Food budget question

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Out of curiosity, for those of you who track budgets….how much do you budget per month for groceries? For how many people?

Note: by ‘groceries’ I am including things you would buy in a supermarket environ that may not necessarily be food….things like toilet paper, aluminum foil, band aids, dishwasher detergent,etc….stuff you normally buy in a supermarket.

How much per month in your family of how many people?

Reason i ask, wife and I budget $400/month to feed the two of us and I was wondering how that stacks up elsewhere. (And yes, if there’s some room left at the end of the month, that grocery budget includes food storage.)

Article – Greek citizens: ‘Family is all that is holding us together. But it can’t

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

,Rawles linked to this article about Greece. Pay close attention to this paragraph:

Greece’s health insurance system relied on pharmacists like her buying full-price medicines on credit and distributing them at heavy discounts before claiming the difference from the state. As the state-run insurance schemes have gone bust, that money has stopped. She has not been paid since September last year. The 31-year-old kept faith with the old system until the money owed her topped €50,000 (£40,350). That debt is about average and the reason 1,500 pharmacies have closed since 2009.

The day before, a patient had come in needing Seroquel, a medicine for schizophrenics. They could not afford the €42 fee for the fortnightly treatment and had to be turned away. “I feel very bad, but if I get into debt with suppliers, I’ll go to jail,” she says.

So pharmacist buys [drug] for $50. Sells [drug] to patients for $20. Government gets the bill for the difference of $30 (plus, presumably, some profit for the pharmacist.) When government has no money, pharmacist is on the hook for the $30. Choice is then to either sell the drug to the patient at the price the government was being charged ($50 + profit) or stop buying drugs when patients can’t pay for them. This is a perfect example of what I meant a few posts back about why austerity measures are hated by these countries populace. Faced with the ‘real’ cost of their medication, Greeks cannot afford them. Without the government subsidizing the cost of the drugs, the pharmacist won’t buy them because they’re not going to buy what they cannot sell. The result, very predictably, is that there are now drug shortages looming.

Any business or industry, in Greece or anywhere else, that relies on ‘easy’ government money to make things function is skating on thin ice these days. As things progress I think we’re going to see more situations like this in more countries where government has artificially been keeping prices low through subsidies and can no longer afford to do so…pissing off the population who, having come to rely on those products and services at low prices, will be outraged at having to pay ‘their fair share’. Political fallout, naturally, will be severe.

I suppose it might be a good idea to analyze and examine our own systems and see where such weaknesses are so we can have workarounds ready for when/if this sort of belt-tightening comes a-knocking at our national door.

Article – Starving Greeks queue for food in their thousands

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

A bit sensationalist but, hey, I’ll run with it…….

Starving Greeks queued around the block for free food handouts yesterday as the country’s politicians managed to end a crippling stalemate to form a coalition government.

Young children as well as the elderly waited in line in Athens to collect the parcels of fruit and vegetables donated by farmers from Crete to help ease the devastating austerity faced by many Greeks.

But as hungry people collected food, a few miles away a new conservative-led alliance was formed, vowing to renegotiate the country’s strict European bailout in a bid to breath economic life back into the debt-stricken country.

…..

The measures have left the country struggling through a fifth year of recession, with unemployment spiraling to above 22 percent and tens of thousands of businesses shutting down.

The face of the crippling poverty gripping the country was plane to see as hundreds of poverty-stricken Greeks queued in a central Athens park for free vegetables.

….

Among the people lining up was Panayiota Sidera, 31, from Athens. She said she has been unemployed for two-and-a-half years and her husband is also out of a job. The couple is living on a (euro) 250 monthly disability pension and rent from an apartment they own, and has a (euro) 540-a-month loan installment to pay.

‘That’s my predicament,’ she said, adding that the food handout ‘is helping people, and I’m grateful.’
‘The government should have been doing this years ago,’ she said.

Prolonged recession, lengthy unemployment as the bills pile up. And thats…Greece? Sounds like the same conditions as here. An excellent case for eliminating as much personal debt as possible, trimming some fat, making the most of every dollar you have, and stockpile food to the rafters.

Speaking of austerity measures……..

Something to keep in mind…when we read about ‘austerity measures’ you should keep in mind that among those measures are things like reducing or eliminating government subsidies. Some countries keep the prices of certain goods….fuel, bread, grain, cooking oil, etc…artificially low. When those subsides stop and the natural market prices come into play, that loaf of bread that cost pennies is now out of the reach of many poor people. The natural consequence of this is dissatisfaction at its best and revolution at its worst. This is why those subsidies were there to begin with – to keep the poor fed and relatively content so they wouldn’t get their Castro on. This is why countries with…unstable…populations resist these conditions that are imposed by the folks willing to bail them out.

Don’t think this country doesn’t do the same thing…we just dress it up as SNAP, Section 8, SSDI, and a handful of other programs that give resources to people who can’t make it on their own. I’m not saying whether those programs are good or bad, I’m just saying that when government, local or federal. has to stop sending money to those people they’re gonna get pretty angry and they’re going to take it out on someone.