With the country experiencing record levels of unemployment and as the coronavirus pandemic continues, shoppers have had to contend with higher prices on many common food items, including meat, milk and eggs.
The Labor Department reported Tuesday that consumers paid 2.6% more for groceries in April than in March — the largest one month increase since February 1974. The price of meat, poultry, fish and eggs rose 4.3%, cereals and bakery products jumped 2.9%, and fruits, vegetables and dairy goods all gained 1.5%. The price index for eggs alone climbed just over 16% — the biggest increase for any single food.
How to Save Money On Groceries During The Coronavirus Pandemic
1. Shop around
If you typically do most of your food shopping at the local grocery chain, it may be worth looking at other stores where you wouldn’t normally go, Lempert says. That includes budget retailers like Aldi and Lidl. Part of the secret to these stores’ low prices is that the vast majority of their products are private label, so you’re not paying for the marketing and advertising that many brands use to attract customers.
2. Shop local
With the weather in many parts of the country starting to warm up and many of the stay-at-home orders ending, expect farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs to re-start. When they do, those may be great resources for shoppers looking for more variety at relatively stable prices,
3. Buy private labels
If you’re looking to cut costs, shop the store’s own brand, Lempert suggests. It’s almost always cheaper than national name brand products by 20% to 30% on average and You won’t lose out on quality.
4. Pick up frozen first
While the price of meats, poultry, fish and eggs rose 4.3% in April, the cost of frozen varieties of those same products has remained more stable you’re going to see fewer price increases there, especially on the meat, beef, chicken type of products, Shoppers don’t need to stress about finding these products as much now as at the beginning of the pandemic when many Americans were stocking up on supplies.
5. Pay attention to ingredients
The prices on some pantry staples may be stable now, but the ability to keep those prices consistent in the coming months will depend on their ingredients, Take boxed macaroni and cheese. It has milk as a major ingredient, so it’s more likely to have a price increase than a wild rice mix because the price of dairy products are already up 1.5%.
While it’s a good idea to continue to purchase shelf-stable products right now, start to pay more attention to prices on products that contain ingredients that may have had more challenges during the pandemic.
6. Avoid prepared foods
If you’re looking to trim your food budget, it’s worth considering making everything from scratch and skipping prepared foods or meals that come from a box, . Not only are these generally more expensive, but the company making the meal may soon start passing on the higher raw ingredient costs.
Think about purchasing pasta, ground beef, tomato and spices separately instead of picking up a boxed pasta meal. At the end of the day, economic forces around supply and demand are driving most of the price increases. Plus, many consumers are still adjusting to cooking more meals at home. As a result, consumers are not sure how much food to keep on hand for daily meals
Source: | CNBC