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How do you feel about increased food prices at the grocery store?

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Geesh! I just got back from the grocery store and I'm in sticker shock!. $5 for a jar of Hellman's mayo that used to be less then $3. Everything was so much higher then even last week. What can we do? I have a feeling they are not going down anytime soon.

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  1. How do I feel?

    I'd rather the prices be raised honestly, than the games companies are doing with sizes.

    What can we do?

    Wait for sales. Shop discount stores. Clip coupons. Try something new to you that is cheaper. Vote in November for whoever you think will help bring those prices down.

    6 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      and now that gas is down 50c a gallon prices ought to come down some. But then again .........

      1. re: rworange

        I completely agree about the changes in package size. If the production/delivery costs more, that's fine, I'll pay more (and probably use less). But don't decrease the size of the ice cream carton by 25%-30% and think I won't notice.

        I also love your suggestions for what we can do!

        Each week I check the specials for the 2 chains in my town, and plan the next weeks menu around the protein on sale and the veggies at the farmer's market. I stock up on staples when they're on sale, buy meat in bulk and freeze, and make as much from scratch as possible. I don't buy a lot of name brand stuff to begin with, but clip coupons for the brands I do use. The best trick for me is to coordinate coupon usage with store sales - nothing like a save $1 on two coupon and a buy-one-get-one sale!

        Just 18 months ago I was in my very poor post-grad school phase, making $20K/year with no benefits in a community where the median income is $40K. I managed to get my total weekly grocery bill down to $20, but a diet of dried beans, rice, carrots, and celery gets a little old after awhile.

        1. re: mpjmph

          I got into a long 'discussion' on another board about shrinking sizes to cover price increases. It is just getting worse and worse and you can't follow it anymore. Sure when bacon goes from 1 lb packages to 12 ounce packages you have a clue. However, shaving a few paper towels from a roll, reducing packages by an ounce or two, I just can't figure it out or keep up with it anymore.

          Do a search on "Eating like a Chowhound for $3 a day". It can be more than beans. I was eating heirloom produce and wine was included daily.

        2. re: rworange

          Ok ... do you want to hear outrageous ... starting tommorrow in California we will be paying the same price for the liquid in the bottom of the meat container or poultry bag. Yep, you can expect to pay about $1 extra for your poultry. I guess we were the only state not to include that in the charge. The USDA ruled that they wanted standards to be consistant across the country.

          Now the way I understand this meat processors feel this is is fair because when consumers buy marinated meat they pay the same price per pound for the marinade as the meat. One processor said consumers would like this change ... what?

          I am soooo tired of being nickeled and dimed and dollared to death in sneaky ways like this.

          1. re: rworange

            RW

            Could you explain a little more? Us east coaster do not understand this statement.

            TIA

            1. re: jfood

              Here's the video from last night's news ... paying more for less meat ... a new rule means starting Thursday a waste product will be counted as food.
              http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=6...

        3. Buy smart and stock up, when things are on sale and go to places like Costco. Stay away from prepared foods, they're very expensive. I can make a killer pizza for about $3.

          1. It's a bit jarring how much some things have gone up in such a short period of time. So now I always: use a list, clip coupons, read through the various grocery store circulars when they come in the mail, buy when things are on sale, and consider different brands. For example, instead of my usual Viva or Bounty paper towels, I bought 12 rolls of the Target brand paper towels. Normally I would have turned my nose up at them, but they actually are good quality. Plus, they are about 20% cheaper. Not everything can be substituted (no store brand replacement for Hellmans!) Watch where you shop: there can be a big difference in prices between grocery stores.

            1. Jfood looks at this as a challenge, and he is somewhat of an "A type" (just ask the Mods).

              There are two chains (Food Emporium and S&S) for staples has employee owned grocer for proteins, and a great produce store for veggies all sorta on his way between office and home. Likewise in the mailbox and on-line circulars . For example, TP on sale this week, there are 4 packages in the trunk, likewise with Purex.

              He checks the local grocer, sees the protein on sale and plans around those specials, it's great to have the diversity and keeps him having fun in the kitchen.

              But he understands the food chain price algorithm. From the basic corn, through production, through transportation, everything is higher in the value-added farm to kitchen model. It's unfortunate, but we are in a recession, whether it meets the true economic definition and you have to be careful, thoughtful and most of all resist, absolutely resist, impulse buying.

