General Question

Aethelwine's avatar

How have your shopping habits changed with the increase in food prices?

Asked by Aethelwine (41501points) August 19th, 2011

Have you had to give up any name brands you used to enjoy? I buy store brand coffee now. It sucks, but I will not give up my coffee.

Do you go to multiple stores for the best deals? I visit 4 different stores to get the best deals. I used to shop at one for the convenience. I can’t afford that now.

Please tell me how you cope with the increases. Our family is having a very difficult time with this.

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26 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’ve always bought generic, and we only shop at one specific grocery store… which happens to be dirt cheap. It’s a great store, I don’t know why anyone would shop anywhere else. Their products are great, their produce is fresh, and I can fill my cart for 50 bucks. Unbeatable.

Basically we haven’t changed any of our habits, but if it weren’t for that store, I have no idea how we would do it.

Aethelwine's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I’ve noticed prices increasing almost weekly at Dollar General. One week toilet paper was 1.20. The next 1.25. Now it’s 1.30. I hate to check next week. :(

rooeytoo's avatar

We eat vegetarian a couple of times a week. I use eggs, cheese, lentils, beans, etc. for protein instead of meat. Although even a small bit of chopped up meat makes it seem less vegetarian. I used to buy skinless chicken breasts for convenience but they are so expensive so now I buy the whole chicken and cut it up myself. Here that makes a difference from 16.98 a kilo to 6.60 a kilo and I use the frame either to make stock or feed the dogs! I find that going into the supermarket just before closing or first thing in the morning often produces great bargains in the fruit and veg, stuff that is getting old will be put on super special. We don’t eat much beef, but I will buy a huge chunk when it is on sale at the butcher shop and cut it up or grind it up at home and spread it over many meals. And I shop at the local farmer’s markets, they always have good prices on local foods.

Yeah the price increases definitely make life more difficult. Here since the cyclone went through and destroyed the banana crop, they have been selling for anywhere between 12 and 14 dollars a kilo. Shops now have signs in the window that say “No cash or bananas kept in store.” gotta have a sense of humor!

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A2J's avatar

I’ve always been a person who checks the “unit price” when I think of purchasing something. I’ve cut back on what I eat, drink more liquids (especially water) & hit the farmers market from time to time.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It hasn’t changed because of the economy, but because I’ve changed my eating habits. I am fortunate in that where I live, I can buy low-priced vegetables close by.

Cruiser's avatar

I can’t imagine that everyone has not modified what they buy. @jonsblond after reading your post and just how much this has affected you made me think long and hard and decided I am giving a raise to all my hourly employees today.

JLeslie's avatar

Haven’t changed.

I have always done some couponing, including the local Entertainment book has $5 off every month at Kroger.

I stock up a little on something if I see it at a great price.

My stores many times have buy something now get a coupon for your next purchase. I do two transactions that day so I don’t forget to use it. I divide the groceries on the belt, have her total up the first group, get my coupons and use them on the send group of items.

I do shop in about 4 stores, but I try not to run around like crazy, I just buy what’s good at the time in the store I am in. Sometimes Walgreens has amazing sales on Dunkin Donuts Coffee and my husband likes that brand. Anyway, the various stores have more to do with trying to find a product I want.

I will try store brand to see if the option is yummy, but if it is inferior I go back to name brand.

I always check the unit price because sometimes the larger package is actually more expensive than buying two of the smaller.

My Kroger has a section for discontunues items on clearance, I usually walk by there to check it out.

Planning meals helps, I should do this better, because you are less likely to have a fruit or veggie go to waste because it over ripened.

I generally by lesser expensive laundry detergents even though my husband really really likes Tide. I buy the Tide only when there is some super deal.

If I had to watch my pennies more I think I would eat steak and chicken breast less often. It would be really good if I ate 15–20% less food to begin with, because I would loose the weight I put on.

My husband and I do not drink alcohol or smoke, which is so very expensive, and many households buy these things regularly. I do buy some Mexican sodas sometimes that can be a little pricey per ounce compared to other soda, so I would eliminate that maybe. It is very minimal though already.

I am very careful with cleaning supplies, Some people go through a bottle of Windex or Tilex in a few weeks. It takes me months and months. I would never use one of those daily shower cleaners. I think all the chemicals are bad anyway. There are some recipes for home made cleaning supplies that utilize very inexpensive ingredients like vinegar. I alternate between harsh chemicals every so often, and less expensive less toxic ones on a more daily basis, many times I just use water to wipe certain surfaces, it depends. Kitchen counters and toilettes and showers I use the harsher chemicals more often, but for instance wiping my vanity in my bathroom I use just water most days, and then once a week I clean the bathroom with chemicals. The kitchen is more of a daily deep clean, every time I cook I clean it well, I am a little nutsy about food preperation and worries about food borne illnesses.

A2J's avatar

@Cruiser Bless your heart. I wish more employers were as compassionate as you seem to be.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser Yay! I gave an unexpected raise to two employees once. Well, one was on my staff, and the other on the other managers staff in the same department. I was not the owner of the business, but as their manager I fought hard for them. It was a big no no in the store to give raises inbetween reviews, but the senior people with the power went for it. It was just $.50 an hour, the employees had been very underpaid compared to the rest of the staff, still were below everyone else even with that. When I told my employee she wept in my office. I think things were so tight for her, it made a huge difference and she saw I was on her side. She had never once complained about paying her bills, just had brought to my attention she felt she was underpaid. It brought morale up on my whole team, I guess she told them, they all new she was very underpaid I assume? I was very new to that department.

mrrich724's avatar

We buy alot more fresh fruit and veggies b/c they keep you full longer.

