Learn to fight inflation and save money with these fifteen pro tips including cooking from scratch, growing your own food and buying in bulk!
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Fight Inflation in the Kitchen
According to the US Inflation Calculator, the US has seen an inflation rate of 8.5% from April 2021-March 2022 and this rate is expected to continue to rise.
This is the highest rate of inflation since the early 80s and if you aren’t paying attention yet, you should be because it’s not going to get better anytime soon. It’s time for everyone to start making some cuts and tightening their belts, so to speak.
I’m sure we’ve all noticed prices going up in the last year, pretty much across the board in all categories, but one place (besides the gas pump and energy bills) that it’s the most noticeable, is at the grocery store. I’ve seen many products go up by thirty, forty or even fifty percent.
What is Inflation?
Inflation is a persistent, substantial rise in the general level of prices related to an increase in the volume of money and resulting in the loss of value of currency (opposed to deflation).
So basically our money is worth less and less as prices go up, which means we need to make some changes in order to be able to afford our daily expenses. One place that you can save a ton of money by making changes is in the kitchen.
Today I’m going to share a list of ways that you can implement to lower your grocery bill and fight inflation. I hope these tips help and if you have any to add to the list, be sure to add them in the comment section below.
Want More Money Saving Tips? Here are some of our favorites:
If you aren’t already buying generic or store-brands of most items, then you need to start immediately. These are actually made by name brand companies and in many cases they taste just as good or even better.
Of course, we all have our favorite products and sometimes, generic just doesn’t cut it, but I’ve found that at least 90% of the time, I’m perfectly happy buying generic and pocketing the extra money.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can save you quite a bit of money, if you’ll actually eat what you’re buying. The more you can buy in large quantities and either store or separate into smaller quantities yourself, the more you will save.
For example, I just made up several packs of these Homemade Instant Oatmeal. They’re not only a larger quantity than the store-bought variety, but they taste better, are healthier and cost only a fraction of the cost of the prepackaged varieties.
Another example would be buying ground beef or chicken breast in bulk packages, instead of 1 lb packages. Pound for pound, the bulk packages are almost always cheaper.
If you’re interested in making spice mixes in bulk then check out these recipes:
- Homemade Taco Seasoning
- Homemade Chili Seasoning
- Homemade Ranch Seasoning
- Homemade Italian Seasoning
Shopping sales to save money seems obvious, but how many people decide what they’re going to make and then go to the store, not even glancing at the sales. The smarter way to meal plan is to make meals with what you already have in the house and to use your grocery budget each week to stock up based on sales and not what you might feel like eating.
Eliminate Convenience Foods
The quickest way to save money at the grocery store is to simply buy less, do you really need three boxes of granola bars, two boxes of goldfish and a box of fruit snacks for your kids to survive the week? I think not.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that we must be stocked up on convenience or snack foods in order to live, but that’s simply not the case. Believe it or not, your family can survive without snacks or they can eat carrots or apples to get through instead of expensive prepackaged food.
If you want to save money, then live without the cookies, chips and soda. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
Eat at Home
Grocery stores aren’t the only places that have been affected by rising costs and inflating prices. I’m sure you’ve noticed that some of your favorite fast food and restaurant establishments have been forced to change their prices. This means that eating at home will save you even more these days. Is it really worth spending $30-40 on one fast food meal for you family? Most of the time I’d say absolutely not.
Each time you eat at home instead of eating out you’ll save a large sum of money. A good tip for learning to eat at home more is to keep several frozen pizzas, nuggets or other quick meals in the freezer for those nights that you don’t have time to cook. It will end up saving you money in the long run, even though cooking from scratch is cheaper.
Drink at Home
What is a post about saving money without mentioning cutting out Starbucks, right? This seems to be the number one tip that everyone gives and of course it will save you thousands, if you’re someone who spends $5-10 per day on coffee or any other kind of specialty drink. So instead of hitting the drive-thru for drinks, learn to make your favorites at home such as this Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Grow Your Own Food
Anything that you can grow at home instead of buying at the store is a savings. Of course, if you don’t eat a lot of fresh produce, then growing your own probably won’t save you much. The crops that you need to focus on to save the highest amount are those that you’re family eats the most.
In our family these are things like eggs, pinto beans, tomatoes, apples, sweet potatoes and garlic. You will have to see what grows best in your climate and make a list of the items that your family eats the most frequently to see your grocery bill really go down. Check out my 15 Money-Saving Gardening Tips That will Save you Hundreds to learn to save even more!
Stock Up Now for Future Savings
In our current economy, with inflation running rampant, today’s regular price is tomorrow’s sale price. This means that buying the most of whatever you can now will save you money in the future. It’s a good idea if possible to stock up on what you can each week.
I’m not saying you should spend money you don’t have or clear the shelves, but what I am saying is to buy one or two extra of the items that you use the most each time that you go to the store.
