10 Smart Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill When Inflation Raises Prices

We are all feeling the effects of inflation right now and it is definitely noticeable in the supermarket. Groceries prices are up about 12% from last year and certain categories have increased even more.

We are seeing significantly higher prices for staple foods such as eggs, beef and milk. Those dollars add up, even for the smartest shopper. A 12% price increase means that if your grocery budget was normally $500, it’s now stretched to $560.

However, there are ways to spend less on groceries and still have nutritious meals on the table. Try some of these tips to cut costs at the grocery store when inflation is driving prices up.

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This is difficult to quantify, but planning will help you save money for many reasons. By making a shopping list, you prevent impulse purchases that add up.

You are more likely to use what you buy and what you already have on hand, which helps save more costs. Researchers estimates that, on average, households throw away about 30% of the food they buy.

If you have a dinner plan (plus a few lunches and breakfasts) for the week, you can also cook more at home and skip takeout or other more expensive options on busy days.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, but writing down a few recipes and then shopping for those ingredients is a great strategy to help you save money at the store.

As a dietitian, I always advocate that people eat more fruits and vegetables. Those foods may seem expensive, but there are ways to stretch your dollar and still get enough of the nutrition the produce provides.

Opting for frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables is a great way to save money while still getting vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants in your diet. Look for options with fewer added sugars and salt.

Consider swapping a more expensive vegetable or fruit for something cheaper. Turn cabbage into a slaw, instead of a mixed green salad for storage. Use onions instead of shallots in a soup recipe, or try frozen berries instead of fresh in a smoothie.

Also, make sure you actually eat what you buy. That’s another reason why frozen and canned products are great staples, but use your delicate products first so you don’t end up wasting money.

You can also try freezing produce or adding something that is about to spoil to soups, fried rice, or eggs.

Some of us are already adept at using coupons and browsing the weekly sales flyers. But if you’re not doing that right now, it’s not too late to get started. Most supermarkets offer discounts throughout the store. Combine those with coupons and you can save quite a bit.

If you’re shopping online — with a grocery delivery or pick-up service — try adding virtual coupons to your order or filtering products by what’s on offer. If there’s a grocery store you go to often, make sure you’re signed up for their reward points.

My favorite strategy is to look at what’s on offer first and then add some of those foods to my meal plan for the week. This way I don’t add a lot of extra food just because they are on sale. I also check for coupons for food I usually buy.

If you don’t know what a unit price is, you should. It is located on the shelf next to the price for the item and allows you to better compare sizes and different brands.

Let’s say you eat cornflakes every week. It may make sense to buy the larger box, which will cost more at the time, but will be cheaper per pound than the smaller box. Unit prices show you the cost based on weight, and smaller sizes cost more.

Scanning unit prices can also help you compare different brands that offer their food products in packages of different sizes and find the one that best suits your budget.

Protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry and seafood are among the more expensive foods on our plate. There are ways to see some smart savings here without giving up meat (if you don’t want to!).

It’s true that many plant-based proteins, such as beans and tofu, are cheaper than meat. Trying one or two meatless meals can save you some money.

Choosing cheaper cuts of meat also helps. Choosing ground beef, round steaks, or chicken thighs (vs. breasts) are ways to cut costs. Talk to your butcher or compare prices to save.

Since protein is expensive, if you have the freezer space, it can make sense to stock up when it’s on sale. Then just freeze and thaw when you’re ready to cook.

You can also stretch your meat by mixing it with vegetables and grains in meals such as stir-fries, burgers or stews.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing with protein, but little things can help you save money in the long run.

Growing up during the Great Depression, my grandmother almost never threw away food. I once tried to throw away yogurt that I thought had expired, and she quickly corrected me and put it back in the fridge.

Sometimes food grows mold or goes rancid – then please don’t eat it! But the dates you see on food packages often represent quality standards, not safety.

Unlike infant formulas, which do have a safety date, foods are listed with “best if used by,” “sale,” “use by,” or “freezes” indicating freshness and quality, according to the USDA.

Check those dates, both at the store and at your home, to make sure what you’re buying is fresh and using up older products first.

Paying attention to dates can help you save money as you eat food when it’s freshest. You don’t have to think of those dates as hard-and-fast rules for throwing away food, though.

Sometimes when it seems like there is nothing to eat in the house, there is. By turning to what you have before making a list and going shopping, you can save money by using what you have.

It might take a little more effort — maybe you’re not quite sure what to make with that box of pasta, or you’ve left a bag of broccoli languishing in your freezer — but using these building blocks to tackle one meal can help cut costs. .

Taking inventory also allows you to use up food before it goes bad.

Buying more of everything isn’t the smartest choice — and means spending a lot of money up front on groceries. Major chain stores, such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s, offer great deals on groceries.

They can be especially useful for large families who need to stock up on a lot of food. Even if you’re not cooking for a crowd, it can make sense to buy certain staple foods in bulk because of the significant cost savings.

If you don’t have a department store membership or have a lot of space to store extra food at home, buying larger sizes (check those unit prices!) at your regular store can help you save.

Many of us are loyal to our grocery store, but replacing it can save you money on your grocery bill. Depending on the sale, you may want to mix up where you shop.

In addition, some supermarkets only have certain foods for less and not just large chain stores. Stores like ALDI and Trader Joe’s have developed a loyal following for offering great prices on their items. Even dollar stores have some grocery items for great prices.

Not everyone has the ability to shop at different stores — because of where they live and how easy it is to access food — but if you can mix where you shop, you may be able to save some money.

It’s true that we often pay a premium for convenience – think pre-cut products or sauces that are already made and ready to use.

Sometimes, though, those convenience items pay off, and it means eating a home-cooked meal instead of getting takeout again or wasting items in your fridge.

We all need a little help getting dinner on the table, so choose your convenience wisely and make sure you get what you pay for.

Sometimes the cost of chopped vegetables or a sauce from a jar is not that much more expensive. Take into account the prices to see what the premium is and also know that you can find convenience without paying more by buying items such as frozen vegetables.

You may need some help from the store, but make sure you choose that convenience wisely and use it to your advantage to save money in the long run by cooking more at home.