If it’s been a while since you ventured into your local grocery store, prepare yourself. You’re in for a shock. And I’m not talking about the empty shelves and plexiglass barriers. I’m talking about sticker shock. Everybody’s talking about how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from Coronavirus. What we need to talk about today is how to beat rising grocery prices during the pandemic and how to protect your wallet.
Here’s What’s Getting More Expensive
Brace yourself, this isn’t pretty. Grocery prices aren’t just gradually increasing, they’re racing through the stratosphere. According to a May 14, 2020 article at CNN on the grocery index:
- Egg prices shot up 16.1% last month
- Milk, bread and juice prices rose 1.5%, 3.7% and 3.8%, respectively
- Fruit prices were up 1.5%, led by apples (4.9%) and oranges (5.6%)
- Chicken shot up 5.8%, fresh fish soared 4.2%, and hot dogs got 5.7% more expensive
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This ground beef at Kroger? It used to be around $14.00. The price has increased by 34%! And it’s only 73% lean!
How To Beat Rising Grocery Prices During The Pandemic
Change the way you look at your shopping list
Be prepared to shop for substitutions for items on your list. Many of the items you regularly buy will be out of stock, now. For example, people all across America have decided to use their time during lockdown learning to bake bread. Good luck to you if you like to keep a few packets of yeast in your pantry, you won’t find it anywhere.
Many of the items you regularly buy will be more expensive, too. For example, my family likes to keep those Knorr Pasta Sides on hand and they’re usually priced at 10 for $10 at my local Kroger. These days, they’re $1.25, which makes them not such a bargain anymore.
Go ahead and make your shopping list like you always have but look at it as more of a “Want” list instead of a “Need” list. You are not going to find everything you have on your list and if you do, it’s definitely going to be more expensive.
Change your family’s eating habits
Like I said, most of the things you normally put on your shopping list are going to be a bit more expensive. I’d like to be able to say, “Buy THIS instead of THAT” but you just don’t know what’s going to be in stock and at what price these days.
Instead, look around at what’s in stock at a price you can afford and work it into your family’s meal plan. Grocery stores are set up so that the most popular items are at eye level and that’s where are the empty spaces are. Look around and you’ll find lots of inexpensive alternatives.
Change the way you plan your meals
Maybe it’s time to forget about Taco Tuesday and the family feast on Sunday. These days you can’t be inflexible in your meal plans because that taco seasoning is probably out of stock and… have you seen the price for a roast lately?! If you want to save money you have to be willing to pivot on a dime. Focus on just feeding your family a healthy, nutritious meal that won’t bust your budget.
Be prepared to shop
If you normally shop the perimeter, now’s the time to branch out and explore the rest of the store. For example, my family likes a particular brand of frozen orange chicken. The last time I shopped it was out of stock but as I was exploring the store I found the same item in two other locations – in stock!
The price on chicken these days is outrageous. That big yellow sticker might quickly put an end to your plans to make chicken pot pies for dinner. Explore the frozen food aisle. You might find plenty of stock on Marie Calendar’s chicken pot pies and they’re were cheaper than if you bought all the ingredients and made them yourself.
Start using grocery coupons
Reports vary but the average consumer can expect to save 25 – 35% when they use grocery coupons. With the right coupons and a well-planned trip you can save 50 – 75% or more. (Here’s an example of how we saved 83% with coupons!)
I know, I know… You don’t have time to look for coupons and sort coupons and clip coupons and I agree. These are very stressful times we’re living in and everyone’s schedule has been hijacked.
But the fact is, each one of those little coupons means you’re spending less money at the grocery store. They add up. And saving money on staples means you have the money you need to pay for things like meat, eggs, and milk.
If lack of time prevents you from being able to put a nutritious meal in front of your family, let a coupon clipping service do the work for you. Visit The Happy Couponer Marketplace where you’ll find coupon clippers from all over the United States, ready and willing to help you combat those rising grocery prices during the pandemic.