Mudflinger, you make very good points about the driving. I could get over my commitment issues, buy a big freezer, and stock up every three or four months. That would make a very small impact on the cost of the whole thing. And I'd be supporting smaller farmers which is dear to my heart.
For low income I look at it in two ways. Temporarily low income (for eg., a student), and chronically low income (for eg. someone permanently disabled). What these two groups have in common is that they're kind of stuck. The expenditure for a large freezer (though you can sometimes find one on the cheap on craigslist) is one that may be tough either financially, or because you can't fit it in a dorm room/very small apt. Like the old song about "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer." IOW, if one has the wherewithal, one can save by buying bulk. But if one is stuck, s/he can only buy what fits in the freezer of a probably contractor grade refrigerator. And if that person doesn't have a car, then that person is further limited by what s/he can fit into one of those little collapsible four wheel carts that can be dragged onto a bus.
So, this is kind of evolving for me also. While at first it was just dollars, it's now beginning to encompass circumstance. (Hey, maybe I'll take advantage of free tuition over 55 and go get an MSW).
"Now I'm just another anonymous shut-in with an online shopping addiction." - Georgina Sparks.
"I puked like a hero for the rest of the night." - Anthony Bourdain, 2002.
"Brain: an apparatus with which we think that we think." - Ambrose Bierce
We are eagerly awaiting getting a chest freezer... I can get local, grass-fed, humanely raised and no-stress killed beef (I know the farmer/rancher, and he really does raise his beef nicely) for probably a third less than what I've been paying for it in smaller packages, and have a whole bunch of "other" stuff that I want: bones, organs, tallow.
We seem to have reached the point now where we are truly buying and eating less. It's taken awhile, and some adjustments. Adding some saturated fat to a meal seems to be a less costly/highly nutritious way to extend the main dish... might be the genesis of things like rich gravies, cream sauces, and buttered veggies.
More factors in to the cost of food than just the list or sale price. Smart shopping, planning, less waste, cutting costs in other areas, regiona pricing, timing the sales, buying in season and stockpiling the deals...all will impact what you pay for food.
And its not just low income people who don't know how to figure this out. People with money can be just as ignorant. I've done everything from keeping a price book to living on a cash budget to 'extreme couponing' and I could tell you precisely how much I spent on food in a month, including the money put away each month to pay for that hunting trip and game meat. I've asked others in my income bracket with same sized families what they spend on groceries in a month and some have no idea, or spend 2x or 3x what I spend and never have anything to eat in the house.
Another way to reduce costs is to reduce waste. Certain cuts of meat can produce better leftovers. Some days I'm just not quite so hungry so that's the day I'll choose to cook a whole chicken. I'll just eat the wings and save the legs/thighs for another meal and the breasts for when we make tacos. And then there are the bones for soup. I've been known to save all the meat from the odd bits I buy to make broth (pig tails, beef joints) and have that meat for a meal.
Female, 5'3", 48, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135.
Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 145 x 4.
We don't have much waste now.
We don't have to spend less on food, id just like to, without compromising on the quality we buy. I guess I just need to be concious of what I am buying each shopping trip. Occasionally ill buy something between shopping days, as we have run out of apples say, but there is other fruits, so I don't need to do that.
JoanieL, thanks for doing this. Now that my family eats out much less and has given up pre-prepared meals, our cash flow permits us to buy what we like. But I often think about families who might like to eat better and can't figure out how. Or even if a primal diet is sustainable in the 1st world.
CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
GW- Goals are no longer weight-related