Are Grocery Costs Over the Top?

by zesty on March 11, 2009 · 102 comments

Ok, this may come off as a ranting zesty but I have had it up to here (I am actually pointing to my neck) with the cost of groceries these days.  Now I cannot speak for people in both the US and countries abroad but here in Canada I find that the prices have gone through the roof.  I feel like no matter what I do – our grocery bill keeps rising to a point at which I think it may be cheaper to eat out everyday….. grrrr

grocery_bag

How this post came to fruition is that I was out getting groceries last night and I had a list of about 15 items which isn’t too bad.  Pretty much all of the food was regular everyday stuff.  So I am browsing around, having a good time – bumping into some people I know and chatting it up all the while picking out the items in need.

So I have everything in my cart and all is well.  When I get to the cashier, I haul my handy dandy recycle bags out and hand them to her.  I only had two bags but I knew that would be plenty for the few groceries I had.

grocery_bag1

So we are progressing through the cash and I am looking at the monitor watching the total go up … and up.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not as cheap as a clay pipe or anything but for me this whole ” jack food prices up” is really getting to me.  Continuing on, we are just about to wrap things up, final items being scanned, I look up and literally I feel like something is out of whack.

grocery_receipt

$147 for two bags of groceries!!!  After I swallowed and regained my composure, I grabbed my debit card and proceeded through.  As I was walking to the car  I told myself, “Zesty you need to post about this and see if other people in the world are feeling the same as you”.

[poll id="2"]

Do you notice your grocery bills are considerably higher than a year ago?  Do you shop around for better deals?  Do you tend to stick to the outside aisles at the grocery stores?  These are all things I normally try to do but I am at a loss.  I was shocked that 2 bags of groceries would cost $147.00.

I know this post was a little out of character for me but I felt that it’s an important topic.  I look forward to hearing your response to the survey.

Take care

zesty

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VeggieGirl

I answered the survey :-)

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2 Mizz Independent

I agree prices are rising. I find that if I don’t take the time to clip coupons and scour the flyer ahead of time for sales, my bill adds up very quickly! I have even got to the point of driving to a store further away because they have better prices on produce. So even though there are ways to cut corners, it is very time intensive!

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3 CajunChefRyan

I agree, the cost of groceries has gone out of hand. And have you noticed that the size of packages has dropped while the price has remained the same or gone up! Try to find a true quart of ice cream anymore. Remember when you wanted to buy a pound of coffee, mushrooms, sausage, bacon, etc…. now they are packaged at 12 or 14 ounces, not a true pound anymore. But the price is much more now! How far will it go?

Thanks Zesty, great topic!

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4 Cynthia H

I agree as well! Since I’m disabled and only able to work part-time my family is lucky enough to get food stamps ($300 per mo. for a family of five).
It’s never enough, but I stretch my food $ by shopping at the local Grocery Outlet store for organics (and always check online for coupons first)& at Trader Joe’s for reasonably priced, hormone free meat, avoid pre-packaged and convenience foods and cook from scratch. I also bought organic grains and rice in bulk from http://www.bobsredmill. We have 3-4 vegetarian dinners each week and eat less meat in general. And we’re enlarging the garden that we started last year.

With a chronic illness on top of disabilities, it’s crucial that I eat as healthily as possible in order to continue functioning and working. If prices continue to rise, I may no longer have the options. A scary feeling, indeed!

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5 YiayiaVicky

Being in the wholesale produce and frozen food business I can tell you that the super markets are not passing on good buys in the market. The farmer and middleman are not making the big bucks.

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6 HGarret

Groceries are ridiculous anymore, try feeding 3 growing boys ages 14-18 along with the hubby. I easily spend $155 a week, and I even try to use my ‘frequent shopper’ card that allows me discounted pricing on select items. I am finding I’m not buying the ‘extras’ like I used to. We live just outside city limits and there’s 1 grocery store close by, I don’t compare store prices because it’s just not worth the drive to me. I’m wondering how the fresh produce will be this spring/summer, will those prices be sky high too?

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7 girlbeerdrinker

I find that I have been planning meals around cheaper staples like rice, beans and pasta. I always can and freeze vegetables but this year I plan on doing much more.

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8 Amanda @ Fake Ginger

Oh Zesty, I feel your pain. A year ago I was spending, on average, 60 dollars a week for my family of 3. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I can keep it under $100. Up until recently I would only buy meat if it was under $2 a pound. Now? Nothing ever goes under $2.

Packages are getting smaller but prices continue to skyrocket. It’s beyond ridiculous.

