Grocery store prices are going up! If you’re worried about restricting yourself to a diet of canned foods and rice due to rising food costs, we are in it with you.
A recent study conducted by Morning Consult reported that 53% of American survey respondents have changed their food and beverage choices and quantity because of the increasing cost.
Inflation is happening but you still have nutrition and fitness goals along with a family to feed. Below are some resources to not only reduce your bill but to help you feel more confident in the grocery store.
Throw out the brand names
Saving hack number one is going generic. Things like canned items, cereal, flour, sugar and spices can cost up to 30 percent more if you buy the popular name brands. Look for the in-house brand and rack up the savings.
A great example: H-E-B’s in-house peanut butter. It’s just $2.44 for an 18-oz. jar. A 16.3-oz. jar of the popular brand Skippy sells for $2.41. May seem cheaper but you are getting almost 2 ounces less in your peanut butter!
Get this from Toughnickel.com: “Generic foods are about 30 percent cheaper than name brands.” If your cart is full of name-brand items, you might be able to save just by using a different product.
Track Your Store’s Sales Cycle
This requires a little work on your part, but you will love the savings. Create a spreadsheet with items you purchase often, or take pictures at the store, then note the costs on each trip to the store. After a few weeks, you’ll be able to spot trends in no time! This will allow you to make adjustments to your monthly and weekly meal plans.
Check your weekly ad! If you see that beef prices are way up but there’s a sale on pork, you can accommodate a different source of protein. Or maybe chicken will be on sale next week.
You can also download your grocery store app to get notifications about coupons and price drops. Before we go to the store each week, we check out the app to see what coupons we can use on items we were going to buy anyways. This has helped save us $15+ at a minimum per trip.
Break out the calculator
“Shrinkflation” is when companies reduce the size of something but keep the price the same—or raise it. Watch your labels to spot shrinkflation: Did that 12-pack become 10? Has product size been decreased? If some producers are playing games, try to find other brands that aren’t.
If the brand you use is doing this you might find out that some “deals” aren’t actually saving you any money.
For example, “2 for $8!” is worthless if the regular price is $3.99 each.
Some stores will do math like this for you. Look at the price tag and see if there is a price per ounce on the tag. This is an easy way to see what is actually the cheapest.
Shop With Coupons and Join Loyalty Programs
You don’t have to spend a bunch of extra time or an extreme couponer to save money! There are a lot of different ways to use digital coupons now.
Some apps allow you to access paperless coupons and promo codes. For a rundown, check out this article: “5 of the Best Free Coupon Apps.”
You can also sign up for loyalty programs that reward you for your business. We get that emails can get lost so we recommend creating an email only for rewards so it doesn’t clutter your inbox.
Lastly, does your grocery store allow you to stack coupons? This means combining the coupon from the grocery store with the coupon from the manufacturer. This sometimes means double the savings!
Avoid Tricks and Temptation
Stores are set up to make you buy stuff. That’s why the milk is never right at the front. You’ve got to walk past a bunch of aisles all the way to the back to find it.
Some pricey items are placed right at eye level, and others are loaded onto aisle ends, where loud signs help them stand out from the crowd further. And we all know the checkout area is packed with stuff meant to trigger impulse buys. Common grabs: batteries, gum and snacks, toys, and assorted cheap but high-margin knick-knacks you definitely don’t need.
In many cases, prominent items appear to be on sale but really aren’t. They’re just louder. And some pricey impulse items are displayed right beside things that are in high demand just so you see them when you’re picking up the essentials.
The best approach: Go in with a precise list and avoid grabbing other last minute items you see.
Stick to the Plan!
Costs are rising, but you can take many steps to avoid overspending at the store. Plan ahead, be thrifty and you’ll be on the right track with your budget.
Looking for some more accountability? Working 1:1 with one of our coaches might be the next thing for you. Schedule a FREE consultation with a nutrition coach HERE