Grocery prices have risen astronomically in recent months. The overall cost of food has risen over 10% in the past year alone and will probably continue to rise. According to CNN, the price of eggs rose by over 33%. Flour costs increased by 19%, milk by a whopping 16 %, and fruits and vegetables by about 8%. And as the cost of gas increases, the cost of food increases even more!
So how do you survive the rising grocery store prices?
I employ four different strategies. First, to save money at the grocery store I shop the sales, buy store brands, buy in bulk, avoid disposable items, use coupons and shop multiple stores. Second, to save money planning meals I stick to my meal plan, plan my grocery shopping around my meal plan, use less meat, use more rice and potatoes, and we drink water. Third we grow as much of our own food as possible, both in our garden and raising our own meat and eggs with quail, chickens and rabbits. And fourth through trading with friends and joining local co-ops we have found we can save money and still stock up like a prepper.
In this article, we’re going to talk about each of four strategies in more detail. I will break them down and explain how I do them in real life. I really think you will find it helpful!
Save Money at the Grocery Store
Shop the sales and stock up.
Grocery stores typically have revolving sales, meaning each week, different types of items will be on sale. Stock up on the sale items and try to save purchasing non-sale items until they go on sale again. This will you won’t be paying full price for anything. For example, perhaps the first week of the month, spaghetti is on sale, and pantry staples are on sale in the second week. So in the first week, buy spaghetti for the entire month, and in the second, buy your pantry staples for the month. Your money will stretch further, and you’ll still have everything you need.
Don’t be afraid to buy the store brand.
A quality control worker once explained to me that store brand items are made in the same factory of the same ingredients that name brand products are made. They simply change the labels. This means your store brand products are every bit as good and tasty as their name brand counterparts – they’re just cheaper because you aren’t paying for the logo.
Buy in bulk (but only when it makes sense).
Often, you can purchase meat or pantry items in bulk at a lower price per ounce because you are saving on packaging. Divide these items up into more useable amounts and store them until you need them. Just don’t get caught up in using extra because you have it, and don’t buy large quantities if it doesn’t save money.
Choose reusable over disposable.
Try to use reusable rags instead of paper towels, washable plates instead of paper, and regular cups instead of plastic. You’ll save on waste, and you’ll save money.
Don’t buy drinks, ever.
Drinks are expensive. Avoid buying bottled water, juices, and sodas, which probably aren’t good for you anyway.
Avoid buying processed foods when possible.
Processed, prepackaged foods cost extra per ounce than fresh, unpackaged foods like tomatoes and potatoes.
Clipping coupons is a pain, I agree, but if there is something that you use and see a coupon, just use it. However, don’t buy an item just because you have a coupon for it. You’ll waste your money.
Try the farmer’s market.
Our local farmer’s markets usually happen on Saturdays, and sometimes the produce will be heavily discounted by the end of the day, so the farmers don’t have to lug leftover produce back home.
Shop multiple stores.
Some stores may offer doorbuster deals to get you in the door, where they hope you’ll purchase more expensive convenience items, as well. Shop smart and only buy the sale items, then move on to the next store.
Save Money with Meal Planning
Make a meal plan, and then stick to it.
Create a meal plan for the week and base your shopping only on what you need. Plan for snacks and how you will use leftovers, too. This cuts down on wasted food that will clog up the landfill and use up your cash.
Plan your grocery shopping around your meals.
Only purchase what you know you will eat so you don’t waste food and money.
Incorporate a few meatless meals.
Meat is more expensive, but you can plan a couple of meatless meals a week without harming your diet. Instead, fill up with other high protein, low-cost foods such as beans.
Extend your meals with rice, potatoes, and noodles.
These starches aren’t as unhealthy as you might think. Carbohydrates in moderation will give you energy and stretch your food budget. In addition, rice, potatoes, and noodles are healthy and inexpensive, so they’ll fill you up without hurting your wallet or your waistline.