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9 brandi

I have a pretty tight grocery budget to stick to – we live off of an assistant’s salary (mine) and a grad student salary (husband’s, which is even less than mine!), so I’m used to budgeting pretty well.

i try to buy stuff (especially meat) when on sale and freeze it. Then I try to base my meals for that week on what I already and what’s on sale. Of course, it always seems that we run out of tp, papertowels, foil, etc, all in the same week.

It’s hard though! Everything is more expensive.

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10 Meg

WOW! That is a lot for two bags…at least you got some miles, right?

I spend way too much on groceries, but when I look to try to cut back, I realize that I am only buying things we really need. UGH!

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11 Mara @ What's For Dinner?

My grocery bill adds up super quick if i just “grab” stuff rather than actually price-compare. Sometimes that takes too long and I’ve definitely paid the price

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12 Victoria

I spend $60ish a week, but it nearly kills me to do that! It’s becoming so difficult! And my poor husband gets beer very rarely now because that is through the roof!

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13 Yasmin

I completely agree with you. I spend about $80 a week and that’s for one person! It probably would be cheaper to eat out but I like being able to make my own creative meals.

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14 Teri @ Make A Whisk

We’re spending more and more money each week, it seems. We feed 3 adults, and spend about $150 a week, but that’s up from $100 not that long ago.

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15 Krista

I am disgusted with the price of food lately!! I shop every 2 weeks and it seems that the bill gets higher each time….and I pretty much get the same things!!!

I do the bulk of my groceries at Food Basics because Zehrs and Metro are just ridiculous!

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16 Liz

I’ve definitely noticed the price of food going up, and it’s made a huge impact on our budget. I am more aware of prices now and am constantly looking for “the better deal”. I have started shopping at a different market that tends to have lower prices; I buy in bulk and stock up during sales; and I have started using coupons. As much as I hate the rising prices, I appreciate that they have forced me to be a more conscious consumer. I used to just shop at whatever store was closest and buy whatever I wanted without looking through the sale ads or doing price comparisons.

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17 carolinebee

I answered the survey…I only shop for 1-2 ppl though. I am shocked at the grocery store prices- TJ’s is much more reasonable- my mom says it has something to do with them being non-union. I usually go to two or three stores if i’m buying a new item just to price compare to find the best deal. I definitely did NOT used to do that! I think I’m most shocked by fruit prices, some of the apples in my stores are $3.49/lb..even in season :O!!

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18 chisai

Food costs here in the NY Metro area have gone way up. I’m spending about 30% more on groceries than I was a year ago, and that’s taking into account that I’m also buying less meat/poultry. I know that prices here are a bit higher than in the surrounding areas because the markets are smaller, rent is higher, etc. I get it, I do. But that does not explain why my local supermarket charges 89 cents for a lemon. Not an organic lemon, just, you know, a lemon. I’m eating a lot more meals based on rice/beans/potatoes/pasta, etc. You know, I make a decent salary. I’m far from rich, but I do okay. I know that in this economy, I’m pretty lucky. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for people on really limited budgets.

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19 Catlin

I totally agree. Everytime I go to the grocery I try to add things up in my head and buy things on sale; yet I still have to budge 120$ just in case. Crazy. I’m only buying for two!

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20 Brooke

I live in Texas and really haven’t thought the prices have gone up too much. There is always inflation but it doesn’t seem ridiculous. I usually spend about 100 a week for 2 adults (and 2 dogs) and that is because we buy a lot of fresh fruit/veggies/meats etc. So here in the Southern US it must not be as bad as Canada.

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21 Lady Downsize

First, hello fellow Canadian.

I agree whole-heartedly that grocery prices are skyrocketing. I am a single parent of one, and ten years ago I could buy groceries under $40 a week. However, now I don’t have enough money for the groceries I need each week. That same $40 now barely covers anything. Even $80 is not enough when things start running out. I shop around the outside of the store and only venture into a row for specific items on the list (need to take a list!), or down the freezer isle for frozen veggies and fruits to help get through the second week of a bi-weekly pay.

What I notice more than price is what items go on sale in the flyers. There is very little healthy food. Most items are high-sugar, highly-refined, additive-filled, and pre-packaged. All stuff that keeps the eater hungry for more with no real nutritional value.

I would love to be able to see a break in that cost instead of wondering how to afford what I need. However, eating out is not the answer. It’s costing a lot more too.

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22 Jill

My grocery budget is $100 per week for a family of four. I basically plan my week’s menu in advance using sale items and what is in my freezer. I shop at Aldi’s first, then Wal-Mart or Kroger. If I see a really good sale on meat, I stock up and freeze. Plus I plan meals that will stretch for at least two meals.

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23 TanyaS

The fastest way to cut the grocery bill would be to avoid the name brand and specialty items – crackers/bread/eggs. Of course that then starts the debate on quality vs quantity and paying more for your health.

