Feeling sticker shock from your last trip to the supermarket?
If so, you’re not the only one. Around the world, food prices have risen quickly. The FAO Food Price Index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of food, showed a 2.6 percent increase in food in February – the steepest rise in two years.
The products that have risen the most in the last month include: sugar (+6.2 percent), oils (+4.2 percent), cereal (+3.6 percent) and dairy (+2.9 percent).
Reuters reported about a recent outbreak of disease among pigs that has killed approximately 4 to 5 million pigs since May 2013. What does this mean for you who are bringing home the bacon? It means that you’ll be spending even more money for pork that is already too expensive.
To help you combat the soaring prices, here are six strategies that have helped my family and me save more money at the supermarket.
Strategy #1: Shop on Wednesdays
Of all the days to go grocery shopping during the week, the least expensive day is Wednesday. According to Lifehackers, Wednesday is the day that many stores release new sale ads, but also honor the previous week’s sale items.
And the experts at MyGroceryDeals.com agree that Wednesday has the best deals on groceries. “This is the time when perishables are typically reduced for quick sale. If the Produce, Bakery, of Meat departments are concerned about having too much stock left over at the end of the day, they will often reduce the price by up to 50% to encourage quick sales,” Gord Crowson, a representative of MyGroceryDeals.com, told CBS News.
Strategy #2: Shop Only Once a Week
If you really want to get serious about saving money, you’ll need to limit yourself to shopping once a week. By shopping only one day a week, you will spend a lot less and might even cut your grocery bill in half. But it does take planning, and you will need to have enough food stocked up in your pantry to help you to get through the week.
Strategy #3: Buy Directly from a Rancher
Meat is always expensive, especially beef. And if you’ve seen the cost of ground turkey lately, you know that the price of poultry is on the rise as well. One sure way to save money on meat is to buy directly from a rancher.
Check out Craigslist to find a ranch or farm in your area where you can buy beef or poultry. And the best part is that the meat or poultry will taste better and be better for you.
Strategy #4: Shop Outside the Box
We’ve all been told to shop the perimeters of the stores because most processed food comes in boxes or bags. So when we eliminate these foods, we become healthier and save a lot of more money. Instead of buying boxed foods, try to buy foods that are in the bulk section of the store. Grocery stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods have a great selection of bulk items. However, if you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten, you will need to avoid the bulk items because they may be contaminated with gluten.
Strategy #5: Waste Less Produce
American families waste about 25 percent of their food and beverages that they buy annually. This means that most families waste about $1,500 worth of food each year! Often produce is wasted the most because it can spoil quickly. If you have ripe bananas, you can put them into the freezer to use for smoothies, banana “ice cream” or to make baked goods. You can also freeze kale and spinach to use in smoothies, soups or casseroles. Leftover carrots, celery and onion can be made into a vegetable broth and frozen into ice cubes to use the next time you want to make soup.
Strategy #6: Have Soup Night
No matter how many coupons I clipped, or the number of trips I made to a cheaper grocery store across town, I never managed to save much money. That is, until I started making soup once or twice a week. Here are two of my all-time favorite soup recipes. These recipes are gluten-free, easy to make, and have just a few ingredients. The recipes are vegan, but feel free to add diced ham, sausage or even bacon on top if you’d like to make it a heartier soup.
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 4 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, diced
- 4 c. dried lentils
- 12 cups water or vegetable broth
- Lemon zest from one large lemon
Put the lentils, water (or broth), onion, and pepper in a pot to simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, potatoes and carrots and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and lentils are tender. Add lemon zest. If the lentils have cooked down too much, add another cup of water or broth to make it more stew-like. Serve with homemade rolls or bread.
Black Bean Soup
- 3 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ¾ cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 tsp cumin
- Garnish with:
- Sour cream
Set aside 1 cup of beans in a separate bowl. Put the remaining beans, vegetable or chicken broth, and salsa in a blender. Process until smooth and pour into a pan. Mash the leftover beans with a fork. Add to the saucepan with cumin. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Serve with cornbread.