This habit will help you to stay ahead of any future inflation by purchasing as much as you can at the current price. In today’s world, it is wise to keep extra food, water and emergency supplies on hand, so that you and your family can be prepared for any bumps that might be in the road up ahead.
Visit FEMA for a list of emergency supplies to have on hand for you and your family at all times.
Use Reward or Coupon Apps
Another way to cut down on your grocery bill is to take advantage of any apps that offer coupons, rewards or rebates on things that you already buy or use. I’m sure there are a lot of different apps available, I will list the ones that I use personally below.
- Ibotta – This is a rebate app that you can use at most of your favorite chain stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar General, etc. All you do is add any rebates that you want to take advantage of on the app, purchase the products and upload the receipts to earn gift cards. You can also sync the app to your Wal-Mart account to earn money on grocery pick-up orders. If you sign up using my referral link, then you’ll get a $10 bonus once you upload your first receipt!
- Dollar General – I use this app quite frequently, because they offer a ton of manufacture coupons that can be stacked with store coupons making for great savings. They also have special coupons that can be used on Saturdays only such as $5 off your purchase of $25. When used wisely, this can be a great savings tactic. Check out the Dollar General Digital Coupon group on Facebook to learn more.
- Fetch – I’m new to this app, but I’ve been using it for a few months now and it’s easy enough to use. All you do is scan your receipts to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. They also offer bonus points if you buy specific products. This one hasn’t been a high earner for me yet, but I’m still trying to take advantage little by little of the earnings that do come. If you sign up using my referral link, then you will earn 2,000 bonus points when you scan your first receipt.
- Swagbucks – This one is an oldie, but a goodie. I’ve been using Swagbucks for almost a decade now and it’s actually the first way that I started earning money online. They have a ton of different ways for you to earn Swagbucks which can be turned in for gift cards, such as earning cashback for making purchases, signing up for programs, watching videos, searching, playing games, taking surveys, referring friends and more. If you sign up using my referral link, then you will earn an extra 300 SB after you earn your initial 300.
Let NOTHING Go to Waste
Modern America is notorious for wasting food. I think the statistic is something like 40% of our food goes to waste, which sounds like an impossibly huge number to me. However, I’m sure its true.
I try my best to let nothing go to waste in my kitchen by making sure that we’re always eating leftovers, using scraps to make chicken broth and feeding the rest to our dog and chickens.
If you help in this area, be sure to check out my post 10 Ways to Reduce Food Waste.
Add Fillers to Stretch Meat
A great tip to make your dollar stretch is to use fillers in your ground meats to make them go farther. A few ways that you can do this is to add dried oats, cooked lentils or cooked beans to your ground beef, pork or turkey. Doing this allows you to fill more bellies for less money and most of the time, no one will even notice because it takes on the flavor of the meat. Check out this tutorial on how to add oats to your ground beef for more information.
Learn to Eat Simple Food
A big reason that us Americans spend more on our food than we need to is because we have so many options, too many in my opinion. It’s like we think we have to have a different meal every day of the month or we’ll starve. Of course this isn’t true.
I know they say that variety is the spice of life, but the more you can simplify your diet and learn to eat basic, simple, cheap foods, the more money you will save. Eating things like beans (cooked from dried), rice, lentils, corn, potatoes, etc. will help to make your grocery budget go further.
I know all of the healthy people out there just had a heart attack from me suggesting so many evil carbs, but doing this a couple of times per week isn’t going to kill anyone. If you need help cooking dried beans, the check out my recipe for Slow Cooker Pinto Beans.
Preserve Everything That You Can
If you grow any significant amount of food, then it isn’t long before you start to ask yourself, “What am I going to do with all of this?”. The best answer is to preserve as much of your abundance as you possibly can. The most common ways to preserve are through canning, dehydrating, freezing and fermenting. There are tons of books or internet tutorials out there to get you started in this area if you need them. As they say, grow what you can and can what you grow!
Check out these easy preservation recipes:
- Strawberry Freezer Jam
- Dried Apple Rings
- Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
- How to Freeze Celery
Learn to Reverse Meal Plan
Most people know how to make a traditional meal plan where you write down the meals that you want to make and then buy food accordingly, but if you want to save the most money, then this isn’t the way to do it.
The better way is to plan meals based on what you already have in the house and then spend your grocery budget each week on basic necessities and what’s on sale. If you find a good deal on something that your family eats regularly, then buy as many as your budget permits to save the most in the long run. If you do this each week, you’ll be amazed at how much you can save.
Limit Trips to the Grocery Store
My last tip might seem obvious, but I’m not sure many people actually implement it. The more you go into the store, the more you spend on impulse buys that you don’t really need.
If you can survive doing a once a month shop with a smaller fill in haul mid-month, that will save you the most, but even going every other week is best. If you run out of something between shops, find a substitute or learn to go without. Also, NEVER GO TO THE GROCERY STORE HUNGRY!
I hope these inflation fighting tips help you to get the most of out of your grocery budget. If you have any tips to add, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Happy Saving Friends!