To fight inflation, take down food expenses

Like many shoppers, I’ve noticed my grocery bill getting bigger each week: February food prices were 7.9% higher than they were a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. To compensate for my family’s busy spring schedule, I’d also been turning to shortcuts like prepackaged snacks and meal kits, which further added to our total bill.

To counteract these pressures, I applied all my go-to savings tricks: Opting in to my grocery store’s loyalty program for extra discounts, using a credit card that gave me bonus cash back on grocery purchases and planning our weekly menus around sales. However, shopping for my family of five continued to give me sticker shock.

For extra guidance, I turned to budgeting and cooking experts with experience making food spending more manageable, as the USDA predicts food prices will continue to increase, growing 4.5% to 5.5% in 2022. Here are their best tips for saving money on food:

CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN

While so much about the economy can feel completely outside of our control, including rising interest rates, inflation and supply chain challenges, our food spending is one area where we hold a lot of sway, says Erin Lowell, a Bowdoin, Maine-based lead educator at You Need a Budget, a budgeting app. By spending more time cooking or substituting cheaper ingredients, you can feel an immediate savings impact, she says, unlike with other costs, such as bills or rent, which can be harder to change.

Lowell suggests assessing how much effort you’re putting into minimizing your food spending and taking that effort up to the next level. For example, if you order pizza for delivery, then consider buying a nice frozen pizza for a quarter of the cost. If you buy frozen pizza, then consider making it from scratch for just a few…

Read complete post here:
Source link