Commodity food prices are expected to rise by three to four percent in the next year, and there is an expectation that these increases will have a ripple effect on prices of consumer packaged goods, which could result in even higher percentage increases for consumers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture report noted the following expected price increases:
- Beef: 4-5 percent
- Dairy: 3.5-4.5 percent
- Poultry and eggs: 3-4 percent
- Pork: 2.5-3.5 percent
- Fruits and vegetables: 2-3 percent
Make a Plan
Savings at the grocery store start with organization and planning. With just 45 minutes, a computer and a weekly grocery circular, the average shopper can go home with $260 worth of groceries for less than $150. Over the course of one year, that shopper can save more than $5,000 by simply:
- Setting aside a few minutes each week to sit down and plan meals around store sales.
- Visiting sites like Coupons.com and manufacturer sites to print out coupons or save them directly to a store loyalty card.
- Following brands and retailers on social media sites for deals.
- Leveraging technology; mobile applications, like Grocery iQ, let shoppers easily find coupons and organize shopping lists.
In addition to couponing and planning, here are a few of my tricks:
- Plan meals around what produce is in season. The quality and prices will be better.
- Avoid precut or pre-portioned food. The price of convenience is not worth the added cost.
- Sometimes it's cheaper to buy items like potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, onions and lemons in bulk bags versus individually; do the math before you buy.
- Ask your butcher what time of day they typically mark down meat as many stores do two rounds of markdowns (30 percent in morning, 60 percent off in the evening for the items left).
- Look up and down. More inexpensive brands and better deals may be located on the bottom or top of shelves.
- Stock up on freezable items like meat and bread when they are on sale. Use a permanent marker and write your purchase date on the package so you know how long it's been in the freezer.
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