Why are my groceries costing so much?

I don’t know about you, but I hate grocery shopping. It’s quite literally the biggest waste of time. And before you start yelling at me, I know I can order my groceries online and have them delivered to my door. But that opens up a mess of problems that sometimes make grocery shopping even more frustrating. For example, have you ever ordered groceries only for the person picking them up to steal them from you? Happened to me twice in the same order. And then there is the delivery fee and tip you have to think about, and with the price of groceries right now, those fees hurt a little more than usual. So why are my groceries costing so much? 

WARING! INCOMING GEN Z WHINING

I went grocery shopping the other week for just the essentials. I got bread, eggs, frozen fruit, and a few other things. In total, it was a single paper bag of groceries which shouldn’t have cost me an arm and a leg. Honestly, I would rather give up a leg, but apparently, Safeway doesn’t accept that as payment. This bag of groceries last year would have cost me maybe $40 and is not costing me $65-75. And I’m buying cheap non-name brand stuff, looking for deals and coupons wherever I can. The biggest challenge is my lack of a car, so I walk or ride my bike to the closest grocery store. Otherwise, I would be buying groceries at surplus grocery stores. I’m glad I don’t have to fill up my gas tank and buy a dozen eggs in this economy. (My therapist says I need to actively perceive things more “half glass full.” So I guess no gas is my silver lining.)    

Cost of Groceries

Environmental

I’m not one to talk about global warming all the time, but let’s be real for a second. The weather and everything around them have drastically changed over the last few years. Think back to the 100-plus-degree weather last summer here in Portland. Of course, that’s not the norm for the Pacific Northwest, and now this year, summer seems to feel more like fall than anything, but I digress. 

Environmental problems are a huge factor in the cost of produce right now. Between the United States, Canada, and Brazil, all experiencing droughts, wheat, and coffee have taken a major hit. The war Ukraine is currently fighting against Russia has also affected wheat production. 

Truck Drivers

There is a truck driver shortage going on right now. With fewer truck drivers, deliveries are often late. USA TODAY published a piece going into more depth about why employers can’t seem to find or hire truck drivers. (For those who want to read the article, here’s the link.) But a basic breakdown is pretty simple. Truck drivers are often overworked and exploited by their employers. They work unpaid hours, don’t have access to employee benefits like health insurance, and are usually expected to foot the bill for any vehicle repairs and maintenance. So there aren’t enough truck drivers because they want more respect from their employers. And while it might hurt my wallet now, good for them. Get your bag. 

Inflation

All of these problems lead me to inflation. Inflation is a pain. We often hear about it, but do we know what it is? The cost of housing is up, and college, gas, and food are all astronomical. But those are topics for another day; right now, we are talking about food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the cost of food-at-home (grocery store purchases) is 11.9 higher than in May of this year. Nearly 12%, while most people have not received a raise matching that increase. I’m not trying to freak anyone out, but the cost of groceries is still predicted to go up, so do yourself a favor and look at your budgets again. Reevaluate your spending. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best, and hopefully, we can see a decrease sometime in the future. 

Shoutout to Costco’s $1.50 hotdog combo, Arizona Tea, and Top Ramen; you’re real ones. You are seen, appreciated, and I can’t thank you enough for being cheap and affordable.      

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