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Erin Huffstetler

Drought-Proof Your Grocery Budget

By July 23, 2012

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You can't watch the news right now without hearing about the drought, and there's good reason for that. Check out these statistics from the USDA and the United States Drought Monitor:

  • 55% of the continental U.S. is now under drought conditions
  • 1,297 counties have been declared national disaster areas
  • 88% of the corn crop is located in areas impacted by the drought
  • 87% of the soybean crop is located in areas impacted by the drought
  • There hasn't been a worse drought in the U.S. since the 1950's

All of that adds up to bad news for farmers and consumers. Analysts say to expect higher prices at the grocery store in the coming months, and the list of impacted foods is staggering. Basics like flour and dried pasta will go up because of the failing wheat crop. Cheese, butter and milk will go up because of a decline in milk production. Meat prices will go up because of increasing feed costs, and fruit and vegetable prices will go up because of smaller than normal harvests (caused by both the drought and the extreme heat). In short, it seems there aren't many foods that won't be impacted.

So, what can you do to keep all of these increases from taking a big bite out of your grocery budget? Start stockpiling now. While dairy and meat prices will start climbing within the next couple months, many of the other increases won't reach stores until next year (when we start relying on the 2012 harvest). That gives you plenty of time to stock up on food at this year's prices. Here are some places to start:

  • Load up on fresh produce when you find a good deal. Then, freeze or can the extra to enjoy later
  • Stock up on cheese and butter when it goes on sale. It freezes beautifully
  • Meat prices are experiencing a temporary dip. Fill your freezer before the prices start to go up
  • Build up your supply of flour. Wheat flour can be frozen to extend its shelf life
  • Stock up on canned and frozen fruits and veggies. The canned and frozen foods that are in stores now came from the 2011 harvest, so they're still cheap
  • Combine sales and coupons to build a reserve of cereal, oatmeal, dried pasta and other non-perishables

For a complete list of foods that you should consider stockpiling now, check out:

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Comments
July 25, 2012 at 3:55 am
(1) Sunnie2Day says:

I get a lot from all of the newsletters but this one on stocking up to get through a drought is one of the best yet! I will definitely be sharing this with friends, thank-you for all of your hard work:)

July 25, 2012 at 5:20 am
(2) Jackie says:

I always enjoy the useful and vital info you share. Thank you.

July 25, 2012 at 9:28 am
(3) Frances says:

Excellent article. I plan to share it on my blog, giving you credit of course. Thanks for the helpful and timely information,.

July 25, 2012 at 10:11 am
(4) Nancy says:

Something not mention is pet food. Much of it is made with meat by products and corn by products, so if you have pets, I’d suggest to stock up on dog and cat food.

July 25, 2012 at 10:28 am
(5) FrugalLivingGuide says:

Excellent point about the pet food, Frances. I’ll add it to the stockpile list.

July 25, 2012 at 10:38 am
(6) tealady3 says:

Very good article,I too have been stock piling for a while now,knowing that prices keep climbing every week at the grocery stores.

I have talked to other people about this and the common concern is space,I live in a mobile home and I tell my friends if I can find the space they should also be able to find space.

A few years ago my husband lost his job of 30 years due to jobs being shipped to China.Boy were we happy that I had stockpiled.

July 25, 2012 at 9:30 pm
(7) Behrooz says:

Folks thinking of investing scarce money in food stocks to be frozen should consider the risk that their electricity might be out for more than a few days, in which case they could loose the whole investment as the food spoils. We just had 7 days outage and lost the food in our freezers, and we live in a neighborhood where that was not expected. A back-up generator should be considered if the investment in the freezer’s food is substantial.
Behrooz

July 25, 2012 at 10:22 pm
(8) Tammie says:

Wonderful list, sending to friends here in Canada, we are having silimar issues this side of the border.

For those people who have Celiac (like me) – time to also stock up on the GF flour mixes as they often include corn products.

Vitamins and medications also sometimes include grain, fruit and veggies fillers, so need to watch those too.

Fuel prices will increase as well as – here in Canada, it includes 10% ethanol from corn.

What is the situation with oats, I assume that that corp has been impacted as well??

China has been hit hard with severe flooding, so I imagine that prices for rice will increase as well.

I think that prices will increase for veggie/corn oils and margarine.

Hope this helps everyone too!!

August 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm
(9) Diana at Eat What You Store says:

What a great article! Since my husband lost his job a few years ago, we have been building a food storage or stockpile. We decided we never wanted to be in a situation where we needed to rely on our parents again.
We are trying to become more self-reliant in our home. We love making homemade wheat bread, canning foods from our garden, and storing food that will last. I love hearing when others are doing the same. Thanks for sharing!
~Diana from EatWhatYouStore.com

August 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm
(10) Tea Foodie [by Zanitea] says:

These are really great tips. I have recently discovered canning, more for the fun of it, but now it seems a great skill to develop for the practicality of it. I’ll be canning like a madwoman the next couple of months to take advantage of the bountiful farmer’s market harvests.

September 8, 2012 at 11:51 am
(11) Nan says:

Grocery Store Gift Cards – At least once or twice a month I squeeze out of the grocery budget enough to buy a $10 or $20 gift card to my grocery store, which can be used for gas or groceries. I like having them on hand for when I need an unexpected gift (everyone seems to like to receive them) or we are invited to a party where I need to bring some food or drinks. I then don’t feel like it is breaking my budget. Sometimes I have saved enough of them to pay for a half a week’s groceries. Now I am going to really stock up on them to help with increased food prices next year, since they do not expire. When I really have unexpected cash, I buy gift cards for other stores and restaurants for Christmas, even if it’s March.

September 28, 2012 at 7:04 am
(12) premiership says:

exсellent blog I am a massivе Arsenal ѕuppοrtеr from
Austria

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