A recent article on Slate titled "The Agony of the Food Snob" was an interesting read, and raises some questions.
The article talks about how the weakening dollar combined with rising transportation and energy costs is driving food prices up everywhere, and this includes gourmet and specialty foods. Maybe last year you were okay paying $34 per pound for Fourme au Sauternes cheese; perhaps today it's difficult for you to justify these costs. Are there any foods or beverages that you insisted on having in the past that are simply not a viable option for you now? Which items will you simply not give up, no matter what? The author of the article refuses to give up cans of Callipo tuna, which cost $8.99 for two cans.
The article also mentions "trading down;" instead of New York Strip, opt for a hanger steak. Or try some of Trader Joe's vodka instead of the organic handcrafted stuff. Maybe American buffala mozzarella instead of Italian. Have you been trading down?
Also, have any of the upscale markets in your area been offering coupons? Whole Foods has long offered coupons, but I've been seeing more coupons lately for them, particularly the $5 off $25 coupon they're offering this week. The Slate article mentions that Balducci's started offering $5-off coupons in the local papers recently.
(Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty for Slate)