How to lower your grocery bill, despite rising prices
These six steps will keep your grocery bill down, despite price hikes
Grocery store prices may be rising, but it’s still possible to keep your own grocery bill down.
According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), grocery store prices are expected to increase between 1 and 2% in 2021.
In the month of April alone, grocery prices increased by 0.4%, with fruit and vegetable prices increasing by 0.8% and fresh fruit prices increasing by 1.5%, according to the consumer price index released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Meanwhile, prices for dairy and related products increased by 0.6%, while meat, poultry, fish and egg prices rose by 0.5%.
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Those price increases are being caused, in part, by labor shortages, transportation challenges, rising gas prices and a struggling retail workforce, experts told FOX Business this week.
However, there are ways to avoid getting hit too hard by the price hikes.
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Shopping expert and blogger Trae Bodge recommended that budget-conscious consumers should look toward loyalty programs, discount apps and savings tools, and credit card reward programs focused on food.
"Certain categories are experiencing price spikes, so it’s a good opportunity to establish some new money-saving habits to use now and continue to use after prices settle back down," Bodge previously told FOX Business.
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Here are some other tips to help keep your grocery bill down.
Make a plan
One way to make sure you get the best prices is to plan exactly what you’re going to eat for the week. Southern Living even recommends planning your meals around your grocery store’s sales and coupons, either from the newspaper or online.
Once you get to the grocery store, don’t get distracted by what’s in the store. Stick to your plan and only buy the items you need.
Compare unit prices
Make sure to look at each item’s unit price, or price per ounce/pound, before putting it into your cart. That way, you’ll be finding the best value on every item you buy.
Southern Living also recommended checking for "Must-Go" deals on foods that the grocery store is trying to get rid of as they get closer to their sell-by dates.
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Don’t buy name-brand items. Instead, head for the store-brand or generic brand, which will likely include the same ingredients for a lower price.
Buy essentials in bulk and stockpile
According to a report from Insider, buying staple items -- like meat, poultry, rice and pasta -- in bulk can lead to "substantial savings" -- just as long as the items have a lower unit price.
The website also recommended that when you find good deals on staple items, you should stockpile them so you’ll have them around the house until they go on sale again.
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Buy produce in season
According to Southern Living, buying produce out of season means higher costs at the grocery store. If you still want fruits and vegetables out of season, the magazine recommended buying them frozen, canned or dried instead.
Order groceries for pickup
One way to avoid getting distracted by other items in the store is to order your groceries for curbside pickup, Dave Ramsey recommends.
An added benefit is that curbside pickup also saves you time, Ramsey writes.
FOX Business’ Cortney Moore contributed to this report.