Water is free and is better for you than soda, juice, or other high-calorie drinks. Drinking water before a meal will help you feel fuller faster.
Eat less, if appropriate.
Of course, you need to eat enough food to fuel your daily activities, but most of us could probably cut back our calorie intake or, at the very least, cut down on expensive desserts and takeaway foods.
Grow Your Own Food
Raise your own eggs.
There’s always been the debate about whether or not it is actually cost-effective to raise your own chickens for eggs. And the answer is, well, it depends. However, my chickens only get chicken feed as a supplement. The bulk of their food comes from free-ranging and eating my large family’s table scraps. If your locale doesn’t permit you to have chickens, you may be able to raise quail instead since they aren’t as regulated as chickens. You can even keep a couple of quail indoors for their eggs since they require very little space, and their feed-to-egg ratio is excellent.
Grow your own veggies.
Pound for pound, one of the most expensive foods to purchase is lettuce greens. And greens seem to be the food that goes bad the fastest in the fridge, too. So one of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store is just to grow lettuce. It doesn’t take up much space, and you can tuck lettuce seeds into any corner of your garden or flowerbed in a flower pot or other small container. You may even be able to grow some during the winter if you have a very sunny window.
Other vegetables that are easy to grow in little space and also buckets are radishes, cherry tomatoes, and medicinal herbs. However, if you have plenty of room, consider planting a larger garden with squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
You don’t need to spend tons of money on fancy equipment and garden accessories. If you have a little bit of space in the ground, you can find something that will grow in it. Don’t underestimate what a small garden or even a container garden can do for your food budget. Growing just one type of plant, or a few plants, if possible, will help to lower your food bill. Seeds are a small investment, but if you grow them well, you’ll get hundreds of dollars of produce in return.
If you don’t have a place outdoors to grow food, consider a small hydroponic garden like an Aerogarden or just growing some vegetable plants under a grow light indoors.
Raise your own meat.
Meat rabbits, quail, and meat chickens are easy and quick to raise. They don’t take up much space, either, so even if you have a small backyard, you can probably raise a few animals. If you are squeamish about butchering your animals, you may be able to make a deal with a local butcher to process your animals for you for a small fee.
Think Like a Prepper
Join a food co-op or CSA.
You might save money on food by joining a coop or CSA. Basically, these are smaller grocery stores or individual farmers that you can work directly with to cut out the extra fees of shopping at larger chain stores.
Share with your neighbors.
If you have an abundance of something, perhaps you can trade it with your neighbor, who has an abundance of something else. For example, perhaps you grew way more squash than you could eat, but your neighbor grew too many tomatoes. You can both save money by trading your extra produce for what you don’t have.
Stock your pantry like a prepper.
One way to beat rising prices is to stock up now before food prices climb any higher. If you can stock up on a year’s worth of food at today’s prices, you’ll have spent that much less as prices continue to rise. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to run out and invest thousands of dollars to build your own personal stash of food, but slowly building up a stock of shelf-stable items (especially if you can purchase them in bulk or on sale) will save you money over the long run.
Make sure your food is stored properly.
Any shelf-stable goods need to be stored in a cool, dry place away from heat, light, moisture, and bugs. The better your food is stored, the longer it will last, which means you won’t lose money on wasted food.
Final Thoughts on How to Survive Rising Grocery Prices
It’s easy to get stressed out when you see that big grocery bill. Just look for consistent ways to save money on your groceries. If you still can’t afford to feed your family, you may want to see if you qualify for programs such as SNAP EBT or your local food pantry. In many states, your SNAP dollars can be used to purchase seeds and plants that grow food.
Why are food prices increasing?
There are a number of reasons food prices are increasing. For example, the Avian flu has increased the price of eggs. On the other hand, the war in Ukraine has increased the cost of grains. Supply disruptions, worker shortages, and high gas prices have also contributed to rising grocery prices.
Will inflation continue to rise?
It is hard to say if inflation has truly peaked or not, but according to time.com, these high prices will probably stick around for at least another year or two.