How will the drought affect your food budget?

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Corn growing barely up to your waist when it should be head high is a terrible sight to farmers but that is what many of them are seein as a result of the worst drought in half a century to hit most of the United States. Lee County has been declared a disaster area by the Department of Agriculture.

The good news is that the Lee County farmers are now eligible for very low interest emergency loans; the bad news is that they will probably be forced to borrow since many of their crops are dying in the fields.

But what exactly does the drought do to you, other than make you uncomfortable in the oppressive heat? The answer is a swift “It plays havoc with the food budget and will have a direct adverse effect on it.”

This situation brings to mind words we have learned to live by in this section of football country: The best defense is a good offense or vice versa.

The best approach is to try to prepare now for the higher costs that are certain to come.

Buying from the local farmer markets, both in Opelika and Auburn will help the food budget. Farmers who bring their produce and other products to the farmer’s markets make food available at prices less than those of the big supermarkets plus you will have the satisfaction of helping others in your own community and the money stays in our community, a win-win situation.

During the recent recession, many shoppers changed their usual shopping routine. The dollar stores acquired many shoppers who never before had shopped there. Wal-Mart lost many customers who discovered that Dollar General and Family Dollar offered cheaper prices than WalMart in many instances.

Shoppers new to Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree were surprised at the selection available there, all at low prices. The dollar store of today is not your grandmother’s dollar store. Most stores are very modern and offer tremendous bargains both in name brands and store brands.

Additional savings are available when store brands are purchased. Dollar General has the Clover Valley and Dollar General store brand and Family Dollar has its own brands.

There was a time when very few name brand items were featured in dollar sores. That is not now the case; most name brands are available and at discount prices.

The surprise of the dollar stores is that now more affluent shoppers frequent them. The recent (or present, according to how you look at it) recession has taught many a shopper to be more careful with his money and now that the same merchandise is available at a much lower cost, shoppers gravitate to dollar stores.

Most dollar stores accept manufacturer’s coupons which can add up to even more savings. While this column is about food, do not overlook the possible savings on other items on your shopping list such as cleaning supplies and paper goods including toilet tissue.

Some dollar stores now carry milk, eggs, and cheese but check the prices. The Meat Lab at Auburn University sells their eggs by the flat and the price is usually much less than any store. Here again, you can buy locally and save money and the transportation energy.

If you have not been to a dollar store, this would certainly be the time to begin. Food prices are on the rise and will continue to rise with the drought making everything even worse.

If you can approach this latest set-back with the right attitude, you will find it much easier to survive. Face it, Mother Nature isn’t going to be very kind to us and we are going to have to pay dearly because, as a local burger shop advertises: “You gotta eat.”

 

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net 

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