Money gurus have been offering advice on dealing with inflation at the grocery store. I feed a family of seven. My grocery bill is my single largest monthly expense.
I haven’t had anything to offer.
Food is a commodity. The only way to save on groceries is to eat less or eat less well.
There’s no magic store to go to, no amount of coupon cutting that will get you there, and no cheat code for food. The food business has thin margins.
However, recently I realized that I do have tools to beat inflation.
In fact, I no longer worry about inflation.
Here are three things to consider the next time you’re at the grocery store.
Listen to the Audio version of this blog here.
I Can Feed My Family for $70/month (I just don’t want to)
Recently, I attended an interest meeting at Lifeline Christian mission. They showed us how they pack food for people in war-torn countries like Ukraine or poverty-stricken countries like Honduras.
They had us help pack meals so we got a feel for what they do. We packed meals of beans and rice. Each meal serves six people and has enough daily nutrition for a person to subsist. They have a few other recipes, apples and oats, macaroni and cheese, and something with soy.
Each one of these meals costs 65 cents. They can feed a person for $0.11 per meal!
Let’s do some quick math:
30 days in a month
3 meals a day
7 people in my family
630 meals per month (seriously? That is crazy!)
630 meals X $0.11= $69.30
I could feed my family for less than $70 a month.
We would never eat anything new.
But my family would be sustained. We’d have our “daily bread.”
It dawned on me that I don’t have a right to spend $1,000+/ month on groceries. One thousand dollar grocery bills are a privilege.
Granted, Lifeline is buying in bulk. Their costs are lower than mine would be shopping at the grocery.
For the sake of argument let’s double it. No! Let’s triple it.
Let’s say it’s $210 a month to feed my family this way.
The same food we, as Western Christians, serve our brothers and sisters around the world.
If we ate in the same manner we ask our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Honduras to eat. If we ate the same food we pat ourselves on the back for giving away.
I could feed my family for $210/per month. Maximum!
All of a sudden that $1,000 grocery bill feels like a gift.
I rarely eat the same meal in the same week.
I’m not going to food pantries, using SNAP, or on food stamps.
These are all resources available to me.
These are safety nets within my society that I’m not tapping into, but could if the need arose. God has richly provided for me to have the ability to spend four figures each month on groceries.
I don’t have a right to any of this.
I am not smarter than people in Honduras.
I don’t work harder than a migrant worker.
I’m not more righteous than the people in Ukraine.
Just because of my place of birth, it is normal for me to have this kind of variety in my grocery purchase.
Now when I see the cost of a grocery trip, a full refrigerator, or a stocked pantry I can only think, “Praise God.”
God’s Glory Increases Faster Than Prices
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 says this:
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is. There is freedom. And we all. Who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory are being transformed into his image. With ever-increasing glory. Which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Some translations say “from glory to glory”.
The glory that God is bringing into your life by the spirit always increases. It never stops.
The presence of the Lord will always increase.
We can’t measure this mathematically, but if we could, do you think the ever-increasing glory of God can outpace 9% inflation?
Do you think God can move us from glory to glory faster than the price of chicken?
My life is a testimony to this.
If we pay more attention to God’s increasing glory in our life than we do the price of milk, inflation isn’t even a blip on the radar.
It’s difficult to live in fear about the economy while I’m watching God transform my life and my family into his image more and more and more and more…..
At some point, the economy is going to slow.
At some point, inflation is going to taper.
But God’s glory will continue to increase. On earth as it is in heaven. In your life. In His church.
Tell yourself “God’s glory is ever-increasing in my life.” Then try to curse the food prices.
You can’t do it.
He’s increasing in your life, faster than any sort of supply-side economic crisis or a currency war, or panic selling.
God’s ever-increasing glory is the best inflation-adjusted return you’ll ever get.
Recognize the Cost of Lower Prices
It’s easy to lament the prices while shopping for groceries. We’re upset about how the price affects us.
We forget that to get a single avocado onto a grocery shelf there is:
A migrant worker from Guatemala who picked it in Mexico or California.
A trucker who spends the entire workweek away from his family so that he can earn money for them to buy groceries.
A little old lady stocking grocery shelves at night because she can barely make ends meet.
Your neighbor’s teenage son bagging the groceries or picking groceries for online orders. It’s his first job.
Each of these gets paid from the purchase price of that avocado.;
Whose income would you like to go down to save a few bucks on your food bill?
We miss the humanity behind our food.
Actually, the fact that I can get an avocado from a farm in California to a shelf in my hometown for $2.00 is amazing.
You can get a rotisserie chicken from Costco for six or seven bucks. I raise chickens. I can’t raise a meat chicken for that if I do it myself!
It’s unbelievable how cheap groceries are.
Go to an underdeveloped country and see how much food their daily wage buys. In some countries people wake up every day with only one thing on their minds: “How am I going to eat?”
There is nothing special about us.
We don’t work harder. We’re not smarter. We’re not more deserving.
And the tables could turn on us at any moment.
Think about what you’re asking when you want prices to go down. Who’s paycheck do you want it to come from?
God continually provides for us.
He continually increases his glory in our life.
Our lives are woven together in the fabric of humanity. Our decisions affect a wide range of people.
When we focus on the increasing costs, we focus on ourselves. We give into fear. We don’t testify to the superiority of Jesus’ reign.
I can’t beat inflation. I don’t have any good ideas for how to buy cheaper food.
We’re called to be a city on a hill. We’re supposed to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lives within us.
When coworkers and people in the grocery store are fretting about the price of food.
What if the hope of Jesus Christ was shining through us?
Instead of agreeing with fear or partnering with stress, what if we were the light on a lampstand proclaiming the ever-increasing glory of God?
Can we stand in awe of his mercies that are new every day and worry about inflation at the same time?