Tips to save money at the supermarket as inflation rises

As American households face rising costs for basic necessities, consumers are seeking savings on their grocery bills any way they can find.

According to the latest inflation data, the price of groceries rose 12.2 percent nationwide in June from a year earlier, the fastest pace since April 1979.

Rising food prices played a major role in driving headline inflation to 9.1 percent in the month, a four-decade high.

Meanwhile, a recent study found that 61 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and the burden of higher food and gas prices is stretching many families’ budgets.

Discount chains, including dollar stores, have seen a big spike in grocery sales as shoppers try to stretch their paychecks through the month and keep food on the table.

Here, DailyMail.com offers tips on how to find healthy but cheaper substitutes for common grocery items, based on an analysis of national average retail prices from the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce.

DailyMail.com offers suggestions on ideas for cheaper substitutes for common grocery items, based on an analysis of national average retail prices

DailyMail.com offers suggestions on ideas for cheaper substitutes for common grocery items, based on an analysis of national average retail prices

Shoppers can also often save money by selecting fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season where they live, reducing shipping costs and taking advantage of more abundant supplies.

Tips for smart buyers

  • Buy seasonal products
  • Compare prices per ounce
  • Check Store Brand Alternatives
  • Sign up for free loyalty programs
  • Avoid pre-cut or prepared items
  • Stick to a shopping list or order ahead online to stay within your budget

The USDA maintains a helpful list of seasonal produce to help guide consumers in selecting fruits and vegetables for each season.

Another key tip is to compare the unit prices of packaged products, showing the price per ounce.

With ‘reduced inflation’ on the rise, many manufacturers are quietly reducing their serving sizes without cutting prices.

Comparison of unit prices (the cost per ounce or per gram) can reveal which option is really the best.

Most cost-conscious shoppers also know to look for store-brand alternatives to packaged items like cereal and crackers.

Although stores put brand-name items at eye level to capture the attention of shoppers, most supermarket chains have their own store brands that are of similar quality, but lower priced, on the shelves. lower.

Many stores also have a section with discount baked goods that expire soon, although these are sometimes tucked away in a discreet back corner away from the main bakery section.

Another money-saving tip is to go for the least pre-processed article. You pay more for each step of cutting and packaging.

For example, a block of cheese will cost less than a package of pre-cut slices, and whole heads of broccoli are cheaper than a bag of pre-cut florets.

Also, most supermarket chains offer loyalty programs that are free to join and automatically offer discounts at checkout without the need to clip coupons.

And when it comes to clipping coupons, be judicious. Discounts on items you normally buy can save you money, but avoid the temptation to expand your shopping list just to take advantage of a discount.

Inflation in the US rose to 9.1% in June, the highest since 1981

Inflation in the US rose to 9.1% in June, the highest since 1981

Consumer advocates say that one of the best ways to shop on a budget is to make a shopping list and stick to it.

Many stores also offer the option to order groceries online for in-store pickup at no additional charge, as long as the order is a certain size.

Shoppers who order ahead can carefully craft their shopping list to ensure it stays within their budget and won’t be tempted to splurge on other items once they’re in the store.

Inflation is the top issue for 24 percent of Americans, according to a YouGov poll released last week. Rising prices was far ahead of the second priority, jobs and the economy, at 12 percent.

Experts blame inflation for everything from supply chain problems to the impact of the war in Ukraine on food and energy markets. Still, the high prices have undoubtedly hurt President Joe Biden’s approval rating, which has dropped to about 37 percent.

Meanwhile, more Americans are turning to discount chains to find groceries on a budget, including dollar stores that often don’t offer fresh produce.

Grocery sales at discount stores rose 71 percent between October 2021 and June 2022, analytics firm InMarket found, while grocery store sales of the same items fell 5 percent.

San Antonio resident Lily Penelope recently told The Wall Street Journal how her family had begun to rely on a local Dollar General for groceries, eating mostly canned chicken, peanut butter and vegetables from the store.

Penelope, 26, is unable to drive due to a disability and can no longer afford the cost of food at the local supermarket or the cost of an Uber to get there. Previously, the total for such a trip was about $120, they said, but since January that cost has nearly doubled.

Customers shop at a Dollar Tree in Chicago.  According to a spokesperson for the chain, 16,162 of its stores sell frozen items, along with sugar-free groceries, whole-wheat options, milk and eggs.

Customers shop at a Dollar Tree in Chicago. According to a spokesperson for the chain, 16,162 of its stores sell frozen items, along with sugar-free groceries, whole-wheat options, milk and eggs.

DailyMail.com took a look at the prices of everyday items and calculated how much they would cost if inflation stayed at the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target rate, not the runaway increases we've seen in the past year, to find out how much more they currently consume the consumers.  payment

DailyMail.com took a look at the prices of everyday items and calculated how much they would cost if inflation stayed at the Fed’s 2 percent target rate, not the runaway increases we’ve seen in the past year, to find out how much they’re currently paying. additional consumers.

“My health and quality of life have declined,” Penelope said, “I’m in a position where I have to choose between making meals I can afford and putting my health at risk.”

The Dollar General closest to Penelope doesn’t sell fresh produce, a problem faced by many across the country when they turn to dollar stores for relief.

Of Dollar General’s more than 18,000 locations across the country, only about 2,300 carry fresh produce, something the store said they’re working to improve but don’t expect to see fulfilled for “several years.”

“While Dollar General is not a full-service grocery store, we see ourselves as today’s general store by providing close and affordable access to household essentials, including the components of a nutritious meal,” a spokesperson said. . He added that the company expected to stock fresh produce in 10,000 locations in the next few years.

Until then, consumers will have to rely on their choices of boxed, canned and, if available, frozen items. Although such products are less healthy, customers are willing to put up with those drawbacks for the price.

“Everything there is super sweet,” Phoenix Kamlo, 41, told The Wall Street Journal, “but it’s close and it’s cheap.”

Dollar Tree has echoed Dollar General’s sentiment that they were never intended to be grocery stores for their customers, and are instead meant to complement more robust grocery options.

According to a spokesperson for the chain, 16,162 of its stores sell frozen items, along with sugar-free groceries, whole-wheat options, milk and eggs.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.