What doesn’t cost more today than a year ago?

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24 ZestyCook

WOW Everyone, thanks for all the positive response on such an important topic. It really hits close to home!

Thanks again
zesty

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25 Becky

At least you got 7 miles! The more groceries go up, the more miles you’ll get! But seriously, I do notice that I spend A LOT on groceries. I know there are definite areas that I can cut back (more meatless meals, less diet coke!) but I guess it just hasn’t affected me enough to do so.

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26 Sarah

We budget for $75/wk., but try to spend less. Definitely have noticed the rise in prices!! Yikes! In an effort to conserve, this week we’re eating more of what we already have in the pantry & freezer… kind of boring, but it does allow for more exciting purchases later in the month at the grocery store.

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27 Rose-Anne

I have certainly noticed prices going up in Evanston, but it seems to be limited to certain classes of products. The two items that really pinched me were organic milk and my favorite cereal. I haven’t noticed big changes in the cost of organic produce or cheese, and I buy those types of items all the time. Because I’m vegetarian, I don’t pay any attention to the cost of meat, and from the comments left here, it sounds like the prices of meat have hurt many budgets. Beans and other legumes seem as affordable as ever, thank goodness!

I’m wondering in general if the rising cost of food has been more noticeable at places where most of the items aren’t organic and are therefore cheaper than items you find at places like Whole Foods. Any thoughts?

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28 ZestyCook

@Rose-Anne, I totally agree with your thoughts and for me being in a smaller place – we don’t have a lot of the big box stores that offer discount pricing except for Walmart so by the time the produce and such get trucked in – the costs are fairly high thus driving the retail prices up. One thing I notice here is the price of milk. Crazy.

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29 elise

i AGREE! it’s obscene! the other day i actually did something i never do and said nevermind to the cashier when i saw the price ring up. a handful of asparagus for $16!?! you have GOT to be kidding me. yeah, it was organic, but still, thats not normal and shouldn’t be acceptable. ugh. now you’ve got me in a rant…haha

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30 Andrea of Care to Eat

Wow, what a timely post! I have to admit that in the past couple of years, I haven’t had to think about how much my groceries cost. But, now as the economy is slowing down, I’ve become very conscious of what I’m buying and for how much. When I shop, it’s around the perimeter and I can do pretty good for a week’s worth of groceries. If the husband comes along, he’s more in the middle aisles, and that’s where our bill gets jacked up. He’s finally learning how to shop smart too and is now unwilling to pay $2 (or more) for a bell pepper.

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31 Maggie

I definitely agree that prices are rising. Fortunately I live in an area where there is a ton of produce available (Mountain View, CA) and I found a fantastic small open air market that doesn’t have a ridiculous overhead and is cheap. But “cheap” is actually what “normal” was a few years ago.

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32 Nicole

I think my grocery bill has risen a lot in the last year! At first I attributed it to the gas prices, but then nothing went down with the gas prices! I have been working hard on watching sales and coupons as well, but also buying meat (which really is the biggest expense) in bulk and preparing freezer meals. This way I take advantage of sales and really have cut down on most food waste. Plus on a busy week night it is so great to come home to a meal you just have to heat and eat!

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33 Suzanne

OMG. That’s so funny you posted about outrageous grocery bills, because I’ve been complaining every weekend when I look at my receipts! And it stinks, because we have to pay it to eat, right?

I think my grocery bills have almost tripled since last year. I used to spend about $50 at Trader Joe’s and that was it. But, recently, I’ve had to expand to other stores to buy everything organic. That definitely did it! So I feel your pain, zesty!

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34 Keegan

I totally agree. We’re a little sheltered from the price jumps by having access to the NAVY commissary, but when I need to go to a regular grocery store I always have a heart attack about how much prices have creeped up. It’s adds up so quickly. I’ve become addicted to finding coupons online to help in any means possible. It usually saves us a few bucks each time. Adds up over time!

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35 Marianne

There was actually an interesting new story done on the on huge discrepancies in food costs across the country. There are some flaws in the survey, but it’s still interesting to note such huge differences. You can read the article here:

Food Costs Vary Widely Across Canada

And from what I can see, it appears food cost in Canada are significantly higher than those in the States (just from reading other blogs, and seeing what people are paying for their own groceries).

I live on my own, so I’m shopping for one adult. If I had to average it out, I would say I spend at least $50/week on groceries. I often have a big week of spending, then a smaller week. This doesn’t factor in monthy (or so) shops at Costco as well. But I have definitely noticed prices going up on various items, like milk, bananas, bread, etc. I have started to check the flyers online, at least for a few stores, to see what they have on sale. Sales totally influence my produce shopping, as does the quality of the produce. As for meat, I usually only buy that at Costco and freeze it. But it is a bit ridiculous the cost of buying healthy food in Canada.

