You’re not imagining things. Grocery prices really are higher than ever – in fact, they were already measured at 7.9% higher year-over-year as of February 2022, according to the Consumer Price Index. As we head into the second half of the year, it’s a great time to pause and audit your grocery shopping process to start saving.
Plan for success by starting with a pantry and fridge audit. Clear out anything that has spoiled, and then take note of what you can still use as you map out your meal plan for the next week. For example, can you pick up tortillas and fresh avocados to turn that leftover chicken you already have into a taco night? Another easy idea is to freeze spoiling fruit for quick and easy smoothies.
Sit down with your grocery list alongside your calendar for the week to map out meals and snacks that suit your schedule – this avoids waste and may highlight an opportunity to be creative with leftovers from a meal out that’s on your schedule.
Pay To Play
It’s always worth enrolling in your grocery store’s rewards program – beyond saving at every visit, these programs also serve as a digital receipt should you need to return or exchange something. The coupons triggered at checkout are also more targeted to your unique shopping behavior and brand preferences, making them more likely to be coupons you hold onto and use.
Do your homework to find the credit card with the best rewards program for your spending habits. There are specific grocery rewards cards, such as the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, which offers 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year.
Create Your Convenience
Pre-packaged convenience foods are pricey, and with a little planning, you can create your own convenience to save money and reduce waste.
- Fruits & Veggies – the cost of fresh fruit has gone up 10.6% YOY, so skip the pre-cut produce, which is priced the highest. Instead, plan to set aside some time when you get home from the store to wash, peel, slice, and store fruits and veggies in clear glass containers that keep them fresh and convenient to grab on the go.
- Snacks – snack foods are packaged and priced for convenience. Buy your favorite chips, crackers, and nuts in bulk and make your own individual bags using dishwasher-safe Stasher Bags.
- Breakfast – bake in bulk for the week! A stack of pancakes made on Sunday can last all week with a quick zap in the microwave. Overnight oats in mason jars are other great options for keeping the fridge stocked.
Join The Club
Joining a wholesale club like Costco or BJs is a great way to save money and efficiently stock up on household staples. If you can plan a monthly wholesale run for paper goods and pantry staples, you can then focus your shopping on the perimeter of the store. This strategy allows you to save on the things that matter less, like your toilet paper, and splurge on the perimeter of the store – organic fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy, and baked goods.
Bring Your Bags
Bringing your own bags helps to minimize waste and saves you about .10 per bag at most grocery stores. Bonus Points for Mother Earth – don’t forget the produce bags.
At some retailers like Stop & Shop in the Northeast, for example, you can scan your groceries from your smartphone as you shop using the Scan It! App – you can then put them directly into your reusable totes as you shop. This saves time and keeps you accountable for how much you’re accumulating in your cart – when your bags are full, they’re full!
While the supply chain and inflation are out of your control, there are small steps to take that will help your family’s bottom line. On the bright side, you can use a more thoughtful approach to grocery shopping to inspire creativity in the kitchen and shopping sales to discover new brands and try new recipes.