Groceries can get expensive, whether you're shopping for one or a family of four. But, in the wake of COVID-19, the prices for certain grocery items have skyrocketed.
In some areas, prices for staples like meat, milk, fruit and cleaning supplies still haven't fallen to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, many people are buying more groceries to prepare meals at home instead of going to restaurants, which is driving up the demand.
If you're looking for ways to spend wisely and trim your grocery bill, try some of these money-saving tips:
Chop your own fruits and veggies
It can be tempting to reach for pre-cut fruits and veggies to save time and effort in the kitchen. But in some cases, grocery stores sell pre-sliced produce for up to three times the cost of whole items! It's well worth it to get a quality knife and do it yourself. If you don't want to spend time chopping by hand, investing in a vegetable dicer can make the process easier.
Make homemade snack packs
Pre-packaged snacks are convenient, especially for busy families. The downside is that single-serve packs often cost more per ounce compared to a bigger bag of the same food. Save money by buying snacks like nuts, dried fruit or cookies in bulk and portioning them into reusable bags or containers you can grab and go. It may take a little extra prep work, but you'll get much more for your money!
Buying brand name isn't always best, especially when you're trying to trim your grocery budget. Research finds that generic, store-brand foods and beverages are at least 20 to 25 percent less expensive than name brands of the same product, and the quality is typically just as good as brand name, if not better! To save money, consider switching to generic for staple items such as milk, juice, baking supplies, spices and cleaning products. And be sure to sign-up for free store rewards programs (like a Kroger Plus card) to make sure you're getting the best prices.
Rethink fresh vs. frozen
Few things are as frustrating as fresh produce going bad before you get a chance to eat it! Luckily, you can save money and make food last longer by buying frozen fruit and veggies instead or buying fresh and freezing yourself. You'll get the same benefits of fresh produce without the risk of food waste.
Try a meatless meal
Going meat-free for just one meal a week is a tiny change that can produce big results. The price of fresh meat averages $4-6 per pound, whereas vegetables are only $1-2 per pound. Plus, non-meat protein sources such as eggs, beans and tofu are almost always less expensive than meat per gram of protein. Consider making a vegetarian recipe one night a week—it's a great way to eat well, help the planet and save on groceries at the same time!
Make grocery shopping on a budget a little easier
Even with food prices on the rise, it's possible to spend wisely at the grocery store and get more for your hard-earned money. All it takes is a little planning!
Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help you spend wisely every day with our easy-to-use budgeting worksheets, spreadsheets and interactive learning modules. Explore our online Education Center for more!