Recently it seems that every time we walk into a grocery store we walk out with less and pay more. It seems that prices are getting totally out of hand. There are some tricks and tips you can use to keep our costs down as we wait for the prices to hopefully come down. That’s what we’ll share with you today, some tips on how to save money while the prices are still rising.
How To Handle Food Inflation
We’ve all have noticed the rise in prices, from fuel costs to high energy prices. You couldn’t ignore it even if you wanted to, but one area that rising costs have affected us most is the cost of products at the grocery store.
The recent increases have caused many people to rethink their household budgets and cut essentials out just to afford the rise in prices and to prevent food insecurity. What worked for us last year may not help our high food costs this year. We need to come up with new ways to save.
But why are the retail prices so high? This is all due to food inflation, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, so we need to come up with a plan to deal with it.
But before you start cutting out anything from your budget, there are plenty of ways to save on food price inflation without slashing your budget to pieces. By getting creative with how we spend our food budget, you can still afford a well-balanced meal even with food price increases.
To help, check out these 19 ways to save on your every day at the grocery store, even with higher prices.
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1. Freeze Your Produce
Anyone buying fresh fruits and vegetables knows the struggle of having your produce go bad before you can eat it. I know I’ve personally thrown out so much that it seemed like the only way to avoid it was to shop weekly, but even then, my produce was still going bad.
What I didn’t know is that you can freeze your groceries. I had never thought of that, but sure enough, it worked. All you have to do is buy your produce and freeze it right away. Any time you want to use it, all you have to do is thaw it then it’s ready to be eaten or cooked. Now you can stock up on all the product sales without anything going bad.
2. Buy Your Meat On Clearance
Most grocery stores have a mark-down section for the meat. This is the meat that you want to buy and want to build your meal off of. You may even have all the sides you need, such as rice, pasta, and potatoes, in your pantry.
To get first pick on the meat markdowns, talk to your butcher and see what days and times the clearance meat is restocked. But be sure to get their early, chances are other people may get the same idea. When picking out your meat, always get more than you need. You can always freeze it for later.
The butcher is also a great resource when it comes to recipes for cuts you aren’t sure of. Just ask them and they will help. I used to buy canned ham and have the butcher shave it for e for lunchmeat, too. That was much cheaper than buying deli meats.
3. Start A Garden
Even if you don’t have a huge yard to work with, growing a garden of any size will save you money. The cost of food products such as fresh produce and herbs has gone up drastically. To combat high fruit, vegetable, and herb prices many are starting their own garden. Even if you decide to only grow herbs on your balcony, you’ll lower your grocery bill significantly.
The best thing about growing your own garden is now you have the option to introduce more fresh produce and herbs to every meal at half the cost. This can be a fun project you do with your kids or a fun hobby alone. Either way, you’ll have a chance to get in touch with nature and your surroundings.
Another plus is you’ll know where it came from and what went into the soil and growing your own food. You can make sure there are no pesticides and such that can harm your family. I have a gardening site you can check out to learn more: DianFarmer.com.
4. Shop In Bulk When There’s A Sale
Keeping track of when items go on sale is always a good idea to cut costs. But to save even more money, look for the lowest-priced thing on sale. For example, if chicken breasts are on sale for 99 cents a pound and thighs are on sale for 65 cents a pound, you want to go for the thighs (darker meat is more moist meat, too).
Cooking 3-4 meals with the same meat but different recipes and freezing them for later saves cooking time on those long days and money because you can use a lot of a cheap cut and make different meals with it.
5. Branch Out Your Cooking
One of the best ways to fight the large increases in food costs is to learn to cook new things. I don’t know about you, but I tend to only buy the same pantry essentials and meats, but by branching out, you can get better deals.
For instance, if you looked at the whole meat department instead of migrating to the same area, chances are you’ll find a discount on a cut of meat you’ve never thought to cook before.
The same goes for dry goods and produce, and if you’re not sure how to make a specific cut, you can ask the butcher about the meat, and for the rest, you can look up a recipe. I’ve discovered many of my new favorite foods this way.
6. Use Leftover Ingredients
Another way you can save money on the cost of everyday goods is to use your leftover ingredients to their fullest. We’ve all made a meal where we didn’t use the whole bag of cheese or an entire pack of meat. Most of the time, these extra ingredients end up going bad.
Food waste is like throwing money in the trash. That’s the last thing we want to do. To avoid this, take all the leftover food and see what you can make. You may even be able to make more than one dish. Chances are you’ll come up with a few ideas.
7. Compare Weekly Ads
Know your stores policies on coupons and price matching and you can save even more and visit fewer stores in the process.
To make it easier to compare, apps like Flipp show you every store in your area’s weekly ads in one place. All you have to do is put in your zip code, and you’re done. The app is entirely free.
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8. Cook More Grains And Legumes
There are tons of dishes where grains are the base of the meal, from curry to spaghetti. The options are endless, especially when you branch out and cook with other grains and legumes. I can’t tell you how many dishes I’ve made with just lentils. But besides endless recipes to make with them, you mainly want to cook with them because they’re so cheap and filling.