              1. Gas here (Colombia) has always been over $4.00 and groceries cost about 3x as much in the US. Welcome to the world.

                1. It's interesting to me that the news reported today that grocery prices are 5% higher than last year, but I'm finding the prices to be more like 20 - 25% more. True, some of the increase is because I am buying, for example, no hormone milk instead of the usual, but that's only a small part of the increase in my entire bill.

                  We've cut out lunch meat, and are eating more pb&js, tuna, and leftovers for lunch, which suits me just fine. And I'm able to save about $20 a week right there.

                  1. I will often shop for the ingredients for a single dinner and nothing else. And often I am floored about how much i just spent for one meal. Much more than I could have spent to eat out. On the other hand, there are some really great inexpensive meals. Last night made chicken and dumplings with thighs (very cheap), carrots, celery, stock, peas and flour. Enough food for at least 3 dinners for 2 and a real bargain.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bnemes3343

                      I used coupons when I can, shop at Costco for paper goods and some proteins. We're eating a lot of chicken now! Chicken parm tonight.

                    2. I know this won't be everyone's remedy for high prices but as paper towels have been mentioned three times here already, here goes: Give up paper towels.

                      There was a time not all that long ago that we used a cloth to mop up spills and then tossed it in the laundry. I keep a stack of small clean cloths ('rags') in a basket near the sink and that does the trick. The added laundry never requires an extra load be added so there is no downside, financially.

                      Baking soda, Borax, lemon juice, pure castille soap, essential oils, soda water, vinegar are all a lot less expensive than the commercial chemical equivalents. Line drying is cheaper than drying in the drier.

                      Green up your clean-up and you will save more than money!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LJS

                        I agree with LJS. We switched to all cloth napkins and cloth dishtowels for wiping up spills and our paper towel budget has gone to zero.

                      2. It's tough... the prices have been gradually going up for so long that it almost seems normal, but lately they've skyrocketed. How do we cope? Shop the sales flyers, buy storebrand whereever possible (some storebrand items are cheap and nasty, like paper products, but others like canned stuff are identical to their more expensive competitors), I've never used coupons but I'm starting to now, we eat out much less (practically never), and try not to waste any food that we've bought or cooked. We've also lowered our standard of eating and cut out as many of the 'deluxe' items as we can in favour of plain honest food (storebrand cereal for two dollars a box instead of other stuff for $5, regular storebrand milk instead of lactaid etc.) The money we used to spend on eating out and junk food is going straight to the supermarket instead...

                        1. I about fell over today when I was looking for a bottle of vegetable oil at my local large, usually less expensive, grocery store. This was the first time I noticed a real price jump in something that usually seemed like a cheap toss in item. However, it had doubled in price, and the cheaper than store brand stuff was almost the same price as the national brand.

                          Looks like my baking might not be at the amount it used to be.

                          1. it is what it is. I'm not at the point where I need to give things up so I will pay it.

                            The biggest increase I have seen is with peanut oil.

                            1. a bigger garden, more hunting and gathering,and more buying in bulk from the health food coop, just sales from the supermarket.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                I've only ever done herbs/peppers in pots (in the past, that was a product of living in apartments), but I've been a homeowner for the past 3 years and I'm thinking of putting in a small "regular" garden next year (along with herbs in pots). And I've been buying much in bulk from my co-op (which, sadly, is a 90-minute drive--Whole Foods is closer, but I much prefer my co-op, because I'm an owner and I just like co-ops period). But more hunting? Hmmm, I guess the dust bunnies under my bed are destined for Hasenpfeffer!

                                1. re: nofunlatte

                                  try a simple coldframe to extend your outdoors season....

                                2. re: Passadumkeg

                                  I'm moving in with passadumkeg and his family, learning how to hunt, and growing my own garden!

                                  plan B is to stay in nyc and learn to eat more frugally from ingredients readily available to me. in my neighborhood, i find inexpensive plantain flour which i'm having fun experimenting with, cornmeal, interesting chicken parts, yuca, barley.)

                                  for better or for worse, i've been effectively priced out of the ice cream market: $6 for a now-condensed carton of now-gummier edy's? no thanks. i'll save my change and go get gelato every once in a while.

