Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Depressing Grocery Budget

I started the year with such high hopes of maintaining a $300 a month grocery budget.  I came in under budget in January, but February and March were both "disasters" in my budget planning mind!  I continue to shop at Giant Eagle (with coupons), Marcs's, and Aldi's plus I am still playing the Drugstore Game at Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens.  I am really confused why I cannot come in under $300!  By no means are we splurging on steak and lobster!

I have noticed a spike in some grocery prices especially milk.  I did some research on inflation. 

U.S. food costs will rise as much as 4 percent this year after a surge in prices for farm goods, more than the 2 percent to 3 percent forecast last month, U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Joe Glauber said. “Higher prices for crops and livestock will again pressure food prices,” as increased commodity costs work their way through the food-supply chain toward consumers, Glauber said today during remarks at a government-sponsored agriculture forum in Arlington, Virginia. Global food prices rose 25 percent last year and set a record last month as world grain inventories were headed for a 13 percent decline before the next harvest, the USDA estimates. Tighter supplies and higher costs have contributed to unrest in North Africa and the Middle East as rising demand causes isolated food shortages and accelerating inflation in poor countries, even as it boosts incomes for U.S. farmers. (source)

Estimates include:
  • Corn up 80% from a year ago.
  • Soybean meal is up 37%
  • Wheat is up 73%
  • Coffee — 45%
  • Barley — 32%
  • Oranges — 35%
  • Cotton — 40%
  • Salmon — 30
  • Pork prices expected to rise 6.5%
  • Eggs expected to rise 4.5%

Known as agflation, the continual, sustained increase in food prices has been an ominous trend in the U.S. economy, indicative of the disastrous effects of the Federal Reserve and its continued manipulation of American currency and consumer commodities. As food prices rise at a rate faster than inflation, companies such as Kellogg, McDonald’s, Kroger, and Safeway have been open about the economic dilemma faced by their consumers: The public will have to shoulder more of the higher costs for ingredients. For these companies, the big challenge will be how much they can swallow and how much they can pass along to consumers, in terms of offsetting the costs and benefits inherent in the inflationary food spiral. (source)

So what is the consumer to do with all of these prices out of control?  I am trying to refocus my efforts again this month to see if I can come in under $300.  My growing boys are eating more not less, so perhaps it is the season of life to increase our grocery budget?  Watch out Giant Eagle, I am on the prowl for some great deals this month!


  1. Kelly, I truly understand your frustration!! We used to eat much better (ie specialty cheeses, crab, etc) but with 2 growing kids we have really scaled back on the eccentric stuff. I struggle with mine and am thinking of bumping the grocery budget a little higher, also...good luck!:)

  2. We're a family of five, and we recently upped our grocery budget to $400 a month, so we could continue our transition to whole foods/organic. So far inflation hasn't hit these items like it has other things.