Filling up your grocery basket is becoming increasingly pricey. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices increased by about 9 percent in March compared to the same month the previous year, marking the highest yearly increase in food inflation in 40 years.
What is the definition of food inflation? Simply expressed, it refers to an increase in the price of food products on the market. Experts think that food inflation will continue to rise in the years ahead, despite problems such as supply chain issues, growing consumer demand, harsh weather and labor shortages, which they believe will persist.
The food pricing situation has deteriorated to the point where, according to Trey Malone, an assistant professor of agriculture at Michigan State University, “anything you can conceive that something might go wrong in the previous two years, it has gone wrong.” In addition, “the food system is extremely dynamic, and it is responding to a wide range of concerns.”
You might also like to read: How to determine if your investments are too risky
These issues contribute to inflation, which in turn raises the price of food. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices increased in every food category in March. The category “other food at home,” which includes frozen prepared foods, baby food, snacks, spices, and butter, saw the greatest increase, with a 2 percent increase. Fruits and vegetables experienced a 1.5 percent increase in March, following a 2.3 percent increase in February, and cereals and bread items saw a 1.5 percent increase in March, following a 2.3 percent increase in February.
Even as prices rise, however, it is still possible to save money at the grocery store even as costs rise. Take advantage of the following suggestions to stretch your grocery budget a little farther and save money on food:
- Ensure that you keep to your budget by creating one.
- Make a strategic plan for your meals.
- Reduce food waste.
- Replace name brands with store brands.
- Earn money back by purchasing this item.
- Fill your freezer to capacity.
- You should grow your own food.
- Shop in a location other than the supermarket.
- Pay close attention to the pricing.
Ensure that you keep to your budget by creating one
You can fight inflation by keeping a realistic budget. As a result, you can keep an eye on your spending and make sure you’re only purchasing things you really need.
Then, at the beginning of each month, allocate your funds based on your grocery spending during the previous three to six months. Until the end of the month, stick to your budget.
Make a strategic meal plan
Using things on sale at the supermarket, as well as apps such as Flipp to uncover the greatest local prices, plan your family’s weekly meals based on what you currently have in your pantry.
Always go into the shop with a plan. Consider what you’re going to cook that week and make a list. It helps to reduce the number of impulse purchases.
You might also like to read: Squid Game: Learn personal finance lessons from the TV series
Reduce food waste
Throwing food away costs money. The following are some tips for reducing food waste in the kitchen:
- Make wise choices when you’re out shopping. Don’t stock up on more perishable food than you’ll use.
- Store food in an organized manner. Reorganize your pantry by placing older items in the front and fresh ones at the back.
- Preserve your resources by becoming knowledgeable in this area. Pickling, canning, and drying food can extend the shelf life of the product.
- Opt for less-than-appetizing produce. Even if they’re ugly, they’re just as good for you.
- Prevent messes in the fridge.
- Clear containers can be used to store leftovers from large meals.
- Portion control might help you save money on food waste.
- Compost or eat the peels of fruit.
Make the switch to store brands
Although private-label items have a negative reputation, supermarkets have made significant investments in their store brands over the past decade. In a survey conducted by brand consultant Damon, 86 percent of consumers who purchase private-label products stated that the quality is on par with or higher than that of branded items.
Earn Cash Back by Shopping Online
Look for a credit card that gives you cash back on your grocery shopping expenses. Using a cash-back app such as Ibotta or Coupons.com, you may get even more cash back on your grocery purchases. After you’ve completed your purchase, you can take a picture of your receipt and upload it to the app to qualify for the incentives.
Although the cash back is only 25 cents here and 50 cents there, if you’re making purchases and utilizing them on a daily basis, the money will pile up quickly. As long as you are only purchasing items that you were planning on purchasing anyhow, you should be fine.
Fill Your Freezer With Ice
Meals that are frozen are often less expensive than foods that are fresh. And if you buy fruits and vegetables, the food may actually be better for you because it is frozen at the peak of freshness before being packaged.
You should grow your own food
Investing time and effort into cultivating your own fruits, herbs, and veggies can result in significant savings, especially if they account for a significant portion of your budget. Begin by collecting seeds from the produce that you purchase.
Purchases Made Outside of the Supermarket
Dollar stores and warehouse clubs both provide significant discounts on a variety of food items. Just make sure you do the math on the cost per unit to be sure you’re really getting a bargain.
Pay Close Attention to the Prices
Make it a practice to carefully examine the prices of food as you purchase it, both when you are purchasing individual products and when you are paying at the register.
In terms of behavior, Malone believes that simply paying attention to how much money you spend on food will result in you spending less money on food.