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Food prices increased by 10.4% from a year ago. How to reduce food costs

A person shopping in the freezer aisle with a cart full of groceries.
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Image source: Getty Images

There are steps you can take to spend less.


Main points

  • Food is a major expense that is difficult to cut.
  • Buying in bulk, planning meals, and taking inventory of current supplies can all help you save on food costs.

Many customers tried to pay their bills in 2022. We can thank inflation for that. But while it’s possible to cut back in certain areas when the cost of living starts to rise, there are some categories of spending that are more difficult to cut.

Food expenses are one of them. We all have to eat. Your household may have certain dietary needs that require you to spend extra money on certain products.

But if grocery spending is blowing your budget and causing you to rack up credit card debt, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2022, the cost of food increased by 10.4% on an annual basis. And it’s a big leap.

Still is Steps you can take to save money on your grocery bill this year. Here are some that you can try to work into your daily life.

1. Buy in bulk when it makes sense

If you have certain products that your household uses regularly, buying them in bulk can help you save money. But to be clear, you don’t want to buy in bulk when you’re trying out a product for the first time or buying something with a very limited shelf life.

Let’s say your family regularly passes on certain cereals. This is a very safe type of product that you can buy in bulk because it’s an established staple in your household and has a very good shelf life (although it would be nice if cereal makers teamed up with Ziplock to make open-top boxes that last longer). Thus, buying in bulk can be a good source of low-risk savings.

Best of all, you don’t have to be a member of a warehouse club like you are Costco to take advantage of bulk special offers. Take a look at your typical supermarket and you’ll find plenty of items.

2. Plan your meals in advance

The simple act of meal planning can help you spend less money at the grocery store. Instead of cooking it, take the time to think about the meals for the week ahead and figure out what ingredients you need to buy.

But don’t make these decisions for savings and efficiency alone—even if you’re the cook at home. For example, it doesn’t make sense to make a big pot of vegetable stew if your picky kids won’t accept it and instead ask for chunks of chicken.

3. Always take stock before you shop

Buying two heads of salad when two are sitting in the back of the fridge is a good way to end up throwing money away. Before buying groceries, especially perishables, take a few minutes to take stock. This will save you from spending money on things you don’t immediately need.

Food prices may increase slightly. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to spend less without skimping on the things you love to feed your family.

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