Also, we make a little extra at dinner to pack for lunch the next day. This eliminates our lunch costs, gives us more motivation to make dinner rather than going to a restaurant, and eliminates the dinner waste when there is just a little left over but not enough for a meal.

bkcunningham's avatar

@jonsblond, are there food pantries (food banks) in your area? They are a wonderful supplement to your pantry. Many offer not only canned goods, but fresh produce and meats. If, and when, the time ever comes you don’t need the pantry’s help, volunteer to repay what you used. I know lots of people who have done this.

@Cruiser, you are the best!

nikipedia's avatar

I do most of my shopping at the farmer’s market and haven’t noticed any changes in prices.

woodcutter's avatar

I can’t spend 10 bucks for a can of coffee. I’m not going to do it.

christine215's avatar

I’ve gone the route as many others have of eating meatless more often during the week than before. I’ve also started making more things from scratch, like bread and sweet treats like pies or bar cookies. I bar produce in season at the farm market and I buy larger quantities, so that I can freeze to have through the year. Produce in season is way cheaper and better for the environment because it’s not being shipped in from thousands of miles away.
I now buy pantry items in bulk when I can too. It’s much less expensive to buy things like brown rice, whole wheat flour and rolled oats in bulk and there’s less packaging, so it’s a win-win!

Blueroses's avatar

I drastically changed my coffee drinking habits in order to avoid having to buy the wretched store brand. I still buy the good stuff in bulk and grind it but I only brew a couple of cups instead of a full pot.

I shop more at the Thrift market which brings in truckloads of discontinued items from “real” stores. I don’t like the unknown brands at the Dollar store but Mr. Thrifty has national names dirt cheap. ($.75 for 5 lbs of wheat flour).

My friend who has a large family called Sysco and asked about buying products directly from them and she saves a ton getting dented and returned things from their warehouse.

wundayatta's avatar

Somewhere I read that men and women tend to have different shopping styles. Men, in general, shop without looking at prices. They just get in and get out as fast as possible. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to do comparison shopping and price shopping and go to multiple places to shop.

If I had to comparison shop, I would do it online. I think there are sites that will allow you to do all that. Then you can plan out your trip in an efficient way.

I’ve been doing the shopping for twenty years, but now that my wife is retired, she is trying to do some of things I’ve been doing. It’s kind of cute because she is always calling me to say she saved ten dollars with this couple and fifty cents with that and how much cheaper the prices are at Pathmark compared to Whole Foods.

She has time for that, I guess. She enjoys it, somehow. But I just want to get things done as fast as possible, and the truth is I don’t care about price. Food is the most important pleasure in my life, and I want the best. I don’t care if we see movies or plays or buy fancy sound systems, or a new car. But food, I care about.

I don’t know if my wife is saving anything significant with all this. But it seems to matter to her (she’s not a foodie), so I guess it’s harmless. But if she starts getting second-class food, then I am going to have to read her the riot act.

Also, I have to ask—which shows you my ignorance about prices—have they been rising? Because that doesn’t makes sense to me. Why would prices go up when demand is softening? People are going meatless. You’d think the meat prices would go down because no one wants it any more. It’s like gas prices. They’re going down because no one is buying it any more.

Blueroses's avatar

We must live in different worlds @wundayatta because gas prices aren’t going down around here. Diesel prices rise daily and nothing gets to the store shelves without riding on a diesel powered truck at some point. The two are directly related.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

We make use of the .99 Cent stores fresh produce. We get whole multi-heads of romaine lettuce there, avocados, onions, melons, mangos, multi-colored sweet peppers we love so much but are expensive at Wal Mart or Trader Joes.

Fresh & Easy stores often have great prices for meats.

We rarely buy milk, breads, fancy cheeses or any meat other than cheap cuts for marinating or chicken breasts when on sale. We also cut out juices, snack crackers/chips and fun foods like frozen pizzas, lunchmeat or sausages.

Aethelwine's avatar

@wundayatta Here is an interesting article: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/why-are-food-prices-rising-so-fast

One example I can give you is dairy prices. I’ve watched the price of milk rise .50 this past year, and .30 for cheese. This is just one example. Toilet paper and garbage bag prices have also risen.

I would love to respond to more of you, but when it rains it pours for our family. Our one and only vehicle just took a shit on us today when we dropped our oldest son off at college. The car is a total loss, so as you can tell I’ve got a situation to deal with. I want to thank everyone for responding and hopefully I can come back to this question soon to acknowledge a few more of you.

wundayatta's avatar

Thanks for that, @jonsblond. Interesting stuff. I hope a lot of the stuff involved in food inflation will be temporary.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’m spending more on seeds to plant next year. :P

Mostly my spending habits have changed solely in that I’m buying more food. If it’s gonna spike, I’ll have already bought a bunch of food at the lower price. Food rarely goes down in price.

Sunny2's avatar

We eat more chicken (thighs), pork shoulder, and ground beef instead of the fancy cuts we used to be able to buy. I try to use only what is in season and less expensive. And I waste nothing. Anything leftover, if smaller than a whole meal, becomes soup (even salad). We have many “one-of-a-kind” soups. We still eat well and I like to find recipes to make the less tender cuts delicious. Trying ethnic foods is a hobby I enjoy.

Dances_with_Werewolves's avatar

I’m relying more on my garden and I’ve started going fishing almost every week.

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