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36 Shelby

It’s getting ridiculous! I spend $75-ish on MY OWN grocerys…not including the rest of my family. I shop around to find the best deals and avoid packaged foods now.

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37 Julia

I can see the prices rise every week in the flyer from the grocerie store I do not shop at. I do not shop there because of the way they treated my son when he worked there. In 1999 he went into kidney failure and collasped at work. Instead of calling for an ambulance, they sent him home and said “don’t come back to work until you have a doctor’s note saying why you collasped”. My son was less than 12 hours away from dying at that point. The employee who was his boss actually said to my son “Don’t you die on me!”

I have to budget my money out of my pay check because I have to buy groceries to last for two weeks at a time.I only get paid once every two weeks.

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38 Betsy

I’ve changed the way I shop. First, I’m definitely back to coupons! I find them in the Sunday paper, magazines, and on-line. Takes time, but worth it! I stock up on staples that are on sale even if I don’t need them at the time.

I now form my meal plan while looking at the grocery ad, versus deciding what I’m going to make and then buying the ingredients. It’s easier to eat in season this way, and cheaper.

I’ve decreased use of convenience food items, and also tend to buy in bulk more often (sometimes splitting purchases with a friend when I go to Costco). For example, I buy dried rather than canned beans, and make up a pot of brown rice each week rather than buying the frozen kind.

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39 TorontoGirloutWest

I recently moved to the BC Rockies (I’m a Toronto girl who spent four years in Victoria doing the law school/articling thing) and this by fat the worst place I’ve ever lived in for grocery prices.

They are nuts!!!!! So much so that I can confess that I don’t really have a grocery budget. I try to spend as little as possible and leave it at that. I stock up on protein (fish, meat, chicken, etc . . .) when the prices are low. But I often find myself going to the grocery stores for fruit and veggies. In fact I honestly think we consume bananas at a monkey-like rate. Whether it be for snacks or in our daily breakfast smoothies it’s all about the bananas.

Just to point out how bad the prices here are – recently I visited Vancouver and shopped at the Capers (owned by Whole Foods) in the West End. Everything there was cheaper than at my local Safeway, Save-On, or Superstore (which can suprisingly often be the worst!).

The price difference actually made me a bit mad!

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40 Lee

Hi Zesty,

I agree that the cost of food has been rising here in Canada (Toronto). But I’m curious as to what exactly was on your grocery list. For example, I noticed on your receipt that you paid GST and PST, which would indicate some convenience food purchases. And a lot of berries, which I assume were not locally grown. Mind you … while I try to be a “locavore”, I haven’t been able to give up berries … but I do enjoy them at a premium!

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41 CaSaundra

I agree that grocery prices are at an all time high, and it seems they are steadily rising. Some ways that I save; I buy frozen fruits and veggies because they don’t spoil like fresh produce does. Also buying in bulk at my local Sam’s Club really helps if you have the time to portion things and the space to store it. Everyday coupon clipping really does pay off too! Even though it may seem like saving a couple quarters here and there doesn’t matter–it does add up! [[Keeping my Fingers Crossed for Lower Grocery Prices!]]

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42 Kristie

I live at home so my mom pays for the groceries but she has been noting and complaining more and more often about how darn expensive it is getting. A quick run to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials always ends up being at least $50. A week is usually more than $100 (probably closer to $200) for our household of three. It’s insane! We try to get things on sale but often convenience wins out. The price of most foods lately are just getting to be obscene though.

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43 Jena

Groceries haven’t been rising too much here, but I stick to sale items as much as I can and we live in a remote town (accessible only by ferry) where prices are really high anyway. A year ago, I was still spending twice or three times as much on groceries as I had been a year prior in Ohio (even considering exchange rates), but I’ve managed to reign it in some.

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44 Shaiha

Your bill does seem really high. I am curious if it was correct. Did you go back thru it to see if you were overcharged? I shop for myself and my husband, don’t use coupons and we tend to eat alot of meat yet our groceries only run about $200 a month.

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45 Amanda Elizabeth

argh YES! Our weekly grocery bill literally is to the point where it might be cheaper to go out. Granted, I have food allergies so a lot of cheaper stuff is out for me, but I try to buy on sale, generic brands, etc. I sometimes buy jarred pasta sauce for nights when I know we are really busy, Muir Glen brand, which is usually about $3 a jar. The last time I went shopping on Monday, it suddenly is $5.99 a jar. For pasta sauce. Insane. Especially since I bought it 3 weeks ago for $3, not on sale!!! We’ve gotten to the point where we are debating driving to Oregon for our groceries and just spending a little extra on gas. We did it earlier in the year and even including gas, saved $65!!!!

