How to Budget Rising Food Prices

It’s a difficult reality that food prices have increased in recent times. As food is a fundamental necessity for all of us, it’s understandable to feel the strain on our wallets. However, we can take action to ease the impact of these rising costs. In this blog, we want to share some of the best ways to combat the effects of food inflation. By using these tips, we can stretch our food budgets.
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1. Eat Out Less

Dining out can be a costly choice if it’s not done in moderation. It’s especially challenging if you are already working to budget for groceries. When we consider this, it becomes clear that many of the meals we purchase at restaurants can be made at home for a much more affordable price. While fast food may seem like a cheaper option, it’s important to keep in mind that it often comes with trade-offs, such as high calorie and low-quality food that may not sustain us for very long. These choices can have a negative impact on our overall health.

2. Don’t Shop on An Empty Stomach

We’ve all been grocery shopping on an empty stomach and can agree with shopping while hungry will only fill your cart with unnecessary purchases. When grocery shopping on an empty stomach there is a likelihood of overspending and veering from your list. Stick to your necessities by grabbing a bite to eat or a small snack before you begin your shop.

3. Stick to Your List

If you expect to save money without creating or sticking to a list, you may experience sticker shock when you check out your next grocery haul. If you fill your cart with everything that catches your eye, be prepared to spend a lot more than you planned. By creating a list in advance, you have the opportunity to plan out your meals and ingredient list to cohesively put together a plan for the week. This also allows you to plan around any sales the store may have, or you may choose to shop elsewhere because there may be a better deal. One crucial way to combat rising food costs is by avoiding impulse purchases. By sticking to your shopping list, you’ll be less likely to be drawn towards items you don’t actually need. Some experts even suggest that all the necessary items can be found along the perimeter of the store, so simply avoiding a few aisles can lead to significant savings. Staying focused and disciplined with your list can help you make the most of your food budget.

4. Fresh Over Prepared

In a world that is already a fast-paced society, it is easy to opt for prepared items when shopping at the grocery store. Whether it’s convenience or to simply have on hand, these pre-ready meals are at a premium price tag compared to simply buying the fresh ingredients to make yourself. This same concept also goes for frozen items you may be grabbing. Yes, they absolutely are convenient and last longer, but they often are priced significantly higher than buying fresh ingredients to prepare yourself.

5. Bulk May Be the Best

Bulk purchasing is a great way to save both time and money. It’s important to compare prices and look for family-sized options with a lower price per unit. If you have the storage space and can use the items before they expire, buying in bulk can provide substantial savings. For items you regularly use, it might be worth considering a membership at a bulk retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club, as these stores often offer lower prices on items you use frequently. By being mindful and strategic with your bulk purchases, you can effectively reduce your food expenses.

6. Bulk Isn’t Always the Best

If you find you are not utilizing a membership at a big-box retailer as often as you had thought, consider canceling. Chances are you don’t need nearly as much on hand and are paying for bulk along with the membership price. It is very important to pay attention to your spending habits at these stores as well as your overall consumption. It’s important to note that prices at big box retailers are not always the best deal. In fact, you may find better discounts at other stores. Additionally, buying in bulk at these stores can lead to purchasing more than you actually need, ultimately driving up your grocery bill. It’s a good idea to check your local grocery store for weekly deals and special offers. This way, you can take advantage of promotions and save on your grocery expenses, without having to buy in bulk when it’s not necessary.

7. Sign Up for Rewards

If you shop at the same stores regularly, it’s a good idea to sign up for their rewards program. Some stores may increase their prices for non-reward members, so having the card can actually lower your overall grocery bill. It’s worth exploring the rewards offered, as they can provide additional benefits such as holiday or gas discounts. By taking advantage of these rewards programs at the stores you already shop at, you can maximize your savings and make the most of your food budget.

8. Prices Are High, Look Low

Grocery stores often arrange their products in a way that can be tempting to consumers. To help combat this, it’s helpful to stick to shopping along the perimeter of the store and to be mindful of high-priced items that are prominently displayed, such as at end caps or checkout areas. These high-priced items are typically placed at eye level in the middle of shelves. However, if you take a closer look, you may find lower-priced generic alternatives by looking at the bottom shelves. By being aware of these common strategies and being mindful of your purchases, you can make the most of your food budget.

9. Substitute the Expensive Items

If you’re noticing that the prices of items you use regularly are on the rise, it might be worth exploring alternative options. For example, instead of spending more on a certain ingredient, you could opt for a similar yet more affordable option. A good example might be using a different type of oil in your cooking, such as canola oil instead of olive oil. By making these simple swaps, you can help keep your food budget under control without sacrificing the quality of your meals.

10. Maintain a Well-Stocked Kitchen

Shopping infrequently when you need to is key to not overspending because you have to. If you shop when the best deals are available, you have the ability to stock up and put yourself in the position of only shopping when you need to or when the item is back on sale.
Food is an essential part of our lives and a necessary expense. By being mindful of our purchases and taking advantage of tips and strategies such as sticking to a shopping list, looking for sales and promotions, and finding alternative yet affordable options, we can take control of our food budget and make the most of our hard-earned money. At the end of the day, being a thoughtful and prepared shopper can go a long way in ensuring that we can still enjoy the nourishing meals we need, without sacrificing our wallets.