Sunday, May 11, 2014
Rising food prices
Yesterday's grocery run (see other post) was frightening. While I hit 3 stores, and applied all of the grocery budget saving tactics I have, I spent $200, 1/2 of our budget. What is most disturbing is meat prices, egg prices and produce prices (usually produce is ridiculous here until the farms start back up). Even Aldi's prices are skyrocketing in the meat dept. We already have reduced our meat consumption, I can see that further cuts will take place. One example is bulk Italian sausage. I noted that I am almost out of Ital sausage in the deep freezer. A recent quick shop @ Aldi's, I priced their bulk Italian sausage meat in the freezer case @ $2.99/lb. Not too long ago, Ital sausages could be found on sale @ 99/lb, then $1.99/lb. They were well over $5/lb at S & S. I'm not all that crazy about Ital sausage anyway (instant GERD reaction so I require OTC meds) but it can add a nice flavor to an Italian pasta sauce, in meatballs-esp if I use ground poultry over ground beef. Even Aldi's ground beef in the freezer case has gone up. If memory serves me well, it used to be $2.59/lb. I paid $2.99/lb. ground beef is $5.49 and up, depending upon fat content @ S & S, so while Aldi's is a cheaper alternative, meat in general is getting harder and harder to afford. Produce? while understandably the stores want to push older produce, it's far from a bargain. The past few visits to Aldi's for potatoes have yielded only sprouting bags-no thanks unless you mark them down to $1/10 lbs, then I'll consider them. Luckily I was finally able to buy fresh ones yesterday. Fresh fruit? besides bananas (44/lb) and strawberries $2/lb, the only "bargain" is apples but those are so out of season. I am sticking with the aforementioned, drawing upon my canned apple sauce and commercially canned fruits from Aldi's, with a few name brand cans of pineapple, mandarins bought on sale plus coupons. For veg, I am relying upon what the CSA offers me, plus the usual staples: potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage plus my canned/fzn veg, which is dwindling down. This is normal for me, this time of year, however. Been difficult to find non sprouting carrots as well. I resorted to a 2 lb vs 5 lb bag yesterday, as a result.
I choose to live modestly, well below my income, as I have a much more important financial goal, post divorce: to once again own my own home. To do so, versus getting a town house in the city (no real land, associations to bother with, not to mention HOA fees), I need to put down a huge down payment to keep the mortgage do-able, allow me to continue to live off of my current, modest budget, which allows for significant savings towards my goal. Fast forward, and "the plan" is to continue to save at this rate, BUT to apply some if not all of this overage to overpaying/paying down the mortgage ASAP, avoiding interest, and gaining the freedom of being mortgage free sooner vs later.
CT is the second worst (NY being # 1) state to retire in, due to high cost of living. Currently, my children are all here. Where I ultimately retire is unknown, as are many of life's questions, so for now, I plan to remain here, doubt that it'll be in this town, it simply is very difficult to afford a home here, plus I don't want acreage-1/2 to 1 acre is plenty, thanks. Time will tell.
So, we continue on the path, if it means cutting back, that is what we'll do vs automatically increasing the food budget. I'll continue to tweak what I do in the kitchen, we certainly won't starve, our diet will be healthful and varied, with a few treats tossed in as well.
Mother's Day supper: I plan on baking off some of the chicken thighs I cut off of the chicken leg quarters and froze the other day (did an IGA run), bake some Russets along side, serve a large tossed salad with choice of dressings, a vegetable-TBD. Dessert will be a baked fruit dessert topped with vanilla bean ice cream. Not sure if I'll make a blueberry-strawberry crisp, a crumb topped apple pie or BOTH! : )
Happy Mother's Day to those who celebrate!