Now, if you need to eat less meat to save money, you don’t need to worry about getting enough nutrients. Many legumes are full of protein, and some grains are. To make things better, most 1lb bags of lentils aren’t even a dollar now. That’s cheap.
When my kids were growing up I loved to cook Shepherd’s Pie because it was so filling (my boys could eat you out of house and home) – they barely ever wanted seconds and I had 3 teen boys!
9. Make Soup In Bulk
Soup is one of the best things to make when trying to save money. This is because soup is a meal you can easily stretch for many days, even weeks if you freeze it, but that’s not the only reason this meal is known to save you money. It’s also incredibly cheap to make.
You can make most soups out of leftover ingredients and scraps. To save even more money, you can make your own broth out of chicken bones or vegetable broth out of onion peels, carrot tops, and other vegetable scraps.
And any vegetable scraps you don’t use can go to a compost pile which will save you money on soil and fertilizer for your garden we discussed in #3.
10. Shop Higher And Lower Shelves
We tend to shop at eye level cause those are the first items our eyes are drawn to. Which is also a trick stores use to get you to purchase those items first.
Still, many people don’t know that middle-shelf products are usually more expensive. That’s why you should always check the top and bottom shelves before deciding what to buy. I know I have personally found cheaper pasta and cereal this way.
11. Eat More Plant-Based
Some of the largest price increases are for meat. It is ridiculous how expensive it has gotten. To replace meat, you can add a cup of beans or lentils to any plate of food to equal the same amount of protein and meat. Eating more plant-based can help you save on your grocery bill but don’t worry, you can still get all the protein and nutrients you need.
Another way to eat more plant-based and save money is to cook plant-based things such as curry naturally. You can also use beans and/or lentils to make meatloaf or burgers. You can make way more food at half the cost.
12. Keep Your Pantry Stocked
Keeping your pantry stocked with grains, beans, and legumes is a great way to save. All you have to do is buy them in bulk, then throughout the month; you just need to buy meat and veggies.
How simple is that? Once you start to run low, you stock up again. The best part is pantry staples are super affordable.
13. Buy From Bulk Bins
Not all stores have bulk bins, but if you live near a store that does, take full advantage of it. I remember the first time I went to WinCo and saw the bulk bins I was in! You can get everything from flour to rice. You can even get coffee in bulk.
What really got me was how cheap everything was. Usually, when I wanted 5 lbs of rice, I had to pay an arm and a leg for it, but when buying from a bulk bin, you can get as much as you need and pay less., making purchases of larger quantities much easier.
14. Instant Isn’t Always Better
I understand the appeal of instant. The quicker we can make something – the better, but what if I told you it’s cheaper to buy bagged dry beans, rice, and legumes than canned and boxed? This is because people are willing to pay more for a product if it’s easier to make.
But non-instant items are also pretty easy to make. They just take a little longer to cook than instant beans and rice.
I’ve also come to realize it’s much better quality while being cheaper. Most of the time, non-instant food items are under a dollar, and you can buy them in bulk bins; I don’t know about you, but I can’t say that about instant food products.
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15. Order Your Groceries
Ordering your groceries is one of my favorite ways to shop, not only is it convenient and helps you use less gas, and we all know how high the gas prices are now, too. But that’s not all.
By ordering your groceries online, primarily through the store’s website, you can see how much your total will be and make changes when needed. You can also see what items are cheaper. You can even compare the price per unit to see the best deals, all in the comfort of your own home with no rush.
16. When Shopping Name Brands Use Coupons
Shop store brands as much as possible, but sometimes shopping for name brands is the only option. You must use coupons to outweigh the cost when shopping for name brands.
We have all noticed the prices going up over the last several months, especially regarding name brands. This is where coupons come in, but to get actual savings, you need to stack your coupons with rebate apps and digital coupons. This way you can buy what you need without suffering the cost.
17. Stop Buy Premade Salad And Smoothie Mixes
Buying premade mixes is so tempting. All you have to do is dump the bag’s contents into a blender or bowl. It’s that easy, but have you ever considered the price difference of making the mix yourself? It’s incredibly cheaper to make your mixes at home.
Once I started to make my own salad, I could tell a huge difference, but not just due to the price. I realized how the premade mixes were of lower quality.
They weren’t as fresh as the ones I made at home, plus I could make more for less, and the same went for the smoothie mixes. I could easily buy produce that was in season and make my own smoothie that was fresher and cheaper.
18. Eat Your Favorite Pricey Meats And Groceries Less Often
We all have that one brand or cut of meat we can’t get enough of, but chances are they aren’t budget-friendly. The best thing to do in this situation is to only buy it once a week or month.
19. Only Buy What’s On Your Meal Plan
Making a meal plan can save you time and money. Still, to truly save, you need to only buy ingredients from the meal plan.
Be sure to plan for all your snacks and meals because no other food item can go in your cart, no matter how good something looks or how much your kid begs. This method is excellent for impulse buying.
Those are some of the ways we came up with to combat the high food prices. Do you have tips to share? Please leave them in the comments, we’d love to hear them.