Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Project 365: Day 202 -- Groceries

Grocery shopping has become more and more of an ordeal lately. Not only is it just a hassle to drive 30 minutes into Nashville to the nearest grocery store, and increasingly difficult to find more organic options, but the cost of food and other related items seems to continue climbing at an unprecedented rate. The same items I bought today cost me nearly 20% more than they did a year ago.

Because I wondered if it was just me, and were my shopping habits the problem, I posted a little poll on one of my message boards. The poll asked things like how many people in your household and their ages, how frequently you shop, and what kinds of items you buy--name brand vs. generic, organic vs. non, fresh, frozen or canned, beef, poultry or fish, how many meals a week are prepared at home, etc.

The results were interesting. While most everyone answered very similarly, their totals of what they spent every month varied widely. Some people said they were feeding a family of 6 on $300 a month. Others said they spent $800 or more for just two adults.

One of the keys for those who spent less seems to be stockpiling items on sale, and buying paper/cleaning/personal care items somewhere other than the actual grocery store. I don't stockpile items because we have no where to store them. I also don't pay attention to sale fliers or compare prices since shopping at multiple stores requires considerable additional driving. At some point, the cost savings would be negated by the additional fuel needed to drive to other stores.

Then I wanted to see what I spent in the sub-categories of grocery shopping on this trip (these categories overlap and this is before tax) This is for two adults and 3 cats for 14 days...

Cleaning supplies & Paper Products -- $41.71
Personal Care Items -- $18
Snacks -- $30.96
Breakfast -- $1.99 (breakfast is a sometimes thing around here.)
Lunch -- $56.19 (roughly $2 per person per day for 14 days)
Dinner -- less than $4 per person per day for 14 days
Produce -- $30.30
Meat -- $49.41
Beverages -- $27.65 (includes bottled water)
Cat Food -- $12

Wow. That's a lot of money in some categories.

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