Friday, April 19, 2013

Fifty Second Friday: Bargain Hunting

Do you notice when the price of your favorite cereal goes up a few cents? Or that there is now 20% less in the box? With weekly grocery bills making up less than 10% (on average) of your income, and food in the U.S. some of the cheapest (relatively speaking) in the world, the answer is probably not. But poor urban households generally spend over half their income on food. Higher food prices, which has been the overarching trend in the last half decade, mean less on the plate and in the pantry, and hungrier households. But it also turns out that, unlike farmers in affluent countries who benefit from higher crop prices, producers in developing are actually unable to take advantage of those higher prices and are paying more on top of that to feed themselves.

Ok, so bad news all around, before you even add in exacerbating factors like extreme weather events and political upheaval. But we won't go there right now. Recently I have been scouring grocery shelves looking  for the lowest prices, trying to optimize calories and nutrition per dollar spent. There is only just over a week left until I once again Live Below the Line, subsisting on $1.50 per day for food. Now, I did this last year, managing to spend my $7.50 for the week on calories enough to barely subsist while not compromising my desire to use whole, unprocessed ingredients. What I did not anticipate was that the price of some of my staples - green lentils and barley - would have gone up in price close to 50 cents per pound. That's a few extra bananas, or perhaps an onion to liven up otherwise extraordinarily bland and boring food!

This year is going to be difficult. Last year I realized how much I'm willing to sacrifice calorie-wise to include some variety and micronutrients. Let's see what I learn about myself and values this time around. Nearly reached my fundraising goal for the Rainforest Foundation, so consider helping out to nudge it over the threshold!

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