Between the long, cold winter and ongoing California drought, grocery prices have been steadily rising over the past year, and there doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight.
However, there are a few things you can do to keep that grocery bill from getting out of hand.
Plan menus for the week
Take a few minutes to sit down and plan out some meals for coming days with the idea of reusing some of the same ingredients. For example, you can buy a bulk package of chicken for chicken tacos on Tuesday, and have enough left over for grilled chicken sandwiches on Thursday. Green peppers go great on a homemade pizza, and they also work in salads the next night. Planning ahead of time cuts down on the trips to the store and not only saves gas, it also saves time.
Choose the best store
Look at your shopping list and pick the store that has the best prices for that list. Publix might have really cheap ground beef, but Wal-mart could have great prices on canned goods. If you want in-season produce, check the farmers’ market. If you’re buying non-perishables like toilet paper or diapers, Costco or BJ’s will probably have the best savings.
Pay attention to the ‘price per unit’
With stores setting up all kinds of deals, it can be confusing when trying to figure out the best deal for a particular item. The trick is to start looking at the ‘price per unit’ section of the shelf price tag. The PPU section will tell you, for example, that one box of pasta is 11 cents per ounce, while another one costs 15 cents per ounce.
Pay attention to the weekly specials
Really try to stick to your list, but if you must stray from it, go with the deeply discounted weekly specials. Look for BOGOs (Buy One, Get One Free) which dramatically cuts your costs.
Often featured in weekly flyers or as the “Manager’s Special,” these items are priced to either lure you to the store or move discontinued items. Since they’re typically sold at or below cost, stocking up allows you to stretch that rare discount over a longer period of time. If the store runs out of an advertised special, be sure to get a rain check.
Buy store brands
Ask anyone who works in a food production facility and they’ll tell you that – most of the time – the only difference between a store brand and a brand name product is the packaging. They’re almost always made with the same ingredients. They just cost less.
Look after your produce
Produce can stay fresh for a while – you just have to look after it in order to keep it from going bad. When you bring fruit, vegetable or fresh herbs home, know what should be put in the refrigerator and what should be left out. Also, know what should be stored in airtight containers and what can be exposed. If you buy fresh herbs and don’t use all of them, you can always dry them out chop them up, and pop the chopped herbs into a labeled container for later use.
At CAREERXCHANGE®, we know that the best way to combat rising grocery prices is to make more money – and that’s something we can help you with. Stop in to either of our locations to check out all the career opportunities we have in store.