cost down, but I just can't. Can you imagine when my boys are teenagers? Yikes.
Same here. I think I spend $600/month on me and 1 preschooler, 1 toddler. But this is Hawaii, famous for its "$8 for a gallon of non-organic milk". (used to be $5, but you know)

Gas here is $2.59/gallon for regular. How is yours?

I'm checking out the USDA thrifty plan right now!

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#25 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 08:37 PM
 
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I've heard about Caputo's. The nearest one to us is about 1/2 hour and the nearest Trader Joe's is more. So I do shop at Jewel and it costs a lot.

I've really tried to keep the cost down, but I just can't. Can you imagine when my boys are teenagers? Yikes.
My nearest Trader Joes is in another town, and I have to cross a toll bridge to get there I totally hear you on that! I do still go there sometimes though. I don't know if it is an option for you, but what I do is when I end up going that way for something else I will make a big stockup run. They sell a lot of basics that are way, way cheaper there than elsewhere. I usually end up buying about 10 cans of coconut milk, 10 cans of wild alaskan salmon, etc at a time and then it drastically lowers my cost on what would have been a prohibitively expensive item. I usually only go there every 1-2 months, but I would shop there more often if I could!

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#26 of 69 Old 05-22-2009, 08:49 PM
 
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Same here. I think I spend $600/month on me and 1 preschooler, 1 toddler. But this is Hawaii, famous for its "$8 for a gallon of non-organic milk". (used to be $5, but you know)

Gas here is $2.59/gallon for regular. How is yours?

I'm checking out the USDA thrifty plan right now!
Close to $3.00 now. We have the most expensive gas in the country now, according to our local news.

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#27 of 69 Old 05-23-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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We have 7 people - and spend at least $1300/mo on food. Not including our CSA share and the 1/4 beef we bought a few weeks ago. I try to buy from our co-op (unfi)...its just hard to buy what we need for the month AND take advantage of the sales to stock up - not enough money to do that.

I would love to learn how to cut that amount down!
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#28 of 69 Old 05-23-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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$1200 for four people?? that is like, more than we make per month :

we are over here trying to feed a family of 5 on under $350/month. I know someone who spends just under that per week.

No wonder i feel like we can't afford to eat that healthy!

/whine
I know that feeling. The only way I can feed us healthy is shopping sales and buying in bulk when things are on sale and using coupons and shopping at Aldi's. And after a few months when you get a stockpile of the basics like rice and oats and beans and pasta and such, you can use that money for fresh fruits and veggies. That's what I do anyway. We are extremely low income and my two older girls are starting to eat like crazy now that they are a little bigger so healthy food is hard to afford if I'm not watching every single penny.

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#29 of 69 Old 05-23-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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i hear you. I keep thinking I should be able to keep our cost at $450 a month for 2 adults and a toddler but with me pregnant I just haven't been able to. All I want to eat is fresh wholesome fruits and veggies food which of course is great but expensive.
Hubby is a big eater not that you can tell by looking at him and I am dreading what will happen to our grocery budget when I have 2 teenage boys to feed as well.

I buy a lot of organic stables like grains and beans though a co-op which allows us to get organic for the price of regular. For the rest we mostly shop costco where we can get organic milk for decent price.

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#30 of 69 Old 05-23-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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Someone suggested that I should be able to feed my family for $200 a month. Two adults and two children. Food. Diapers. Laundry soap. Dish soap. Shampoo. Toothpaste.

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