                                3. I've been a coupon cutter for a long time now and they can definitely help, but I find that generally speaking, the things I use them most for are cleaning products/personal care items/pet food. Otherwise I find that most coupons are for processed foods, which we don't buy a lot of. (I do use coupons for mayo, ketchup, pasta, crackers, etc.). Like others have already said, I find that our store brand is often just as good as the competitor's, so this has cut down on my coupon usage as well. I am trying to be even more careful about shopping the protein/produce sales each week and planning our meals around that. But even with careful shopping, my grocery bills have almost DOUBLED over what they were just four years ago. My son has gotten bigger in that time (he's 7) and we acquired a dog, which accounts for some increase, but my son still doesn't eat that much, and neither does the dog (I actually have a dog who's NOT a chowhound *grin*.) It's pretty scary, because our incomes have most certainly not doubled in that same time and if anything, we have less disposable income due to increases in property taxes, health insurance premiums, fuel, etc.

                                  1. The biggest increase I've noticed is in the price of cooking oils and margarine. The canola margarine I buy at Trader Joe's, Earth Balance, used to be a dollar cheaper than its sister brand at the chain stores ($1.99 vs. $2.99), but now it's up to $3.99! Olive oil is a bit higher now, but I think most corn products are getting into silly territory. Not too hard to figure out why...and since most of our meat these days IS a "corn product", the grocery bill ain't gonna get much better.

                                    I will definitely second the disgust some have expressed with the size games. The only way I can buy a POUND of coffee nowadays is to go to Peet's and have them bag it from bulk. Of course, the upside to that is that I have a good excuse to buy my coffee there...!

                                    1. Now that gasoline is down about a buck per gallon, have you noticed any price reductions at the mega-mart? Not me!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: cstr

                                        The trucks that deliver food across the country do not run on regular gasoline for the most part, they run on diesel. Diesel fuel began to go up before gasoline did and is still (at least where I live) considerably more expensive than regular gas. When diesel goes down maybe we will see lower prices in the store, but probably not before IMO.

                                        1. re: Samalcious

                                          Diesel is also down about the same. The only place I've seen some reduction is at Costco. Believe me, I'm not expecting miracles but, I think the mega-marts are a bit greedy.

                                      2. I'm disliking the increasing prices for crappy produce. If I'm going to pay $3.99/lb for onions they better not be rotten in the middle (like EVERY single one I've bought over the past 2 months). And you want me to pay more for that head of lettuce? Fine. I'll pay for the leaves I can use, not the other 2/3 of the head that are ready for the compost pile.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: odkaty

                                          Time for a new place to shop? I'd bring it all back.

                                          1. re: cstr

                                            Growing my own veggies is certainly a year-round proposition for me.

                                            Buying in bulk at costco and using the Grocery Outlet more. I try to combine shopping trips, errands and appointments. I use an insulated bag with ice packs (Trader Joe's zipppered one) for dairy now when I go out. Never know how long I'll be out.

                                            Also, shopping for meat at the Hispanic markets has cut my meat bill by 30%, though prices have risen there too. Meat goes in a Styro ice chest for the trip home.

                                          2. re: odkaty

                                            That's my gripe too. I shop at food outlets, ethnic markets and the dollar tree as well as wally world and TJ's to keep my budget healthy but I have to rely on my local grocer for produce. I don't mind paying extra for produce but if if rots a few days after purchasing it I get very upset. I suspect they spray the lettuce with water too much and they cycle out things like garlic and shallots less frequently. To purchase elsewhere I'd have to drive and use more gas. Traveling for staples or non perishables once a month is feasible but every week can get costly.

                                            1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                              I've seen grocery stores that seem to have a "timer" on misting their romaine lettuce and other greens...really makes me mad....Publix does not do this, at least the stores in SW FL don't...but I've seen it...also, what a waste of water!!! I always sort of "look into" my romaine before I buy it now, too...one time I bought it without checking and the inside leaves were all blackened and rotted.

                                              1. re: Val

                                                I don't like those timers either. I now look for the bunches where the water doesn't reach it or at least not too much, but still I've found water logged romaine. Iceberg lettuce is suddenly becoming more attractive.

                                          3. Yep, I see it every week...could NOT believe it at Petsmart...they are now charging $5.00 for a bag of dried Friskies cat food...of course, I didn't buy it there...went to Super Target and got it for $3.64 on sale...unbelievable and still too high of a price...but, when the cashier rang up my order at Petsmart for the canned cat food, I obtained a $3.00 off coupon IF I took their survey...which I did...and I sounded off big time about that Friskies price when they asked "how can we improve our service?"...who the hell do they think they are kidding??? AND, YES! VOTE on November 4th for whomever you think will reverse this horrid economic problem or vote early, if you can...many states have early voting now.