I ran across this article from the NYT (Economix) today that shows a chart of food prices showing that yes, bad for you food is cheaper than healthier food. Seeing the chart in full confirmed completely the trend I'd been noticing in the grocery store. This was something that my husband really took home when he recently did some grocery shopping for me because I was sick. He complained about how the price of turkey bacon, for example, was twice the cost it was when we moved to Virginia 7 years ago. He noted the small, child-like cereal boxes. "Everything costs a lot more," he said.
Well, not everything. Cookies have remained static.
A discussion ensued and I told him that most coupons are good on what I consider junk food. You don't get coupons off meat very often... nor milk... but instead, they're off those sugary and salty snacks. Most coupons we do end up clipping are for things like paper products and personal HBA items like deodorant, soap, etc. If you refuse to buy a bunch of junk food, you are going to pay more. A lot more.
So what's a girl to do? One easy way to save a few bucks is to know your store's meat markdown schedule. Keep a few recipes in mind for a dinner to use the meat you buy that day and freeze the rest. I stop in at Walmart by around 10 AM to get the best picks of meat they mark down that day. Usually, they take a $2-3 off larger packs of meat to get it gone. I use my food saver and note the original use by date on the package so I know when I defrost it if I freeze it that I need to use it as soon as it's defrosted.
Fruits and Veggies are the two things that have risen most in cost. I keep an eye out for canned vegetable/fruit coupons and stock up when I can or catch them on sale.
You can plant your own garden if space allows. I have fond memories of helping my grandparents weed their garden because Gram would always send us home with a huge brown paper bag of corn, radishes, green beans, and cucumbers. If you don't have a large enough property to have a garden, ask around as it's becoming more trendy to buy shares into farm programs that offer seasonal fruits and vegetables weekly. A local farm here offers a 20-week membership for $600, plus they have two additional pick ups for late fall vegetables such as pumpkins. A friend may welcome help with their garden in exchange for sharing some of it's bounty.