Even the cost of living very frugally is going up. We discovered that a regular round box of oatmeal at just under 3 lbs. has gone up to $5.50. That works out to about $1.83 a pound. It may be higher in your area or lower, but the price has increased considerably in the last month or so. I did find prices at less on line, about $1.71 a pound but with shipping the cost is more.
Recent estimates state that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food is forecast to increase 5.0 to 6.0 percent in 2008, as retailers continue to pass on higher commodity and energy costs to consumers in the form of higher retail prices. The CPI for food increased 4.0 percent in 2007, the highest annual increase since 1990. Food-at-home prices, led by eggs, dairy, and poultry prices, increased 4.2 percent, while food-away-from-home prices were up 3.6 percent in 2007.
Many of the basic foods store well, like wheat, oats, rice and other grains. Food storage is one way to ameliorate the rate of the price increase. By buying foods when the price is lower, seasonally or based on supply, you can reduce the overall impact of the price increase. Also buying in bulk can dramatically reduce the unit price. For example, bulk food suppliers still have rolled oats for about $1 to $1.25 a pound.
You may respond that you don't need fifty pounds of rolled oats, but maybe you can find two or three or more people who do want them and purchase cooperatively. There are strategies for reducing food costs dramatically.