So, what can you do to help minimize the effect of rising food costs from spoiling your budget? Consider the following:
· Make a list of what you need before you head to the store. Taking time upfront to create a menu for the week and then buying only the items on your grocery list can help you avoid impulse purchases. It may also reduce the amount you spend at the store and the volume of spoiled or expired food you toss out at home.
· Clip coupons or sign up for online sites that enable you to print them. To help you take the most advantage of using coupons and where to find the best values, consider using free or subscription sites that compare store prices, such as couponmom.com or thegrocerygame.com.
· Shop farmer’s markets, which often have fresher produce at lower costs than grocery stores — in part because they offer in-season fruits and vegetables. Also, because the food is locally grown it costs less to transport.
· Buy fresh foods. Typically, the more a food is processed and packaged, the more it costs. Shop the outside perimeter of your grocery store ─ this is typically where the fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats and baked goods are located.
· Compare unit prices. Often included on the in-store shelving price tag, this price can help you identify the best value — and the larger size isn’t always it. For example, you may find a two-pound package of strawberries prices at $5.99. Yet, if the one-pound packages of strawberries are on sale two for $5, that offers you the best value.
· Buy in bulk and split the items and the cost with a family member or friend. This is especially beneficial if you like the prices offered at warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club but can’t typically consume the quantity of their items before they expire.
Renée A. Hanson, CFP®, CEP®, CDFA™, CFS, is a private wealth advisor with Hanson, Ayala & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Her passion is in helping women achieve their dreams and financial goals, regardless of life’s many obstacles. Renée is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of AZ, CA, CO, GA, IA, IL, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI. Please visit: www.reneehanson.com to learn more.
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