I think by now, we’ve all noticed the increase in food prices. I hadn’t realized just how much it affected me until I continually struggled to meet my monthly food budget, and I just didn’t feel like I was buying any “extras,” things that the budget normally had at least a little room for.
I thought about the effect this would have on the restaurant industry, especially following the discussions of rice hoarding. I figured it would mean an increase in prices when dining out. I can’t say that’s unexpected or unfair – these places need to stay in business.
I have to admit though, I hadn’t thought about how it would affect school lunch programs. Both public and private schools have lunch programs subsidized by the government, but until I read this article, I didn’t think about the fact that while the subsidy wouldn’t change, the schools would be paying more for food. When you’re feeding that many people, you really start to feel the pinch. Creating school lunches that meet federal nutrition standards and still stay within a very tight budget has to be a challenge. And it doesn’t seem like it’s a challenge that will ease up anytime soon.
If food prices continue to rise, should the government increase the subsidy amounts to the schools to keep them in the red? Should prices for school lunches be passed onto the students, as they would be in a restaurant? Maybe a combination of the two? But what about the kids who are part of a free lunch (and oftentimes, free breakfast) program? Unfortunately, if asked to pay, a lot of those kids would just end up going without. Clearly, that isn’t a solution.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.