9 Steps to Save on Groceries Even When Inflation Is Setting Records!

We are all waiting to hear some good news about the inflation numbers. It seems that on every newscast these days we have to hear about grocery prices going up, gas prices at new all-time highs, and not much news about what we can really do about it all except to buy less and still spend more. But today I feel a little bit like “Superman” because Super Saving Tips is here to save the day! You can save on groceries even when inflation is setting records and I am going to show you how!

Supermarket aisle representing how to save on groceries

How to Save on Groceries During High Inflation

Step #1 – Prioritize your budget

More than ever you really have to think about what you need when you shop. Know what’s necessary and know what can wait. Budget only for your “needs” first and then see if there’s room in there for the “wants” on the list.

Also important is to take a good, long look at your entire budget to see what you can easily just cut out. When you do, it will give you some extra money that you then can spend on some of those food essentials.

That means you need to go over your spending records (or if you don’t have any, then your credit card bills for now) and see where you are spending your money. You probably will find some recurring charges you forgot about and may no longer need or use. Whatever you find, big savings or even small ones, all can go into the money pot that you now can spend on essentials like food and energy costs.

Step #2 – Change up your menu

We all love certain foods, but right now some of those things may have priced themselves out of being everyday staples to just a once a week treat event.

Meat and dairy items have become way more expensive at the supermarket (have you checked the egg prices lately?) and in response you need to try to make more meals that don’t rely on them as the central ingredient.

Try using meat sparingly as flavor, like adding a bit of bacon to a mushroom risotto for example, which makes it more economical and still tasty. In general, consuming less meat and adding more veggies also is more healthy and helps you to lower your environmental footprint, and that’s just an added bonus here.

There are literally hundreds of online websites that can steer you (pardon the unintentional pun) to great recipes that are meatless or use “less” meat.

By the way, if you haven’t already implemented having a “meatless” meal as a matter of routine, now is a perfect time to do so. Even when inflation is just a distant memory, it can and should be part of your meal planning for healthy family meals.

Step #3 – Be prepared

It’s not only the Boy Scout motto, it’s the way you should always do your grocery shopping. Make a list and check it twice before you shop!

One cool suggestion is to keep a list on your fridge all the time so that you can jot down items you run out of during the week and get them if you need them on your next trip. Don’t buy when you don’t need, it’s that simple.

Next, always shop you own pantry before you head out to the grocery store. You may be surprised to learn you already have four different kinds of salad dressing in there.

Don’t ever show up to the supermarket without a grocery list and some ideas or plan of what you’ll be cooking for the week. Meal planning reduces costs and if you stick to it, you don’t waste food that you otherwise might have without a plan.

Shopping with a list won’t prevent all of your impulse buys, but even if you stick to it somewhat, it will help to save on groceries.

Step #4 – Think about shelf life

Buying foods with a longer shelf life can cut your number of trips to the supermarket altogether. This is particularly true when it comes to produce, some of which can last much longer than others do. We waste millions of dollars every year on spoiled foods.

With the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables on the rise, shoppers should consider frozen or canned produce. Not only can it be more affordable, but frozen and canned produce have a longer shelf life and thus help prevent food waste. Still, fresh local produce can sometimes be less expensive when in season and it helps to support local farmers.

Cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and beets can last for two weeks or longer when stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Delaying your return to the supermarket is always good for your wallet.

Try to shop at stores with large produce areas or stores that make produce a specialty. The more they sell, the fresher the inventory will be.

Step #5 – Shop generic

Name brands cost more than store or generic brands and many companies are currently limiting promotions and sales due to inflation. Now is the time to “trade down” and try a store brand. Some people tend to be very brand loyal, like they’ll only use Tide detergent for example. Try to use something new to you and less expensive until you find the perfect substitute.

Step #6 – Stock up on staples when on sale

When you see a deal on items your family loves and you use all the time, stock up!

Make sure your kitchen and pantry are always stocked up on the important basics you need. Doing so will allow you to buy fewer new items each week.

Breakfast and lunch need planning too and staples like cereals can be had for great prices and offer healthy varieties.

Some of the most useful foods to have on hand include pasta, rice, canned goods, frozen vegetables and fruit. Consider buying these products in larger quantities, if you have the space to store them. It will cut costs over time.

There are even meals that can be made with staple ingredients alone (think beans and rice for example), and they serve as the foundation for your weekly menu and budget.

Consider online shopping: If you have trouble sticking to a list or tend to be an impulse shopper, placing your grocery order online might be a good option because it prevents you from buying impulsively. Even if there is a fee involved, it saves you time which is an offset for you.

Step #7 – Check unit prices

Grocery store shelf labels include a unit price for the product. It helps you easily compare and contrast prices, regardless of the product size or how it’s packaged. A cereal price label, for example, includes a unit price for each ounce. This helps you quickly compare the cost difference between the brands. Finding which one costs less per unit means you save!

Step #8 – Choose fewer processed foods

Processed foods are convenient but cost more than unprocessed foods. For example, a can of beans is more expensive than a bag of dried beans and shredded cheese is pricier than a block of cheese.

Just keep in mind that unprocessed foods require more time and know-how to prepare. So if you do buy dried beans, but they sit in your cupboard and you never use them, it’s a waste of money.

Step #9 – Flyers, coupons, sales, and apps

Well, we have come down to the one thing that everyone must do and if you don’t you will truly be missing out on saving on your grocery shopping. Using loyalty cards, manufacturer and store coupons, shopping the sales, and finding apps to enhance your digital savings are a must! Every store uses them to draw you in and every store knows that you want them.

Apps like Flashfood allow shoppers to browse discounted groceries and pay for them on the app for items at nearby stores. Use them and everybody wins here.

Final Thoughts

Saving on groceries, a category that you spend money on every week, is so important. During record inflation, it’s even more so than ever.

Use as many of the Super Saving Tips as you can every week and I promise you will save. Think about it, if you spend $7,000 dollars a year feeding your family (that’s an average of less than $150 a week), and you can save even 10% of that, you may have enough to take a nice summer vacation or get every one of the kids the school supplies and clothes they’ll need for next year!

What ideas have you implemented to save on groceries during these high inflation days? Please share them in the comments!

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