Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Squeeze

I've added a new poll, just for curiosity's sake. I suppose I want to feel that I'm not the only one who is feeling the squeeze of the worsening economy. I thank God that I was led to thoroughly examine and adjust the grocery budget 6 months ago, and feel better prepared to deal with an economic crisis. Still, I have felt the impact. We are fairly healthy eaters and the cost to supply the family with fresh produce and good meat and dairy simply does not come at a discount. I make nearly everything from scratch because it is better for us, and the cost savings are usually huge. However, the cost of basic ingredients is climbing. For instance, did you notice that there were no egg sales this Easter? Usually eggs are deeply discounted at this time of year. I've seen them in recent years as low as 79 cents/dozen. This year? $1.89! I buy our milk at the corner store where it's $3.89/gallon for 2% and $3.39/gallon for skim. I have been buying a gallon of each and mixing them (unknown to my picky husband). Until very recently, I was buying organic or raw milk, but can no longer afford it. We could never drink powdered milk, though I do use it for baking. I don't think the cost savings is enough to justify the taste. I occasionally buy soy milk for 50 cents/half gallon at Publix with stacked coupons. I use it for baking also, or for smoothies as a treat.

Another cost saving measure that we may have to take will be utilizing one meatless dinner recipe per week during produce season. Main dish salads are pretty popular in my house, and we already do lots of those for lunch.

It would seem strange to our generation to have to so drastically reduce our food budget. What would you do if the cost of milk rose to $7/gallon, a loaf of bread to $4? The days of government imposed rationing are in our very recent history. My mother remembers government imposed rations. She was born in 1943. My father-in-law was born on October 22, 1929, exactly one week before the stock market crash of 1929, which furthered the damage inflicted by The Great Depression. He remembers the latter part of decade long scarcity, and has spent the last 70 years preparing for another collapse.

I am not an alarmist, but I do feel the squeeze. I thank God for His provision, but I also feel that stewardship is my responsibility. I am so thankful for a group of Godly women who have been my mentors throughout this learning season.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

You know what... this is sad to say, but I don't think I was as aware of prices before I started couponing and budgeting. So, I am aware of prices increasing, I am also aware that I am somehow saving more money than I did when prices where lower. KWIM? However, having said that I am becoming more familiar with the cost of groceries, I am watching to see how the rise in fresh produce, meat and dairy affect my budget. I too am considering a meatless meal once a week. We sometimes have french toast or pancakes for dinner, and I know my dad had potato pancakes growing up alot. Even meatless pasta (while my dh would be less than thrilled) can be a good low cost meal.