Trips to the grocery store are making a challenging impact on families across the United States. Even just a few dollars more at the checkout line makes it more of a struggle for some people.
How can one survive this inflation but still be able to feed their families? Budgeting and cooking experts say that you can use many different strategies to make a difference in your budget. We have some tips on how to get the most for your money.
Control What You Can
Dominic Harper, the founder of Debt Bombshell, is a personal finance expert and the provider of his family. He says that the Bureau of Labor Statistics data has shown the alarming impacts of inflation on U.S. food prices. With this data, Harper says that he felt compelled to re-evaluate the items on his grocery list and consider the budget-friendly food choices and healthy alternatives for the meals at home.
“Meat and poultry products are among the list grocery items severely affected by inflation, with price hike rates of 14.8% and 11.1%, respectively, in one year,” Harper said. “Despite the equitable effect of the said economic phenomenon, the shift to healthier food choices such as fruits and vegetables is one of the major considerations in mind.”
Spending Behavior Can Change
Harper’s spending behavior has significantly changed over the past years; inflation severely caused it, he says. As a result, there have been times that demanded he ensure wise decision-making processes, brief cost-benefit analyses, and consideration for substitute items each time he shopped, unlike before when there was a great sense of liberation in household expenditures.
“Shopping and spending less than $30 is a dream state at this time,” Harper said. “It can buy you a single household item or two, but it’s not enough for even a basket filled with grocery items.”
From his market observations and comparisons, Harper finds that stores like Walmart, WinCo Foods, and Market Basket are budget-friendly grocery stores within the area.
When shopping, he is doing it for a family of four, and his flexible budget for groceries is dependent on that profile.
“I shop for groceries bi-monthly, and I spend roughly $1,530 every time I take the carts and buy items needed at home,” Harper said.
Plan Your Meals
Emily Cooper, Founder of luxury Italian menswear brand, Oliver Wicks, says that meal prep recipes before going to the grocery store were one way that saved her a bit of money.
“My grocery list has been altered to cater to more of my needs and less my wants,” Cooper said. “I have limited my trips to the grocery as well and have planned these trips in advance.”
Referring to a list of things to buy has helped her get through this challenge. She also tries her best to veer away from buying items that are not a necessity.
“I have also avoided buying in bulk since I just live alone and have learned the art of meal prepping,” Cooper said.
Meal prepping allows her to ration grocery purchases and put all items to good use. Her typical monthly grocery bill ranges from $150-$300. She has learned that planning her investments and coming up with meal prep recipes before going to the store helps save a lot of time and is more efficient in the long run.
Keep Tabs On Your Spending And Habits
Matt Weidle, Business Development Manager of Buyers Guide, says that you have no control over inflation, but you do control your purchases. He says that to make a difference, start preserving your receipts after every supermarket trip.
“Every few weeks, I check over my receipts with a pink, blue, and yellow highlighter to sort my purchases into fresh foods, home products, and packaged goods,” Weidle said. “You can notice unhealthy spending habits with a fast scan.”
Weidle realized one month that he was purchasing too many frozen convenience items, such as french fries, and returned to preparing homemade french fries from a large sack of $1 potatoes to save money.
“Only by first becoming aware of your buying patterns will you be able to make adjustments,” Weidle said. “You don’t have to keep track of your receipts indefinitely; only keep track of what you buy for a month and change your habits to save more money.”
Lean On Your Community
Throughout the U.S., some food banks have eligibility requirements, but many are open to all members of the community who need the support.
We recommend going to food banks to keep you from spending your food budget. Food banks across the country keep stock of things from soups to coffee, rice, pasta, and much more.
Depending on your local food pantry, there may be non-food items like clothing, books, and supplies that you can pick up.
Making just a few of these changes can help with your spending habits.
Financial blogger and investor from Texas Shaun Connell say that he has always been shopping only for essentials. However, this mindset, he says, isn’t as effective now because of the rising prices.
“It’s almost impossible to decide which items to leave behind when checking out at the grocery because all I put in my cart are things we need at home,” Connell said.
Connell said that meat now costs a fifth more than last year.
“I now have to opt for cheaper, lower-quality alternatives to stick to my budget,” Connell said. “I also tend to go to the grocery much more frequently – about three times per week – to match product delivery times and take advantage of shifting promo schedules.”
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