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46 Steph

I know what you mean.. but I think it’s actually gotten a little better. I think it was worse around the fall time. We always shop where the sales are..

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47 leslie

Grocery costs make me sick! I used to enjoy going to the grocery store until I started wathing what I was spending. I like to buy Organic milk, eggs and meat. But a glaaon of Organic milk is $6.50!! OMG. It is getting crazy!
Even though it goes against every fiber in my body, I have grocery shopped at Super Walmart and have noticed a HUGE savings.

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48 Linda

I’m glad my kid is grown; I would have a hard time feeding him well these days with the increasing prices. We try to shop sale items and store specials, but still the grocery bill increases by leaps and bounds.

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49 Moi

If you have any grocery outlets, they are a God send! We have a produce mega store that you get cheap bags of fruits and veggies as well. I have to go half an hour from home to reap mega savings. In the end it’s worth it.

This blog might inspire you, too!
http://grocerycartchallenge.blogspot.com/

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50 coco

yes, I did noticed that my weekly groceries cost more. I wasn’t sure if it was because prices went up or I was eating more and fancier.

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51 haya

i have noticed that food prices are going up rapidly! (i’m in toronto) i think i’ve noticed it the most in fruits/veggies. bananas are now 79 cents/pound at loblaws! i’m pretty sure last year i was getting them for 49. i can’t wait till the farmer’s market opens so at least if i’m going to be spending a bunch on produce, i will know that it is actually going to good people.

i shop around a bit, as feasible. since i live in the suburbs and don’t have a car, i’m limited to the loblaws that i can walk to and the grocery stores near work. i do check flyers and plan what to buy based on that.

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52 The Metrosexiest

I wish this was more reported, and journalistic. Maybe you’re just buying fancy brands and organics out of season that cost more in general? Maybe you had one of those weeks where you needed to replenish the beer, the vinegar and oil, and all the other expensive items. Anyway. Yeah. It does sound like a rant. But I feel your pain here in the US.

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53 GreeneShadows

Hi, I have to say that $147.00 for shopping is actually a fairly cheap shopping trip in the UK! I’m a single mum with 2 young children, and I reckon I probably spend about $200 a week on food. I don’t go mental, rarely buy alcohol with my shopping or anything that I would consider to be a luxury. Meat is usually about $8 a pack (depending on what you buy!). Considering at the moment I’m out of work, this leaves me with little money for bills etc. I am told by friends and family that this is an average amount to spend on food shopping. We also pay about $1.30 for a litre of petrol….. Think it’s time to emmigrate!

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54 GreeneShadows

No, actually most of the items that I buy are at the cheap end of the price bracket. I don’t buy organic as here it costs twice the price, rarely buy fresh meat as a joint of lamb is usually about $20, I don’t drink at home so no alcohol involved… Just the general everyday stuff. And, I don’t weigh as much as an elephant!

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55 Jo

Yes, our weekly groceries do cost more… and it’s enough to drive me nuts!

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56 The Metrosexiest

Oh and P.S. go veggie and you save on groceries! Big time!

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57 Vanessa

Ciao Zesty,

I feel your pain. I shop for two people only, and my groceries are expensive! I have finally resolved to take a different approach, abandoned completely Safeway and large chain stores, and shop for produce and almost everything else at a locally owned small business (sort of a permanent display of farmer’s market stands) that has unbeatable prices. That and Trader Joe’s usually do the trick, with the occasional trip to Costco (maybe a couple of times a month, but that’s always a $100 tab!). We have also pretty much completely cut dining out, and we’re making a lot more things from scratch.
We are very fortunate to live in California where fresh produce year-round is available and farmer’s markets are a staple of everyone’s shopping… Where do you shop in Canada?

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58 ZestyCook

@Vanessa – I shop in Eastern Canada ( PEI ) usually at both local grocery chains and farmers markets when I can.

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59 April in CT

My jaw dropped when I saw your total! That is just absolutely absurd for two bags of groceries. Are you sure you didn’t buy some jewelry and not realize it? lol

I used to pick out recipes I wanted to try then base my grocery list upon that. Now I base my meals around what is on sale or try to stock up if the meat is a good deal. In an attempt to save as much as I can if it’s not on sale I just don’t buy it until it is. I couple that with coupons, but still feel like I’m being ripped off when I grocery shop.

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60 Jessie

I totally agree! Grocery prices during these times are sickening! I’m even more angry with private small chain supermarkets like the one here where I live at (Brooklyn,NY) that keep the prices high to make a profit.

There needs to be a law that freezes prices during a recession especially since there are so many people without jobs cannot afford to keep with these rising prices.

