Every month, we set a grocery budget for $300 for two people. That comes out to about $75 a week. To me that seems like a sufficient amount of money for two adults. We live in southern California, and have lots of access to fresh cheap produce. However, for the past several months, we’ve been going over our food budget—some times even almost doubling our amount! It got me wondering: Are grocery prices going up?
I know everyone’s food budget varies depending on where they live and how many adults and children in their household. However, I’ve kept track of every single penny in our budget, and it’s easy for me to go back and see how much money we spent each month on groceries. Now that the numbers have been creeping up, I’m wondering if we’re eating more, buying more expensive food or if the prices are simply inching their way up.
I know that we recently started trying to switch to an organic lifestyle. However, we follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen guidelines, so we don’t buy all our produce organically. We pretty much stick to these lists to decide whether it’s worth buying organic or not. Essentially, if you eat the skin, buy organic—if you peel it, go regular.
However, we find great deals on organic produce at Trader Joe’s. The cost difference is usually a few cents. And it probably only adds about $5 to $10 to each grocery shopping trip.
Eating different kinds of food
Recently, my husband finally started to care about his health again and began choosing more healthy alternatives. So we’ve been buying a lot more produce. However, I don’t find that the healthy choices are bringing our food bill up. The produce in general is pretty cheap in comparison to prepackaged food items.
We’re not drinking wine every night and stuffing ourselves with frozen pizzas. We also rarely eat red meat anymore. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought it. We tend to stick to chicken, ground turkey and fish. And while I would love to buy organic chicken—that’s the one area where I haven’t gone green yet due to the vast difference in price.
My final theory– and the one that I believe will bring me to my conclusion—is that while we are being healthier, we are also grocery shopping more often and for healthier alternatives. Fish is pretty expensive.
So we are perhaps eating more, albeit healthier options. I think it’s a combination of the organic produce and the healthier items. For example, organic bread and almond milk is much more expensive than plain old bread and regular milk. And because we are eating a lot more produce, we need to go to the store more frequently to stock up.
I plan to continue to try and find ways to bring our grocery budget down, but I don’t feel as bad splurging on groceries when I know that we’re eating better and taking care of ourselves.
Are you willing to pay more for groceries if you’re eating better?
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