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Food prices on the rise....

Posted at 4:04 PM on February 1, 2008 by Nanci Olesen

How’s the family?

And, how’s that grocery bill?

Have you noticed that food prices are on the rise? Are you eating less meat or buying fewer eggs?

The price of dairy products has risen more than 13 percent over the last year. The price of meat is up more than five percent. If you've been to a grocery store or restaurant lately you've seen the jump in food prices. It's the steepest rise since 1990.

Food prices are rising along with the cost of fuel. In the case of corn, it looks like there’s a close connection between the two, as the demand for ethanol rises.

We don’t seem to know yet what we’re in for, and there’s a lot of conversation about whether this is a recession or an economic slow down.

But people are feeling the crunch. I talked to shoppers around the Twin Cities this week, and many said they’re tightening their belts – buying fewer luxuries and looking for sales.

I spoke with Ruth Hayden, a financial consultant and educator, who specializes in helping couples communicate about their money.

It’s stunning to me how much more it costs to get the same thing. You know my concern is for families and my concern is for the elderly-- the people who are on a fixed income and the people who have many mouths to feed. My goodness. It is painful, especially to those two groups.

I asked her what we can do.

She pays for her groceries with cash, and says that it’s important to see exactly what you’re paying. The transaction is complete as you leave the store. And shopping with cash helps keep you from buying impulse items you don’t really need.

Hayden says that it’s important that we sit down and communicate as a family about what’s happening. Food prices are going up. We aren’t to blame for this, and we can’t blame each other.

This helps alleviate some stress, or at least helps us team up and work together as a family to figure out how to make our money go farther.

As Congress kicks around a plan to give us a rebate as an incentive to get us to shop, Hayden wants us to sit tight and plan carefully. She wants to see us saving money each month within our households.

Maybe if we put aside money and “tighten our belts” we won’t get into (more) debt.

How’s your family handling higher food prices?

Are you budgeting differently?

Resources:

Stretching Your Food Dollars

How to Feed a Family on a Budget

Family Budget Calculator