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61 Rmg12

Well our family of four spends around £100 per week, which is about CAD$175 or USD$135 but then the United Kingdom is an expensive country everything is higher priced in europe than the rest of the world

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62 Anita / Married with dinner

We buy almost nothing in supermarkets — we’re lucky to live in a city where farmers markets and CSA boxes give us pretty much everything we need — so we’re shielded from a lot of the rising grocery story costs that are giving everyone so much stress.

Buying food directly from small farmers (who opt out of the commodity and subsidy programs) means we’ve always had what most families would consider obscenely high food costs. We’ve made a decision that it’s important for us for a number of reasons, but definitely understand it’s a luxury for many.

But it’s interesting to discover one of the benefits of buying direct (and, by extension, paying what food actually costs to produce) is that our grocery expenses have stayed mostly level. Yes, we’re paying more than we were last year, but maybe 5-10% additional, not the 80-100% increases I keep reading about at the supermarkets.

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63 jarred

out of the 19 visible items on the bill comes out to $74.69
which is about right for two bags of groceries
perhaps you should do the math
as 147 is completely outrageous
not to say that 70+ isn’t
but next time double check the clerk and the bill
even if it slows up the line and gives the clerk a hard time

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64 ZestyCook

Jarred, When taking the picture of the receipt, I folded the receipt up to get a better shot of the total amount….with that being said the bill is longer. I am not making the price up nor trying to embellish that indeede these two bags of groceries totaled 147.00. I hope this helps.

zesty

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65 Farina

Was thinking of making pesto sauce yesterday so went to the supermarket to get some fresh basil. 3.99 for maybe a handful. And my hand is small! No pesto for me. :(

But I do find the bill is higher esp when we included the kitchen towel or toilet roll and stuff like that. Sigh…

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66 justeatfood

It seems as though there is certainly a high premium placed on ‘good’ food. Just buying the staples, milk, eggs, bread will run you about $15 bucks. Now, I could buy cheap food from unsustainable sources, but I refuse. Sometimes making things from scratch i.e. bread costs more than just buying them. Let’s stick in there until our ‘victory gardens’ take off!

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67 Jason

I absolutely agree, but what helped us out is we started shopping at Aldis for the stuff we can get there. It has saved us about 20 dollars a week. For a while there we were over 150 per week before the switch.

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68 HoneyB

You are definitely NOT alone! I feed just two people and can spend over $100 at the grocery easily!!

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69 Casey

Well, I am 1 person, and per week, I spend no more than 30$ on groceries. Being, I am still young, but really, I have just learned how to shop, cook, and eat. Culinary school helped years ago, and now I can make anything taste good and be healthy. I do a “big” shop about once a month for things like toilet paper and oil, but still, I never spend any more than 100$ and then I dont need yo shop for about 10 days. Hmm, I dont understand.

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70 thepinkpeppercorn

This might be confusing to US readers, as groceries in Canada are waaay more expensive as there are fewer options to shop from. Safeway is SUPER expensive though, but sadly there aren’t exactly that many choices when you have to take a dog sled. lol :)

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71 Lauren

Very interesting post, Zesty! I think the price of groceries is on most people’s minds in the U.S. as well. Food is not something I like to budget-shop for, so my spending habits haven’t changed that drastically with grocery shopping (my fiance and I fall in the $125-$150 bracket).

I saw in one of your reply comments above that you are from PEI… I spent many childhood summer on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and absolutely LOVE it up there :)

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72 Jordan

Living in Manhattan, I totally feel your pain! Its expensive whether I buy groceries to cook at home or eat out. I feel like there’s no escaping it and its so frusterating. I had friends from out of town come to visit last weekend and after 2 days they were like “i don’t know how you afford to live here!”

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73 Margaret

Yep! Prices for food are ridiculous. I did notice some items on your list that I would not buy simply because they are too expensive – blue berries, and organic grapes for example. A rotisserie chicken here (Louisiana) is about $5, bananas $.59/lb, sweet potatoes $.69/lb. And we eat a lot of chicken, hamburger, pork because beef is soooo high. Cannot wait for garden to start.

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74 Lauren

I am spending alot more, but I am finding ways to cut costs, like becoming a vegetarian.

