“Milk is how much now? Unreal.”
You’ve probably said or thought something similar as you looked at your staple food purchases. As a family with three growing (and constantly hungry) boys, we get it. Inflation, the decreasing of purchasing power, is impacting all of us. When compared to last year, our dollars simply cannot purchase the same amount of goods.
And we are reminded of this every time the grocery store receipt prints out.
So, how can your family stay within the grocery budget during these times of increasing prices? Here are a few tips:
1. Make a list.
And stick to the list. The grocery store is set up to make you spend more than you originally planned. There is a reason staple products, like milk, are set in the back corner. The owners want you to walk through their entire store, increasing the temptation to make unplanned purchases along the way. A list is your weapon against this temptation. Before you go to the store, make a list. When you get to the store, put your blinders on, and only purchase what you need.
2. Plan your meals.
Only purchase food you plan to eat. This sounds simple enough. However, many families waste a significant amount of food (and money) every month. Planning meals allows your grocery list to reflect what you will actually eat. Your grocery list should be an extension of your meal planning.
3. Use rewards programs.
Many stores offer discounts through rewards programs. Reward programs most benefit those who stick to a single grocery store. Of course, that is their goal—to make you a loyal customer. If your go-to grocery store has a rewards program, consider using it (unless they require you to sign up for a credit card). However, continue to look at prices offered at other grocery stores. Don’t assume that a rewards program guarantees the lowest price.
4. Buy store brands.
Marketers have done a good job convincing us that name brands reflect quality. However, store brands now offer comparable quality to name brands at a reduced cost. Place the store brand product in a generic storage container, and your family will likely not realize they are consuming a store brand.
5. Create a shopping routine.
Habits can be helpful. Shopping routines can reduce the desire to make unplanned purchases. For many families, it is the spontaneous or random shopping trips that cause problems. Designate a day or days each week for grocery shopping. Make sure you have planned your meals in advance and have created a list that reflects those meals. Let those planned meals dictate your shopping routine.
6. Don’t buy something just because you have a coupon.
Coupons are great. However, a coupon is only helpful it discounts an item you were already going to purchase. Stores often produce coupons that entice you to purchase something out of the ordinary. A $1 off coupon on a $10 item you were not planning to purchase still costs you $9. The coupon did not save you money. The coupon caused you to spend more money.
God has called us to wisely steward all the resources He has given us. This includes the money He has provided us for groceries. During inflationary times, we must be extra vigilant with our shopping. Follow these tips to help stay within your grocery budget.