The government announced last week that the inflation rate for December 2021 was 7%. This is the highest rate of inflation since 1982. Two of the hardest hit sectors were energy and food. MarketWatch reports that prices for eggs have increased more than 20%, beef and chicken prices are up 13 – 15%, and coffee is up 10%.
To make matters worse, grocery prices are expected to rise another 5% in 2022. The biggest increases are expected to be for steak, chicken, mayonnaise, eggs, cereal, and vegetables.
Additionally, grocery shelves are emptier than we are used to seeing them. Inflation and shortage combine to make feeding your family more challenging than we are used to dealing with in America. And it is wreaking havoc on family budgets.
To keep your budget in balance, you must (1) find ways to keep your grocery spending within your means or (2) cut expenses in other areas and allocate more money for groceries.
So, I am offering these ideas to help you eat well and stay within your budget.
- Eliminate waste. Americans waste on average one pound of food per person per day. To reduce your food waste:
- Plan meals and shop using a list.
- Check the vegetable bins in your refrigerator daily to assess what needs to be eaten and plan meals accordingly.
- Keep a food log, so you know when you cooked each dish. Check log to see what needs to be eaten first.
- Make the most of leftovers—turn leftovers into soups, casseroles, and sandwich fillings.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat and cook in a crockpot or instapot to tenderize.
- Buy store brands. You may have to try multiple stores to find the brands you like best.
- Shop at multiple stores to get the best buys and find items that were out of stock at your usual store. Plan trips, though, to save gas and time.
- PLAN, PLAN, PLAN—but be prepared with backup plans, as shortages are expected to continue.
- Plant a garden and grow some of your own produce.
- When you find a good price for produce, stock up and freeze or can the excess.
- Shop at Discount stores, such as Wal-Mart, Costco, and Dollar General.
- Buy less than perfect or ugly produce. Prepare immediately or process to eat later.
- Purchase meat that is nearing its sell-by date and has been marked down. Cook immediately or freeze.
- Invest in food storage dishes to keep leftovers.
- Invest in a vacuum sealer to freeze uncooked meats and leftovers to be eaten later.
- Search Pinterest and other internet sites for new recipes using ingredients that you have on hand.
- Challenge yourself to come up with new recipes using items you have in your pantry.
- Ask God for wisdom to help you make wise shopping decisions. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
I hope that you will find some of these tips to be helpful as you navigate empty grocery shelves and higher food prices.
What grocery saving tips can you add to this list?
You will find additional information on creating budgets and managing your finances in many of my other blog posts by clicking on the Finances tab on the right. If you have money questions you would like me to answer, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write your question in the Comment section.
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