You’re not imagining it – your grocery bills are increasing. With costs surpassing a 40-year historic high, preparing food at home costs the average American 10% more than it did just one year ago. With the average family spending between $146 and $289 every week on groceries, a trip to the market is quickly sending Americans into a financially-stressful situation.
But thankfully, there are still ways to save on the weekly groceries without having to become an extreme couponer. Read on as the Finance Opinion team shares insider tips and tricks so you can slash some cash from this week’s grocery bill.
What’s Causing the Spike in Supermarket Costs?
The increase in expenditures for Americans – including at the grocery store – can all be blamed on, you guessed it, inflation. But the root of the rising costs in groceries starts at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global food prices started to rise in early 2020 as businesses shut down, and lockdown restrictions led to a strained supply chain, lack of available trucks to transport goods, and a shortage of migrant labor. These factors impacted crops and goods worldwide, and created the perfect storm for prices to spike.
Produce and certain foods like beef and dairy have seen close to a 20% markup year-after-year. Unfortunately, experts don’t predict these prices to come down anytime soon, either; food-at-home prices are expected to continue to rise another 3% – 4% throughout the remainder of 2022.
But it’s not all bad news…
Three Ways to Save on this Week’s Grocery Bill
While sticking to a monthly budget is now going to be more important than ever, there are ways to save (and even earn some cash back!) while food shopping.
- Compare Prices
While heading to the supermarket that’s closest to your home is convenient, you could be overpaying for certain items. Do a bit of research by browsing the weekly flyers for all of the grocers in your area, and plan to segment your grocery list based on the stores with the best sale items and lowest prices.
You’ll find you will quickly learn which store has the items you need for less, and can optimize savings with a bit of bargain hunting.
- Go Generic
Brand name doesn’t always mean “best.” In fact, many generic products – i.e.: store-brand – are made by the same manufacturers as the name-brands. By purchasing store brand items, from pasta to dairy, you can save anywhere from 10% to 30% per item!
- Shop in Season
The cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is growing by 2% every month. To give your wallet a bit of a break, forget the list and stick to shopping by what’s “in season.”
By only buying produce based on what’s being harvested this season, you can rest assured that you’re getting the lowest cost (and freshest produce). When fruits and vegetables are out of season, the store can charge a lot more since they’re not as readily available.
If you have a local farmer’s market, consider saving your grocery store produce shopping and buy what’s available at the farm stand. You may not have as many options as you would when shopping at the brand-name store, but you’ll get the best deals on in-season fruits and veggies, while supporting your local farmer (a win-win!).
Have a cash-cutting tip to help save on grocery bills? Share your expertise with the community in the comments!
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