I went last week and oh my goodness! The prices!
I’ve been reading about looming shortages and price increases for a few weeks now, and I saw it for myself this weekend. It’s not just in my area- the CPI government report for January 2011 notes:
Over the past 12 months, the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs has risen 6.2 percent with the other grocery store food group indexes posting smaller increases.
Even more significantly, gasoline and energy prices are way up, too- unadjusted, by 17% in the last 12 months.
Which means food prices won’t be going down any time soon. There are a lot of reasons why- that freak cold snap froze a lot crops in Mexico, so don’t look for cheap tomatoes in the future. Droughts and floods have caused nations that used to be exporters of food to become importers. The US Dollar is weakening, meaning that we have to use more dollar bills to buy the same amount of food (but wages are stagnating, so people aren’t making any more money.) Who knows what oil is going to do, with all the turmoil and revolutions happening in the Middle East.
So, as regular folks with regular budgets, what can we do?
It’s time to stock up.
But how to do that on a budget? What to buy? What are you going to do with it?
There is a lot of helpful food storage information on the web, but it can be overwhelming and not quite fit a Real Food lifestyle. Yes, making compromises can be a smart thing to do in an emergency but stocking up on 180 cans of MSG laden chicken noodle soup is not being prudently prepared.
It’s just not practical for me to go buy 11 sets of prepackaged freeze dried food kits, either (even if I did want to live off of packaged stroganoff and MREs for the next few months, which I don’t.)
I’m not preparing for The End of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAKI, in prepper circles). I just want to make sure I can feed my family if an unexpected emergency occurs- a job loss, a blackout, a natural disaster, or even if food prices double this year.
I’ll be posting a new series detailing what I’m doing to hedge my food dollars, as well as doing a new Food Stamp Challenge. I hope the information will be useful to you, too. Follow along and learn with me as I work towards being more self-sufficient and become a “prepper” while providing real food, on a real budget.
Do you have any burning questions about stocking up on food? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to address them in a post!
Next article in series: What do you eat? Prudently Prepared