Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am in grocery shock...

I am fairly adept at extending our grocery budget, after years of doing so. However, I have come in for quite a shock this past month and have had to conclude, very much reluctantly, that I have been living in a dreamland.
In Australia, we were managing our grocery bill of $450(AU) a month quite happily. I would buy Operation Christmas Child gifts out of that money as well as feed the two of us nicely. I knew food prices had gone up (I have charts of my grocery bills from the past 3 years to prove it), and we had definitely noticed it ourselves, increasing our food budget from $400 to $450 a month. In case you are wondering, food went up about 20-25% in a year in Australia, and I believe New Zealand was similar.
We are fortunate I think, to live in a western country. I read many articles about nations that depend strongly on rice where their food bills doubled or even trippled - and this for people who were already struggling to feed their families on very little income. The food crisis is expected to last until 2015 for varying reasons (like increased fuel costs, drought, etc). So we were fortunate that we had a flexible income and only experienced a quarter increase rather than more. And we still are. However, I am noticing the price of food like never before. It might have something to do with going from a flexible, luxuriously high income, to a fixed, barely-covering everything income.
I blithely thought we could manage on $450 a month here. It would be tight, I thought, but we would just have to make do. Yes well, after 2 months of shopping I have concluded that I am deluded. Either that or we need to eat lentils, sausages and silverbeet every day!!! As Boyo absolutely refuses point blank (and I also must admit to being less than enthusiastic), another solution had to be found! After speaking with 3 other couples around us, I've had to (very reluctantly) admit defeat on this score, and look at increasing our budget. The other folks I talked with are all managing around the $130-150(NZ) a week...which for us would be about $550-600 a month. I am, of course, still trying to wrangle ways to make it less! But I suspect that this is what it will end up a preggy I can only lessen my daily intake of food so much you know and can't expect to suddenly start eating less once Munchkin is born - if anything it is likely to be more!

Recent bacon and egg pies - top one by Boyo, bottom one by myself...these were lunches during my practicum.

So the next task is to see where we can 'take' the extra $100-150 a month from. Our budget is pretty tight, but not completely inflexible so I'm sure we will come up with something. I just wish we didn't have to 'eat' so much of our income! And after saying that, I am already thinking of what to eat for my pre-bed snack. Hmmm, yoghurt, banana, dried fruit, it all sounds so yummy. I only just ate dinner, I can't possibly be hungry yet. Can I?!


1 comment:

MaxineD said...

Yes you can be hungry :-). Happy budgeting, and may your dollars stretch as far as needed.