Food costs on their way UP! - MoneySense

Food costs on their way UP!

With a drought ravaging the U.S. experts say we should brace ourselves for a jump of upwards of 4% over the next year. What’s a family to do?


According to the Stats Man, between 1999 and 2009, the average price of a loaf of bread went from $1.31 to $2.50, an increase of 91%. A litre of partly skimmed milk went from $1.41 to $2.11, a 50% increase. And 1 kilogram of ground beef from $3.90 to $7.02, an 80% increase.

The cost of food keeps going up. Between 2009 and 2010, food costs went up about 2%. Between 2010 and 2011, it jumped another 4.6%. And between July 2011 and 2012, prices jumped again by just under 1.3%.

We’re spending about $150 a week, or $8,219 a year, on food. Remember now, that doesn’t include things like personal care, household cleaning, booze or smokes. That’s just food.

With a drought ravaging the U.S. experts say we should brace ourselves for a jump of upwards of 4% over the next year. I think that’s optimistic but, hey, even if you’re an optimist that’s a leap. What’s a family to do? Try these tips:

Shop with a list. Avoiding impulse spending will keep 23% more money in your pocket, according to studies including one from the University of Pennsylvania. Keep a grocery list on your fridge. As you run out of stuff or identify what you’ll be cooking next, add what you need to your list. And when you go shopping, don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list. (If you want to have a small amount set aside for taking advantage of great in-store specials, add an extra $10 to your grocery budget to stock up when prices are fabulous.)

Potential savings: $34.50 / week

Shop where prices are lowest. So obvious. And yet, not always the way we go. Would you be interested in saving up to 20% just by switching supermarkets?

Potential savings: $30 / week

Eat more fruits & veggies. Cut out meat for a couple of meals a week and fill up on fruits and vegies and you can trim your food budget by upwards of 18%.

Potential savings: $27 / week

Buy in bulk. When salmon hits 99¢ a tin, when coffee goes on sale, when toilet paper is a bargain, stock up. It’s not going to spoil so buy on sale and save as much as 25%.

Potential savings: $37.50 / week

Cut coupons. No, you won’t be able to walk out of the supermarket with $400 of groceries for a buck ninety-two like you’ve seen on TV, but you can save anywhere from 10-30% if you clip coupons and build your menus around what’s on sale.

Potential savings: $45 / week