High oil prices, difficult harvests for farmers, and a weak dollar—they all contribute to skyrocketing prices at the grocery store. Here's how to get some more control over the situation.
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- Before you hit the store, take inventory of what you already have so you don't overbuy. No one needs ten cans of chickpeas.
- Purchase certain things in bulk like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, rice, and pasta.
- Go for generic brands. They often contain the exact same ingredients as name-brand products.
- Have a snack before you hit the store, so you don't shop hungry (if you're someone who inhales chips while you push the cart, we're talking to you).
- According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (they have a really informative website), eating healthier actually reduces your food bill. Scaling down portion sizes, buying less soda, baked goods, and chips all help to save money—and you'll look better in a bathing suit.
- Several times a week, swap out more expensive meat and fish for vegetarian protein options like tofu, beans, and eggs.
- Buy produce in season. Six-dollar berries in December? A no-no.
- Shop at local farmer's markets, which have good deals on produce.
- If you have the time to cut coupons for groceries, go for it (and more power to you). Three of the top sites for couponing are Coupons.com, SmartSource.com, and ValPak.com.
- RedPlum.com is a handy resource because it gives you coupons based on your ZIP code.
- Plan a weekly menu so you know exactly what food you need and what you plan to do with it. If that sounds overwhelming, believe us, we understand. But try this: for recipe ideas, subscribe to an email service like Saving Dinner, to receive weekly meal plans.
- Buying larger quantities of food and shopping less often is a good way to save money. Cook larger batches, use leftovers for lunch, or freeze portions in smaller containers to whip up meals in a flash.
- Ease up on the Lean Cuisines and cook from scratch more often.
- Cut down on waste. Don't throw away leftover parsley, cilantro, celery, and onions—freeze them.
Ryan Homes Tip: Consider planning your weekly menu by what's on sale. Many stores have online sites where you can receive email alerts about specials.