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Who can afford to eat anymore?

  1. Mar 4, 2010 #1

    Evo

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    It's got to stop, the price of food has been skyrocketing the past few years and it's killing me because I am such a cheapskate.

    I used to hit the salad bar at the grocery store at least once a week a few years ago, but at a cost of $4.69 a pound now, it's cheaper to eat a fast food hamburger combo with fries and soda.

    I went grocery shopping today and missed last weeks sales by one day, so put half of what I planned to buy back on the shelf. Due to fads, what was once the cheapest cuts of meat like skirt steak and pork shoulder steaks have gone from 49 cents per pound for pork shoulder steaks to $6.99 per pound, that's outrageous!

    I was just speaking to the Evo Child, she's been trying to eat healthy but she said the other day she had to decide between a package of chicken breasts for $9.00 or a box of corn dogs for 69 cents, she had to go with the corn dogs.

    I'm wondering if other people are changing their eating habits due to the high price of quality food? I know I have. Eating healthy or having a decent number of choices is just getting ridiculous.
     
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  3. Mar 4, 2010 #2

    turbo

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    My wife and I still buy from local sources as much as possible, and my violent medical reactions to glutamates forbid the use of pre-processed foods, for most part. We have a custom butcher shop about 10 miles away where we can get flat-iron steaks, ox-tail, minimally processed picnic hams, bacon, etc. It's only marginally more expensive than the supermarket stuff, and often cheaper. When you factor in the food I can grow in a 1500ft garden and gather through berry-picking, fruit-picking, etc, we get by OK.

    Decent food is getting really expensive if you are apartment-bound, which is one reason that I disagree with the government's decision to deny a cost-of-living increase for SS beneficiaries this year. Anybody who doesn't think that the cost of buying food has been increasing hasn't been living in the real world. Of course, DC isn't the real world. Our elected representatives haven't realized that they aren't in Kansas anymore.
     
  4. Mar 4, 2010 #3

    Evo

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    I can't wait for my sushi shooter. I won several hundred dollars worth of gift cards at work, so I am waiting for my cards to buy it. MIH will finally get her Birthday present for 2005. I told her it would be a surprise, I think 5 years late will be quite a surprise. :blushing:
     
  5. Mar 4, 2010 #4

    lisab

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    She's going to need to register, if she plans to carry that thing concealed.
     
  6. Mar 4, 2010 #5
    What's more important [STRIKE]with [/STRIKE] than food?

    (I don't know how I wrote "with")
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  7. Mar 5, 2010 #6
    Amen to that. The price of Chateaubriand, Lobster Thermadore, Eggs Benedict, etc. have gone through the roof. And don't get me started on the finer wines. Crepes Suzette just went up another 10% in the last month alone. My wife and I are at our wits' end to know what to do about it.
     
  8. Mar 5, 2010 #7

    Pythagorean

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    I think Alaska was already expensive so it was a smaller percentage rise in overall living costs here. What hurts us more is heating fuel.

    Our produce sucks, though. The mass of it is shipped up from the lower 48 which means it gets picked early and travels more.
     
  9. Mar 5, 2010 #8

    lisab

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    Maybe you could burn the produce for fuel.
     
  10. Mar 5, 2010 #9
    Yeah I go to the value grocery store and still manage to average around $50 for three small plastic bags full of food. I go through that in 3-4 days :(
     
  11. Mar 5, 2010 #10

    DaveC426913

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    This week's grocery bill: $233. A record.
     
  12. Mar 5, 2010 #11
    For how many persons ? I spend like ~120 EUR / month on food / person.
     
  13. Mar 5, 2010 #12
    I'd have a hard time finding one corn dog for 69 cents. They must have been expired.
     
  14. Mar 5, 2010 #13

    Borg

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    A quick look at mine showed $132 for the last two weeks for two of us but, I was stocking up on meat. We go to different grocery stores 3 -5 times per week. We mainly buy what is on sale and very little processed food. We also use coupons but only if the item is on sale and cheaper than when the store brand is on sale. With coupons, I have walked out of the store with "$100" worth of groceries for less than twenty bucks. We do have the advantage here of a store that doubles up to 99 cents with occasional tripling or doubling up to $1.98. You have to put in some time to clip and organize but it can really pay off.
     
  15. Mar 5, 2010 #14
    Decent food is ghastly expensive. And any time I've spent time in the States, I've always been surprised at how much cheaper good food is. (All food, actually.) I don't buy fast food and a whole bunch of processed food and I don't buy junk food. Fresh ingredients are super expensive. Being alone, I have a habit of making large batches of things so I can am-out the cost of ingredients over several meals. Try to find a decent loaf of bread around here for under $3.00. Since when did a scrawny little roasting chicken cost $12.00? A package of four drumsticks will cost you, easily, $7.00. A large portion of my monthly budget goes to food. And I rarely, rarely dine out. I don't know how families manage. I truly don't.
     
  16. Mar 5, 2010 #15
    I buy bird seed in bulk and live off of that over the winter.
     
  17. Mar 5, 2010 #16

    turbo

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    My wife would love to use coupons and save some money, but stores rarely issue coupons on staple dry-goods and never on fresh fruit and vegetables. Every Sunday, our newspaper is packed with coupons, but the coupons are for things like Hamburger Helper, Prego, cereals, etc, and we don't buy any of that stuff. There can be decent sales on flour and sugar at times, but those are in-store specials.

    The frosts that hit Florida will have a pretty heavy impact on fruit and produce prices for some time to come. Not good for people on fixed incomes.
     
