Prepare for Rising Food Costs
It may be 2013, but when it comes to your grocery bill, 2012 is still very much a factor-especially the nationwide droughts and record-high heat that occurred over the summer. Many crops were lost, burned, and diminished, and the result is a domino effect of rising food costs in the new year. Experts predict that the price of groceries could increase by five percent, which equals about $615 more annually for a family of four. The widespread damage to corn and grain means you’ll feel the pinch in just about every aisle, from cereals and baked goods to dairy products, chicken and beef. The good news is you can help offset these costs, by following these tips:
- Buy meat now: Pork, beef and chicken prices have not yet begun to reflect the full impact of the drought, and in fact may even take a dip before they spike. This means you should buy your meat now in bulk, and freeze it for later.
- Consider other sources of protein: Instead of using beef as your main dish, use it as a flavor, and provide the bulk of the protein with a less expensive option like beans.
- Track your receipts: While you probably have one main grocery store, chances are you pick up grocery or household items as needed at a variety of retailers. Hold onto those receipts, and track which store provides the most savings on individual items. You may find it worth your while to shop at a few different stores to get the best deals.
- Shop ethnic: The grain shortage is surely going to impact the cost of noodles and rice, so go to ethnic markets where you’ll often find better deals. You will also find specialty items for less, such as soy sauce, which will go a long way when trying new recipes.
- Eat what’s in your fridge: Keep inventory of your fridge, and plan meals around what you already have and its expiration date. Every unused item that you toss in the garbage is literally money that you are throwing away.
- Eat more fruits: While the weather was tough on field crops and animals, fruits and vegetables thrived. Take advantage of this by incorporating more produce into your diet. The bonus is that it’s also healthy!