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75 Heidi / Savory Tv

It’s unbelievable out here as well in the Colorado ski / resort towns. My mom just came to visit today from Denver and I almost cried out of happiness when she gave me a huge chunk of parmesan reggiano, which I haven’t been able to afford for weeks. My answer is simply limiting calories, and not eating so much, as well as drinking whey protein. It’s not what I like, but I’m already trimming up nicely for the summer :)

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76 Jen

As a fellow Maritimer (NS)…I feel your pain. The cost of groceries have risen DRAMATICALLY over the past year, and it doesn’t seem to end! For our family of five, this means I have to shop by what’s on sale, and stock up a bit when there is a really good sale. I would never buy grapes, chicken breast, or asparagus, unless they were on sale. It requires a small bit of time to plan out a menu for a week…doing so with flyer in hand…but it definitly saves in the long run. Even doing this, I still find we spend a ridiculous amount of money to feed our family. Trying to do it, while still being healthy is not a reality for many in our province.

PS. I LOVE your blog!

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77 ZestyCook

Jen, I totally agree. Thanks so much for your kind words. I am glad you enjoy zesty!

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78 Kevin

The cost of food is definitely going up. Then add the price for all of the specialty foods for interesting food posts and it gets really expensive. :)

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79 Ben

I shop at a local Asian market and it’s in places 1/5 the price of Safeway and Giant. Stay away form the big chain stores. I don’t know why, but they’ve raised their prices sky high.

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80 Ashley

Grocery shopping can definitely be pricey (I’m in Ontario) Here are some of the things I do to keep my costs low:

*Meal Plan – Each week I do a meal plan. I figure out exactly what I’m going to make for dinner, and then plan lunches and breakfasts around that. I have a look in the fridge and pantry to see what I need and then base my list around that. Going into the store with a specific list really helps and checking out what’s in the house helps to make sure that I don’t double up on an item

*Organic Produce Delivery + Local Fruit/veggie stands – Product (especially organic) is way too expensive at my local stores (unless it’s on sale – which I watch for!) I don’t know if it’s available in your area, but I have a box of organic fruit and veggies delivered to my door every two weeks. They have pre-made boxes or you can customize and in my area they start at $25. The produce is amazing and the convenience factor is also high! If I need something else I try to shop at our local fruit stand as they are so much cheaper than the grocery/natural store

*Check out flyers and sales – While not as abundant as in the States, there are coupons out there.

*Don’t do all your shopping at the grocery store – I also stop at Shoppers Drug Mart (sounds bizarre but they have a lot of groceries in some stores and tonnes of organics which often go on sale) and I try to utilize the bulk store as much as possible! Buying in bulk means that you only have to get as much as you need which is great when you’re trying to cut costs.

I too have had that “sticker shock” at the end of a grocery shopping trip, but I’ve been working to cut down my bill as much as possible and these things have definitely helped me!

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81 ZestyCook

@Ashley – thanks for the great tips for both myself and the readers. Greatly Appreciate it.

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82 rhodeygirl

just read this post (finally).

seems like we tend to write about similar things at similar times. or at least talk about them.

i am always shocked and disgusted at my grocery bill, especially since i only cook for myself + probably 2 dinners a week with friends. i have brought it down TREMENDOUSLY by buying only exactly what I need, and also by eating many more vegetarian meals.

For example I used to get so excited by the raspberries in the market that I would buy two containers (about $10), but then I ended up only eating half of one container by the time the rest would get moldy ew. So now I choose one fruit and buy a couple of servings of that and eat only that fruit until it runs out before moving on to the next one. Example: last week was apples, this week is one cantaloupe, next week will prob be berries since we keep talking about them!

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83 Caitlin

Three cheers for triple coupons, seasonal foods and local produce!
While the rest of the necessities are through the roof here on Long Island at least we can cut costs on food.

The best thing I can suggest is buying food on sale and stocking up on anything you can. Store name brands are also going to be cheaper than the bigger companies if only because their advertising bills are less.

Good luck folks :]

-Conscientious Cait
Seventeen, Long Island, New York USA

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84 Sarah W.

I shop for 2 (my husband and I) I live in Northern, VA (near DC), while I TRYYYY to spend no more than $50/week, it normally ends up being in the $75-100 range.

I recently went vegan – so this helps. alot. The only meat we have is a bag of chicken from costco that my MIL buys for us. If I was eating like I was eating a year or so ago, my bill would be truly astronomical – I was eating like a body builder and having protein at every meal. yuck!

I find that when I am buying things for the hubby is when my bill goes up – chips, cookies, crackers, ice cream, cereal, cheese are all things that cause my bill to go up up up! To keep the bill down I try not to take him shoping with me and he’s not home that often to eat so its a good thing.

i feel your pain!

