Lately, we’ve all noticed how much more expensive groceries are—and having growing kids doesn’t help that situation. As a result, either we buy our typical grocery haul and pay a whole lot more, or we stick to our usual budgets and get just a few staples…while wondering what on earth cost so much.
Unfortunately, sticker shock at checkout isn’t going to be easing up anytime soon. Accordingly to the US Department of Agriculture, food prices are nearly 11% higher than they were a year ago… and are expected to rise another 2-3% in 2023. Yikes!
To help us maximize our budget, Stefani Sassos, a Registered Dietitian and Deputy Nutrition Director for the Good Housekeeping Institute, is giving us the scoop on how and when to shop – and the savings are real! Here are her best hacks:
1. Think before you bulk buy. Bulk purchasing can give you a better price per unit and I love a good deal as much as the next person, but don’t overload your cart with items you don’t need. There’s proof this happens: about 30-40% of the food supply in the US is wasted, and Americans discard more food than any other country in the world.
2. Shop in the middle of the week. It’s typically cheaper to shop on Wednesdays because that’s when most grocery stores restock their shelves and mark down what didn’t sell from the week before. The most expensive and busiest days to grocery shop are on the weekend, so try to get to the store during the week when possible.
3. Try a pickup or online grocery service. Shopping for your food online is not only convenient but also a way to watch the total value of your cart add up in real time, which may reel in your spending. This may also prevent you (and the kids) from grabbing extra items in the store that you don’t really need since you’ll be able to skip the in-person trip. You can also compare brand prices online and see what’s on sale.
4. Browse all levels. Eye level items tend to come at a premium and are often the most expensive ones on the shelf. Look at the higher and lower shelves for better prices, with many generic options being stocked on the lower shelves and smaller brands towards the top.
5. Beware of shrinkflation. Shrinkflation involves manufacturers shrinking package sizes without lowering prices. While it isn’t something new, we’re seeing it a lot right now. Always double check the quantity in the products you purchase, even if it’s something you blindly pick up every visit. If the quantity has gone down then it may be worth revisiting other competitors on the shelf to see what is priced best.