Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hopeful Economic News

This is for MattC, all of whose blog posts are along the lines of "We'll all be living in caves and eating grubs by 2010!" It ain't much, but I just thought of it as I ate my breakfast.

I split the grocery shopping duties with my wife, and I have had MattC moments of panic in the last year, especially when buying meat, or fresh fruit or vegetables (all of which I'd like to continue to buy, but it's getting increasingly difficult), at the unheard of prices and even some shortages. But the other day I felt like eating cereal (it's not really a staple of mine, but I felt like it). And I go down the cereal aisle - and the stuff is dirt cheap! I mean, really - the supermarket versions of all popular brands were between $1.50 and $2.50 for a small box (10.5 - 12 oz), with corn flakes at the low end, rice hexagons (=Chex) in the middle, and oat and almond nuggets (=Honey Bunches of Oats) at the high end. That's some cheap food. Might keep me and the family out of the cave a little longer.

UPDATE: For lunch I ate some peanut butter spread on stale bread I had to cut the mold off of.

Hmm, I think for dinner I better have something a bit more substantial and fit for human consumption.

8 Comments:

Blogger Patrick Rutigliano said...

My fiancee and I have a very tight grocery budget which we survive on primarily through consumption of pasta, rice, chicken (frozen bags), and substituting ground turkey for ground beef. I've been feeding both of us on about $30.00-$35.00 per week for a few years now.

12:31 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

That's admirable, economically, but I don't know how long you can sustain a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. (Never mind the pleasure of eating them.) I mean, I lived on 10/$1 ramen noodles at one time, but that's a thing of the past. And once kids are in the picture, the need for variety becomes more acute, as you want to feed them stuff that's good for them, never mind how MUCH they eat, once they hit the pre-teen years.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Patrick Rutigliano said...

Oh, there are fruits and vegetables of the cheap variety. This usually consists of bananas (the cheapest fresh fruit you can find), and frozen bags of broccoli and peas. Carrots and celery are also usually only a dollar/bag fresh (although we don't get those every week). The frozen cannisters of OJ concentrate are also good for fighting off the scurvy. Don't get me wrong though, I would LOVE to have fresh fruit on a regular basis.

3:47 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Yes, it's the variety I miss most of all! I used to be able to get some fruit really cheap (apples in the autumn, for example) and I could get ANY fruit, if I wanted to splurge a little. Now a lot of stuff is virtually out of reach.

And bananas? Once fuel costs skyrocket (as MattC will remind us, if he stops over here), you can forget about seeing them ever again at the prices you now see them.

3:55 PM  
OpenID Matt Cardin said...

You know, once fuel costs skyrocket due to the economic detonation of peak oil, you can forget about see fruit prices ever again at the prices you see them at now.

Oh, wait, you preemptively said that for me, Kim. Thanks! ;-)

Interesting to read about your thrifty shopping and dietary practices. Thank you for the glimpse into your effective management of such stuff, Patrick.

My wife is quite the coupon clipper and stingy shopper at the grocery store. Always has been, but these days it's more necessary than ever, and I really appreciate her for that. Fortunately, I'm hearing that we can all expect some relief on dairy product prices in the immediate future, since prices in that market have absolutely tanked. The bad side is that this will mean the extermination of nearly all of the remaining small dairy farmers, with only the corporate giants to remain.

Notice how effectively I managed to find a dark cloud in front of that silver lining.

5:48 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Yes, well-played, MattC!

And I should point out - MattC lives in MO and Pat (I think) in IN. You guys don't know grocery prices until you've seen NY prices (though some urban areas are worse).

And then, like my complaint had been heard, or like my moldy-bread penance had been deemed acceptable - I just went to the store, and APPLES and STRAWBERRIES are on sale at mid-90s prices! And I don't know how the apples taste yet, but they look like the apple the Evil Queen gives Snow White in the Disney classic, they're all so perfect, round and red! Yay!

6:12 PM  
Blogger Sir Otter said...

We have two apple trees, a peach tree and a nectarine tree on our third of an acre lot. We harvested enough fruit this past fall to carry us through spring, easily, by which time we'll all be heartily sick of cobblers, pies and preserves.

For veggies, we have this to fall back on for a good part of the year:

http://kuriosfarm.blogspot.com/

8:03 PM  
Blogger John Goodrich said...

We live in a state of farms. Recently, we bought shares of a local farm's production, which lasts from June till February. We're eating more fruits and vegetables than we ever have in the past.

If there's going to be trouble, it's going to be in the cities.

Kim, if you're in dire need, give us a visit. We can probably fix you up with something green, and we're within spitting distance of what was once the largest orchard in the world.

9:45 AM  

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