You’ve surely noticed by now that gas prices have risen, and they don’t appear to easing anytime soon. The gas pump isn’t the only place you’ll shell out more dough. Next up? The grocery. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects retail food prices to rise between 3% and 4% this year.
But, before you blame fuel prices on rising cost of food, they’re actually not the enemy (not yet, anyway). The actual culprit is rising demand and tightened supplies of basic commodities like corn and grain due to bad weather patterns. In turn, this means its more expensive to raise and produce cattle and poultry.
The good news is, a four per cent increase in food isn’t that much money in reality (on a $150 grocery bill, that represents just $6). Here are four simple ways to save at the grocery store.
1. Use a Rewards Credit Card. Many rewards credit cards like Chase Freedom and Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa and Mastercards offer 5% cash back on purchases up to a certain amount. As long as you pay the card in full each month, you’ll outpace the rising costs of food.
2. Know When Your Grocery Store Unloads Inventory. All grocery stores need to get rid of their surplus inventory, and most will choose a designated day and time of day, to mark their “manager’s specials.” Ask your local grocer what day that is for them, and go there to save up to half off standard prices on meats, produce and baked goods.
3. Take Advantage of New Technology. Paper coupons are becoming a thing of the past; many grocers now allow you to load customised savings right onto your rewards card. Read my previous post on grocery rewards to find out how.
4. Know What Not to Buy at the Grocery. It’s convenient to pick up other items like paper products and food storage at the grocery store, but you might pay three times as much. Items like gift wrap and aluminium foil are notoriously more pricey at the grocery store than at dollar stores.