Here are 4 ways to lower your grocery bill

Your grocery bill has probably gone up.

This is because food prices are rising sharply, with the latest Data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics showing a 7.4% increase between January 2021 and January 2022. The cost of bacon has inflated by 18% and that of peanut butter by 15%.

It is unclear when the rise will subside. Meanwhile, experts have been looking at strategies to help you save at the supermarket.

1. Stock your pantry with the basics

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Your kitchen should be stocked with certain essential foods, including eggs, pasta, rice, bread, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables and fruits, onions and potatoes, said Leanne Brown, author of good enougha self-care cookbook.

Many meals can be made with just these ingredients, and they serve as the basis for countless others, meaning you won’t have to buy so many new items every week.

If you have the space, experts say, consider buying these products in bulk to cut costs even further.

2. Prepare before you buy

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Don’t show up to the supermarket without a shopping list and some ideas of what you’ll be cooking for the week, Brown said.

“Meal planning definitely cuts costs,” she said. “If you stick to it, you don’t waste the food you bought without a plan.”

As you plan your meals for the week, try to think of recipes that are easy to reuse, she added. For example, a pot of chili can be used later to fill burritos or as nacho toppings.

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You may decide that eating certain foods over and over is sad or monotonous or, like so many other things in life, you may choose to look at it in a more positive light.

“Having the same breakfast every day for a week can be really comforting and make things easier both in terms of your wallet and your decision-making,” Brown said. “Then you can do something else next week, so you don’t get bored.”

Your grocery list probably won’t prevent all of your impulse buying, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use one.

“Even if you stick with them a bit, that’s fine,” Brown said. “We don’t have to worry about perfection.”

As a treat, she deliberately plans to buy one or two things from her list.

3. Look for the best deals

You can usually browse for discounts on a supermarket’s website or app, or find them listed at the retailer, experts say.

Take a look at your grocery list before deciding where to shop, says Erin Clarke, author of The well-done cookbook. Then try to find the store that offers the best value on the items you are looking for.

“If you’re on a product-heavy trip, look for a store with frequent product sales,” Clarke said. “If you’re sourcing shelf-stable produce, choose a store that offers the best value, even if other items, like produce, cost more.”

Billy Vasquez, who directs The 99 Cent Chef blog, said he collects many of his non-perishable items, including mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, dried pasta, beans and tortilla chips, from his store at a local dollars.

Around St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day, you can find deep discounts on items like corned beef, carrots, cabbage, turkey, duck, roasts, ham , canned stuffing, hamburgers and hot dogs, many of which can be stored in the freezer for long periods of time, Vasquez said.

Meanwhile, generics and store brands tend to be the cheapest varieties, Brown said, adding that “buying more canned and frozen vegetables when many are out of season is another choice. evergreen”.

4. Adjust your menu

Meat and dairy tend to be the most expensive items in the supermarket, and especially so lately. In response, aim to make more meals that don’t rely on them as a central ingredient, Brown said.

“Using meat sparingly as a flavor, like adding a little bacon to a mushroom risotto, is more economical,” she said. Eating less meat also helps you reduce your environmental footprint, she added.

Buying foods with a longer shelf life can reduce your trips to the supermarket. “Cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts and beets can last two weeks or more when stored in the crisper,” Clarke says.

Delaying your return is always good for your wallet, she said.

“Every time you walk into the store, it’s an opportunity for impulse purchases to drive up the bill,” she said.

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