Saturday, May 24, 2008

The High Cost of...Eating!

By JB

fresh-food.jpg I’ve never liked to see food wasted. At home, I often finish things left on my kids’ plates even though I’m well aware that’s a dieting no-no. Lately, I’ve been more and more shocked by the prices at my grocery store and so I really don’t want to see food left on anyone’s plate. Even the cats have to go back into their eating area and finish their dang dish of Whiskas.

This morning I was appalled to see that a bag of cherries was $7.99! Blueberries were $3.99 and so were raspberries and blackberries. Strawberries were 2 for $5.99, but in order to make the big bowl of berry salad I’ve been craving for dinner, I’d need to take out a line of credit. I know that the hike in gas prices has affected farmers and the food industry in general, but I can’t believe what my grocery bills are!

The first thing to get crossed off our shopping list in an effort to save money was bottled water. I’ve never been a fan of the waste their plastic bottles incur, but my other half likes to take them in the car and to the gym, so I bought him a washable water bottle equivalent at Target and now he refills it from the filtered water that our refrigerator dispenses.

For the first time, I’m actively seeking out generic brands for paper products and other hard goods. My foray into eating generic gelatin taught me that some things are worth a few extra pennies, but I’m on the lookout for real savings folks! I’ve done some research on what others are doing and one woman said that she’s buying beans instead of rice or pasta. They’re healthier and a lot less pricey. A consumer mom remarked that she was watering down the orange juice and other fruit juices, saying they’re too thick and sugary anyway. I didn’t think that was a bad idea. Other people are cutting out soda from their diets, claiming that it’s truly an “extra.”

The difficulty I face is that healthy food is expensive food. If we shop the perimeter of the store like we’re supposed to, we pay more for fresh food. I won’t skimp on those items, but I am putting things back in the fridge I might have tossed out this time last year.

What about you? Are you cutting back in the grocery store? Any tips for those of us looking to save a little green?