8 Things you can do to fight food inflation
By: Divina Ramirez
Food prices have noticeably increased for consumers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, it seems inflation is here to stay due to structural changes in the country’s supply chain and robust demand for food and other essential commodities amid the pandemic.
It’s important that you know how to deal with rising food prices so you don’t bust your grocery budget or, worse, rely on credit cards and accumulate debt.
Here are eight things you can do to fight food inflation: (h/t to LivingLifeInRuralIowa.com)
1. Set a budget and stick to it.
One of the best ways to beat inflation is to follow a realistic budget. This ensures that you’re watching what you spend and buying only what you really need.
Set your budget based on what you have spent over the last three to six months on groceries, then allocate your money at the beginning of each month. Stick to the spending limits you have set until the month is up.
2. Determine the unit price of an item.
Sometimes, what may seem like a good deal actually isn’t when you calculate what you’re really paying per unit of the product, which is known as unit pricing. By determining the price of a product per unit, you’ll know whether or not you’re getting the best bang for your buck when bulk buying items or buying items on sale.
Shoppers can get tripped up by sale deals, thinking they’re getting the item at a better price when they’re really not. When prices go up, you’ll be getting the same amount of food for a higher price. As such, you need to be smart about how you spend your money, even if it means saving only a few dollars.
3. Watch for sales.
Make the most of your grocery budget and keep your pantry stocked by shopping during sales.
Grocery stores and supermarkets usually discount products that are nearing their expiration dates. Any dollars are better than no dollars if the products have to be thrown away soon. Stores also sometimes discount new items to entice shoppers to buy them. Some may also offer discounts during holidays to get more sales.
4. Eat cheaper cuts of meat.
Beef and pork prices reached record highs over the last two months due to higher grain prices amid the pandemic, meaning now is not the time to indulge in steak or prime ribs.
Instead, choose meats that can be easily stretched in a meal or over many meals, like chicken and ground meat. Chicken, in particular, is a great investment because you can use the bones and scraps to make stock for a second or third meal.
Opting for vegetarian dishes instead of meat some days will also help you save money.
5. Lessen food waste.
You waste money by throwing out food. Here are some tips for reducing food waste at home:
• Shop smart. Don’t buy more perishable foods than what you need.
• Store food wisely. Move older products to the front of the pantry and new ones to the back.
• Learn to preserve. Pickling, canning and drying can make food last longer.
• Eat “ugly” fruits and vegetables. They’re just as nutritious as perfect-looking ones.
• Keep your refrigerator clutter-free.
• Freeze leftovers from large meals in clear containers.
• Implement portion control to avoid leftovers.
• Eat fruit peels or compost them.
6. Cook from scratch.
Cooking from scratch saves you money in the long run. When you cook, you know what ingredients you’re putting in your food as well, which cannot be said for processed foods. Set aside a day to cook food ahead. That way, you can simply reheat the food when you need it.
7. Grow your own food.
You can save a huge amount of money by growing your own fruits, herbs and vegetables, especially if they constitute a significant amount of your budget. Start by saving seeds from the produce that you buy.
8. Prepare a weekly meal plan.
It can be tempting to eat outside when you don’t know what to make for lunch or dinner. To avoid unnecessary expenses, prepare a list of meals to make for the week. Take note of the ingredients you need and their prices so that you can factor them into your grocery budget. (Related: Meal planning and buying in bulk can reduce the cost of eating healthy.)
Preparedness.news has more articles about stockpiling food for emergencies.