  18. Mar 5, 2010 #17
    I remember, when the gas price went up few years back, that was the reason all the economists said as the reason for increasing food price. But when the gas price went down, the food price still remained the same.
     
  19. Mar 5, 2010 #18
    With the exception of certain foods like diary, food is about as cheap as it has been since I can remember. Yogurt can be 69cents a serving which is pretty extreme but ignoring cheese and yogurt and organic milk our store bought meals are usually about a dollar or so per person. Those 69cent yogurt snacks and drinking nonfat organic milk or adding expensive cheese will double the cost of a meal though.

    My wife and I own a freezer in the garage. When prices are low, example whole fryer chickens for $1 each, we buy several and cook them for the dogs because dog food is very expensive. Feeding the dogs actual meat and grains saves us a lot of money and the dogs are extremely healthy. We just boil a chicken with some rice and pick the meat off the bones and add throw away greens (mashed broccoli stems or yam skins etc.)

    During and after the holidays when Turkeys are practically free (they are free with grocieries at many stores and others they are cheap) we buy about 6 or so then eat them all during the year. We also look for sales like sometimes when pork chops are dirt cheap and then buy five to ten pounds of them and store them.

    For high dollar items like organic milk we buy them from the health stores its the only thing thats cheaper there. The only thing reasonable at a health store compared to other stores seems to be organic dairy. Organic milk might be no different than regular milk healthwise but I can taste the difference between them (weird but true) and I have a problem with regular milk. Yogurt I dont notice.

    The vegetables we either grow them ourselves or pick our own from farms nearby(which is cheap) or during winter months shop at the Mexican store where they cost pennies. Right now where we buy our veggies, limes are 12 for a dollar and avocados are 25 cents each.
    Never, ever ,go to a community farmers 'flea' market. Those places are scams. They are crazy expensive so avoid them! The ones in California have cheaper stuff but outside California Farmers markets are ghastly expensive.
    Ehtnic markets are good though especially anything Middle Eastern or Mexican; but
    avoid Korean/Japanese Markets for anything other than exotic items because they tend to jack up their prices very high.
    I think most Americans are frightened to shop at 'ethnic' markets but there is very cheap and good quality produce at those places if you know how to pick out the correct markets.

    Also the marinaded grilling meats at some of the better Mexican supermarkets are better than anything in a restaurant.

    Edit: I should have mentioned we don't eat many pre-prepared foods they are very expensive and less healthy too. For preprepared foods fast food might actually be healthier and cheaper. When I have no time and have to eat something out I will occasionaly get a single dollar burger/chicken sandwich without sauce or cheese and nothing else. This is hard to do because the teller won't stop talking about my other choices and all I want is to spend one dollar. Or they will say something forcefull like "How many burgers?" as If I am supposed to buy five at a time.

    Another food tip is that instead of ordering pizza we pick up a ball of the dough from a pizzeria next door, and my wife adds toppings and cooks it. The dough for an extra large size pizza is about $5 which is admittedly a lot, but it is still cheaper and tastes better than a $20 pizza. With toppings it probably brings the cost to about $7 to feed two people twice. You can't really find good pizza on the West Coast so making your own is a solid option.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  20. Mar 5, 2010 #19

    turbo

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    I have a large vegetable garden and do a lot of pickling and canning. No need to buy sweet or sour pickles, salsa, chili relish, etc. We have two large chest freezers, and freeze lots of string beans, spinach, chard, garlic scapes, chilies, sweet peppers, etc. We had a bumper crop of wild blackberries in the woods a couple of years back and there are still gallon-sized bags of those in the freezer. We also use our trusty apple peeler/corer to process apples and freeze those.

    There is a health-food store in the next town, and spices, rice, and whole grain flours are much cheaper there than in the supermarkets. They order those in bulk and repackage them for retail sale. The custom butcher shop lets us place orders and they call when we can pick up the meat. Flat-iron steaks are far more flavorful than any of the loin/rib cuts and just about as tender at a fraction of the cost. They are a very low-yield cut, so we place standing orders for them. All the beef there is from local grass-fed cattle. The meat is FAR better than supermarket meat and usually it's cheaper, too. They have their own smokehouse and they make bacon, smoked shoulders, hams, etc, without commercial preservatives. Their sausages (sweet, garlic, hot, etc) are wonderful, and since the butcher's wife has a strong sensitivity to glutamates, we're well-assured that they don't use them in their processed meats.

    When making casseroles and sauces, getting herbs, chilies and sweet peppers out of the freezer is a huge savings. If we want to buy fresh produce for the occasional stir-fry, that's OK because we've offset the cost by using mostly frozen home-grown vegetables for other meals. The cold cellar keeps winter squash firm and dry for months and months (well into February) and is a wonderful place to hang large bunches of German and Russian hard-neck garlic from the rafters. We've still got 'way more garlic than we can use down there, so I'm considering pickling them in a dill-based brine and canning them.

    Lately, my wife has been getting really enthusiastic about making European-style breads (rye, pumpernickel, black bread), and she has gotten into baking cookie-style treats for our dog. He's pretty nuts for the treats made of liver and whole grains, as is his buddy Max. No more commercially-made treats for Duke. We eat very well, and both love to cook, and if we had to buy all our ingredients at the supermarket, the cost would be astronomical.
     
  21. Mar 5, 2010 #20
    I can afford to eat at the moment with my cushy oil industry job. But I won't be able to afford to eat when I start my PhD (yes, news just in, billiards has just received a PhD offer -- to use new data and new methods to constrain the thermodynamics and mineralogy of the lowermost mantle by seismology and geodynamics -- watch this space).
     
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