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85 The Food Site

It is pretty much the same here in Asia, if not worse, since most of the food stuff like milk, cream, cheese, butter are imported, thus there’s the import duty charges included in it.
Even our staple food, rice, is getting expensive. Each trip to the grocery store will end up with bills $100 – $200 (our currency). Butter costs almost $10. A carton of milk costs $4. A packet of 1kg milk powder for my toddler costs $35. Yogurt costs $3 per small little cup.
Fortunately, most of the local green vegetables are still reasonably priced.
When people say its expensive to eat out, I’d say it is equally expensive to eat in too!
~Foong~

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86 Kimberly @ How to Cook Blog

Zesty…

I completely agree! Trying to eat healthy, especially, is really kicking us in the wallet…

We buy no-name brands as often as we can, but we won’t budge on our organics…

It is getting tough and it’s ridiculous.

We are visiting Dallas for the next month or so and we usually, as you very well know, cook ALL the time!

Here, it is way cheaper for us to eat out every meal, not as healthy, but way cheaper…

Now, something’s seriously wrong here! It doesn’t make sense that restaurants can buy their food, pay for people to cook it and serve you and still make a profit for cheaper than we can simply purchase a few items…

Simply outlandish and ridiculous. We live in Niagara Falls, Ontario, so I understand the rise of the Canadian inflation!!!

Thanks for posting Zesty…

Kimberly @ Cooking With Kimberly

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87 Paul

Here in southern Ontario (Fort Erie) we have a situation where a large chain store group bought out the smaller ones creating a market they can control entirely. I ususally wait for the “No Frills” store to do their big dollar sale and stockpile as much as possible. Other times I gather all the food store flyers and plan a tour that nails down each store’s lowest cost goods. It’s a tough deal trying to eat well at home. Sometimes I wonder if we’re not better off just eating from the ‘dollar menu’ at Wendys…lmao! Funny, but if you do the math it makes sense in hard times.

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88 Rob Wallace

Nice colorful food, priced right — I am not good at this thankd.

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89 Chris

I thought Zesty’s comments and the comments by fellow readers were insightful. My feelings is skip all the fast food and the processed foods and keep to fresh as much as possible. In terms of processed foods I really like to read the labels – if there are too many ingredients that would not be found in my cupboard or words like hydrogenated I give it a pass. Makes my shopping way easier. If I can I buy organics – better for me, the environment, the earthworms (go ahead and laugh) and the farmers.

Cheap food is cheap upfront but the cost to one’s body is not cheap. Food is fuel and though I’m far away from being the perfect eater the smart side of me wants to be there!

Support the independent retailer when you can – they don’t have the buyer power of the chains (are there any independents left in PEI??) but many are making an honest living. Buy imperfect produce.

Nice blog – just found it today.

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90 Melinda

I totally agree! I went to Publix the other day and bought 2 bags of groceries and it was around $100 which I thought was steep, but $147 is just highway robbery!

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91 Laura

Woah, I think I just had a mini stroke looking at your total cost. I have to agree, groceries are rising. For my boyfriend and myself I spend, on average, $70-$80 bi-weekly on groceries (and I don’t buy junk food, cookies, chips, soda, etc.-except for the occasional ice cream) and I also buy off brand products whenever available. I used to spend $50-$60 bi-weekly. Funds have become so tight that I am starting to make meal plans, research weekly ads, find coupons, and find new recipes just to keep the grocery bill low. I’ve started buying in bulk (cereals, frozen fruit, milk, eggs, chicken) from Sam’s Club and I find that that helps out a lot.

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92 Marcia

Food in the New York metro area ia very expensive, as are taxes, rents, houses, and healthcare. Add to the mix the fact that I am kosher, my daughter eats mostly organic and there are four of us to feed, and it gets costly. Here are the tricks we employ to save money on quality food:
1. use coupons, even write to mfrs. like Amy’s and Newman’s Own or some or print them online.
2. there is a local health food chain (Mrs. Green’s) that has sale day the 1st Thurs. of each month = 10% off.
3. Stock up on sale items (like Kashi Waffles on sale at the supermarket, then use coupons on top, get $4.00 for $2.99 less a $2 coup = 99 cents!)

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93 Marcia

P.S. Trader Joe’s store brand is cheap! They sometimes have organic produce cheap in season, and 19 cent bananas, etc.

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94 GIGI

Are you shopping for just yourself or a family?? That’s something to consider – I buy groceries for ONLY myself and really… that’s my bill pretty much every week: ALTHOUGH the bill does include gum, magazines, energy drinks… yea – that sort of thing.

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95 [Blocked by CFC] Estelle Weesner

Hello, to start with I want to tell you that I follow your blog. Great post, I fully agree with you. Have a good day mate.

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96 Hacques

amazingly pricey.. I only earns US$210 per month and I would be died in two days if the prices on my country are the same as yours, Zesty.

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100 Isabel

I got the same impression also, I mean every time I go to the grocery store I don’t leave from there without leaving between 70-150$. And it’s not like I’m buying expensive stuff, just the regular things.

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