Record levels of inflation are causing many consumers to scramble when it comes to budgeting these days. Cutting back is easier on certain items, but a little more challenging when it comes to essentials like groceries. So how do you make sure your money goes as far as it can at the grocery store? If you’re feeling the squeeze at the grocery store due to rising prices (thanks, inflation), here are five easy steps you can take now to help find some relief.
Develop new habits.
If you don’t change how you shop, and you just settle for higher prices, you’re going to pay more for groceries. If that’s not an option for you, it’s time to create some new habits. My first suggestion: Find free money in the form of cashback offers. The key is to use these offers regularly—to make earning cashback a habit. This is absolutely the best way to fight inflation and create a little cash stash that you can then use for next month’s groceries or save for a splurge down the road.
Make that list!
Studies have shown that buyers who shop with a list tend to spend less. Having a list helps you create some boundaries. Even if you hate to make a shopping list, at least refer to your offers list—that’s where the money is honey! And every offer you check off that list means more cash in your pocket.
Abandon old impulses to splurge.
If you love retail therapy like me, this is a hard one—we’ve had a tough few years, the economy has had its ups and downs, and now the world feels uneasy. For those of us who like to shop when we’re stressed, well, let’s just say we’ve had a lot of opportunities. However, rising prices make this a precarious way to deal with anxiety, which could throw us into debt and create even more stress.
One way to avoid temptation is to simply cut down on the amount of time you spend going into stores in the first place. I buy my groceries online and opt for free curbside pickup or delivery, and the best part: I can still use my cashback offers on those purchases.
Meal plan if you can.
When you plan your meals in advance, you’re more likely to just buy the things you need. If planning’s not your thing, at least go shopping with a rough idea of what you’ll be cooking in the week ahead to give you a little direction. One thing that’s helped me is planning with another family who likes to shop where I do. I’m a diehard Sam’s Club fan, but I’m also a single woman cooking for one, so I like to share my food purchases at Costco with another family who eats many of the same things I do. We split the cost, and it also cuts down on waste.
Another meal planning tip: Pick a protein (fish, chicken, ground beef, etc.) and see how many dishes you can make with it—that gives you a starting point for your meal plan, and you can expand from there. Plus, don’t forget dessert (duh).
Be open to trying new things.