Neither Eric nor I work full time. We do a lot of volunteer work with students, and though we’re not opposed to working full time, the jobs we are currently in allow us an extra 10 hours a week or so for our ministry time. This of course means lots of penny pinching, especially with large expenses looming in our future like a new car.
God is so good to us and we’ve never had a need unmet, but we do have to budget pretty carefully. Eric works in the grocery industry and so we’re often finding interesting stories about grocery shrink, and the price of food increasing. Eric works in the dairy department and often sees the sizes go down by 1/2 oz or more with the prices staying the same or rising.
I found this article interesting yesterday. It talks about why the price of food isn’t going down like the price of gas and other commodities that have started to go back down. Some interesting points:
-“Food prices do tend to move very slowly relative to the underlying costs,” said Tom Jackson, an agricultural economist with financial consulting firm IHS Global Insight. “People get upset when prices go up, and they don’t really appreciate it when prices go down, so in response, food producers input their costs very slowly.”
-As the price of oil ran up, many food producers purchased contracts enabling them to buy oil at a set price in the future. Had oil continued to rise, such contracts would have helped producers keep costs down. Since oil has declined, the contracts constitute an added cost burden.
-The prices feel upward pressure from other forces that are likely to remain steady. For one, global demand for food is increasing. Demand for meat has risen in countries with fast-growing middle classes that can finally afford it.
I don’t have an solutions for these problems, but I’ve definitely learned how to stretch our food. We live in a small apartment, with a tiny freezer, but Eric’s parents let us use a shelf in their freezer for extra storage. We buy our meat in bulk from Sam’s Club and store it in small portions that are easy to thaw and use. I use lots of produce and grains which are cheaper, and small pieces of meat. I also make larger amounts of dinner so we can bring leftovers for lunch (so much cheaper than buying lunch!). We also constantly check out the clearance rack of discontinued items, and shop the sales.
How do you save money on food?