March 12, 2022
Everyone knows we’re in for some rocky roads ahead, especially during our trips to the grocery store. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated this to a large degree. Consumer prices shot up 7.9% in February and it appears this trend will continue indefinitely. Talk about anxiety and stress, especially for those of us about to retire or are already living on a fixed income. I find these 10 tips to be very helpful in the face of feeling so helpless as prices skyrocket. Hope you do too.
1. What’s in Your Pantry and Freezer? Before you go grocery shopping, make a habit of checking the shelves of your pantry and freezer first. Canned goods, pasta and other pantry staples tend to get forgotten in dark corners. By taking inventory of what you already have at home, you’ll avoid mistakenly buying multiples of the same item. You might be able to shorten your grocery list (and spend less). You’ll also reduce the chance of food going bad before you remember to eat it.
2. Do Meal Prep: Planning out your meals and making grocery lists based on a meal plan means you’ll be less likely to waste money on something that looks good in the store, but you never get around to eating.
3. Minimize Food Waste: As we are paying more for food – meats, dairy, bread etc. – the last thing you want it to let it spoil and go to waste. It’s like throwing your hard-earned after-tax cash in the trash. It’s estimated we throw 30% to 40% of our food away! Grocery lists, frozen foods, storing items where you can see them and keeping fridges and pantries organized is helpful. If you like to garden like me, growing our own food is also delicious and gardening is a great stress buster.
4. Choose Store Brands Over Name Brands: Name brand groceries and drugs are always priced higher and most times you can’t even tell the difference. The ingredients are usually the same.
5. Buy in Bulk: Typically, you will pay less per item and only buy what you’ll need.
6. Embrace Your Inner Vegan: Going meat free or just cutting back on meat consumption is better for your budget, your body and the planet. The animals will thank you too.
7. Save on Produce: Buying local, seasonal produce is always best and choosing frozen over fresh are two big ways to save.
8. Be Smart About Filling Up the Gas Tank: Get out your bike, carpool, take public transit, use fuel comparison apps like “Gas Buddy” and leverage fuel reward programs as much as possible. Avoid short trips and walk instead.
9. Consider Buying 2nd Hand Clothing: Local thrift stores, and gently used clothing shops are a great way to save and recycle clothes that might have ended up in a landfill. What’s old is new again as they say.
10. Learn to Barter: I’m always amazed when shopping at local markets in other countries the way some people are so natural at bartering. Likewise, offering a product or service in exchange for items you need can be an excellent way to save – think exchanging dog sitting for free coaching services – I could sure use that!
May Your Anchor Hold