I know it isn't just me because this has been a recent topic of conversation amongst a lot of my friends. We're all feeling the pinch of the cost of living. I live in California in one of the priciest cities where gas has been well over the $4/gal mark for several months now, where the median house price is in the $1 million dollar range and where half of the people in the office I work at have to commute about 4o miles or so to work since housing is so expensive.
We're all feeling it. Our wallets seem to empty faster and it seems as though it's all spinning out of control. The price of food has gone up and I'm feeling that too. I go to the market, usually Trader Joe's, once a week and I buy food for the week. My average trip costs me $130. Then there's Albertson's the local chain supermarket and I spend another $40 there. Occasionally I'll go to the local farmer's market, where I can easily to drop $60-$80 on some fresh organic produce, eggs and meats.
Certainly there's ways to cut our food costs. I try to eat and feed my family healthy unprocessed foods and I try and buy organic, which is typically more expensive, when I can. Sure, I could buy a bag of frozen corn dogs, 25 of them for $4.99 or Chicken Dinos for The Little Miss by the industrial bag-full but to me, that just doesn't seem like food. It seems like something that represents a food product. That's not to say we don't eat stuff like, because on occasion, we do. Not often but, we do.
I'm trying to watch the budget, spend less and make due with what we have. We don't waste a lot. Sure, there's times where I end up throwing something out, I hate to, but it happens. We trade babysitting with another couple so when we do go out we don't pay for a sitter (which by the way, is about $12-$15 an hour,) I trade magazines with friends so I've cut my subscriptions to a bare minimum but still get to read a variety of them, I've recently started cutting coupons and shopping sales more often. I now plan my errands and try to go to the same part of town for everything in one trip. My friends and I call each other when we're making a Costco run (since it's about 10 miles out of town) and get lists from everyone so we don't all have to make the drive. But my wallet still seems so empty at the end of the week and we're all feeling the pinch.
Luckily we have some money saved so if things spin out of control even more we have a buffer. We both work and have secure, well paying, jobs and there are still luxuries we have we haven't forfeited yet, and hopefully we won't have to. Frankly, I hate to clean the house and if we have to get rid of the housekeepers, who thankfully come twice a month, I'm not sure if the floors will ever get mopped or the bathroom ever cleaned.