June 08, 2010

Prices for Groceries

 A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Sunday paper about beef prices going up.  It confirmed what I had already believed.  I have been going to the grocery store and watching the ads waiting for a good sale on 85% lean ground beef.  Up until two weeks ago I had 4 lbs. left in the freezer.  At the beginning of the year I had close to 50 lbs. in the freezer.  I knew my best bet for a good sale would be Memorial Day weekend.  After all on Memorial Day many of us gather around the grill and cook burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and chicken - or at least our husbands do.  So as had happened in years' past, I knew there would be a good sale on ground beef and I would be able stock up.

Well, that's not what happened OR maybe it did.

85% ground beef was on sale for $1.99 lb. only if you bought a 10 lb. package.  Last summer and throughout the year the average price of 85% ground beef was around $1.50 lb.  Remembering the article from the newspaper and realizing that yeah perhaps beef prices had gone up, I went ahead and bought 10 lbs.  I didn't want to commit to buying more than that in case I was wrong and ground beef would be on sale later at a better price.

So, did I get a good deal or not?

I believe I did get a good deal.  Experience has always taught me that Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day were always the time that I could get ground beef at rock bottom prices.

Beef prices have gone up and it does appear that $1.99 was a good price as last week it was on sale for $2.25 lb. and this week's ad shows 85% ground beef on sale for $2.43 lb. I now know that in the next few weeks that if ground beef goes on sale for $1.99 lb., I will then stock up. 

I have a funny way of tracking food prices as to if they going up, down or remaining the same.  I keep track of the prices of everything I buy.  I enter these prices into an excel spreadsheet each week. It is the easiest way for me to track grocery prices.  However it is the tracking of the prices of milk, eggs, white bread, apples, chicken hind quarters, boneless chicken breasts, corn flakes and ground beef that helps me understand how overall food prices are.  These are basic groceries and if I see any of these items going up, I know that everything else will be going up - gasoline, utilities, clothing and so on.  Which also leads me to be concerned that unemployment will increase or at the very least remain the same and not go down. 

So what does this mean to me?  Information is power.  The more information, the better I feel about the choices I make.  Knowing the best price of an item in that current economy gives me the knowledge of when I need to stock up on a certain item.  If food prices are going up, I must compensate in other areas of our budget to balance things out. 

If $1.99 is the best sales price for 85% ground beef for the summer of 2010, then I could have been waiting a long time for $1.50 a lb. which would probably never happen and I would be missing out on getting the best deal for ground beef right now.

If food prices are going up and continue to rise it also means that those of us who "have" must help those that "have not."  If you are able, give to a food pantry and help those out that "have not" at this time.

No comments: