How much is your weekly grocery bill?
Last week, the Oregonian's FOODday featured four families that put their family food budgets on a diet, ranging from $100 to $300 a week.
Why are we paying so much more at the store? Blame rising energy costs that make it more expensive to transport food and run a farm; spiking corn prices that inflate the cost of feeding animals we use for meat, eggs and dairy; and a run-up in what food manufacturers pay for wheat, soy and corn sweeteners, the main ingredients in bread, cereals and most processed foods on your grocers' shelves.
One family slashed their eating-out budget and planned their darndest to keep within their budget and scheduled meals. Another family stopped frequenting all their favorite speciality food shops, opting - instead - to one-stop shop, saving on time and gas and impulse purchases. The third family, raising two teenage sons, became masters at finding steals and deals, scoring enough milk for the boys' gallon-a-day needs and cheese or fruit for their constant appetite. And the last family tightened their belts even tighter and focused on from-scratch cooking.
These days, we're talking about tightening belts, but we're also talking about lower-sugar, less processed cereal, peanut butter, and bread. How do we balance the food budget with all these factors in play? What is your family's weekly food budget? What are tips and tricks to keep you within budget?