According to Forbes, from July 2021, prices for home-based food rose 13.1%, the largest increase since March 1979. Grocery prices are up 15.4% year over year, according to Numerator, with the cost of producing eggs, flour, butter, biscuits, bread, milk, and chicken soaring by double digits.
So if you’re planning to buy and eat food recently, or if you’re struggling with a food shopping budget, it’s a good idea to master some ways to save money. Here are some helpful tips to help you save money in the face of inflation.
Always buy generic
If you want to save a lot of money, buy generic products because there is a lot of room for savings. Canned goods, dry pasta, grains, baking ingredients like flour and sugar, and even spices are good examples of generic or store brands. Nowadays, each big box store has its own brand, which is usually half the cost. Buying these items can save you 30 to 50% on your grocery bill.
Shop in the middle of the week
You also need to know when to buy certain things. Timing is everything. The grocery store is a zoo on weekends. But scheduling your weekly shop on a Tuesday or Wednesday not only makes for a better shopping experience, it also saves money. Grocery stores tend to offer better deals and discounts during the week as they prepare to roll over items for weekend foot traffic.
Check your pantry and make a list
Some shoppers go straight to the grocery store instead of taking inventory of what they already have in their homes. Check your refrigerator and pantry before you buy too much bread or milk. Take a picture of what you already have, or make a list of what you know you’ll need.
Don’t forget to make a weekly meal plan. With proper meal planning, you’ll be less likely to panic and order expensive takeout, or go to the grocery store and buy too many expensive items without planning. Meal planning can help you keep your shopping budget on track.
Plan groceries that may be on sale, such as seasonal vegetables or certain meats, and create a menu to browse through. By planning what you’re going to eat ahead of time, you can avoid unexpected expenses during last-minute shopping this week.
Shopping online and using coupon
According to Balancing Everything, about 22% of consumers shop online for groceries at least once a week. Fifty-three percent of people buy groceries online, and the main reason is the speed of the process. They think online shopping saves time. About 50 percent claimed it was more convenient and 31% said it gave them access to more goods.
While you often have to pay for delivery when shopping online, buying food online can still save you money, in addition to being cheaper and eliminating some of the risks of making an impulse purchase. Or you can keep an eye out for daily deals at online grocery stores, such as GoPuff, which offer different sales every day. Be sure to check for the latest GoPuff Discount Code before you shop!
If you don’t want to pay for shipping, make sure you meet the criteria for free shipping, or you can join a membership program like Amazon Prime or Walmart+ and get free shipping. Of course, in-store or curbside pickup is also a great way to avoid paying for shipping.
Stock up necessaries
Buying foods or items in bulk that you usually buy on sale can make a big difference. If you don’t feel comfortable stocking up on regular food and vegetables, stock up on staples and daily necessities.
The caveat to hoarding these items is that bigger isn’t always better, and you’ll also need space to store excess stuff. If you want to stock up, be sure to check the unit price. Some products are cheaper in smaller containers. Also, be careful not to stock up on items that might go to waste.
Use cash-back apps and credit cards strategically
Depending on the app, you can choose to get the discount in the form of cash or a gift card. There are many rebate apps on the market, some of which only allow purchases at certain stores to earn cash back or gift cards. You can try multiple apps and choose the one that works best for you.
Besides the cash back app, you should check your credit card to see if you earn back cash or other rewards for grocery shopping. You need to keep track of details like spending limits and rotation categories. But with rewards rates of 2% to 6%, credit cards can save hundreds of dollars a year on food. To get the best return, you should pay off your credit card in full each month instead of carrying a balance – otherwise, interest charges could eat up your savings.
Grocery shopping is likely to get more expensive as inflation continues to weigh on Americans. So try to change your shopping habits and the way you shop to reduce your monthly shopping expenditure. Remember, only buy necessities to avoid stocking up too much and wasting food to show your respect for industrious farmers.