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Saving money and buying groceries may feel like mutually exclusive goals nowadays. Food is pricey, and you don’t even have to live in the country’s most expensive cities to get gouged on the bill. Find out why that is, and how you can fill your pantry without emptying your wallet.
You Have Inflation to Blame
Although New York and LA are infamous for prices as high as their skyscrapers, inflation affects everyone regardless of the town — from Dover, Delaware to Ojai, California. According to Delaware Public Media, inflation will climb to 4.2% across the nation by the end of the year.
Luckily, experts believe inflation will dip down to around 2.2% by 2022. But until then, you can expect to pay more for groceries.
Borrowing Money isn’t an Option
Usually, when a surprise bill takes your budget for a ride, you can turn to an installment loan online for help. Online installment loans are designed to take care of unexpected emergency expenses when you don’t have room in your budget.
Installment loans are tightly regulated by your state, even if you get them online. This means you’ll have to stick with local loans when you borrow. For example, if you live in Delaware, you’ll have to search for Delaware installment loans that originate from online direct lenders licensed to lend in your state.
But there’s a problem here — groceries aren’t unexpected, no matter how much they wind up costing with rising inflation.
Groceries belong to your regular expenses, so you can expect to pay for food every month. As a result, installment loans aren’t the best option for picking up groceries. They’re ideal for unexpected emergencies instead.
How to Control Your Spending at the Till
The good news is, groceries are also variable, which means they’re something you can control. The decisions you make in the grocery store can help you reduce what you pay.
Here are some small tips to help you control your spending and pay less for good food.
Winging it in the grocery store often leads to a cart full of snacks and random ingredients that won’t come together to make a meal. When these items don’t fill you up, you’ll go back out again shopping for more or wasting money on takeout.
A meal plan and shopping list can help you eliminate food waste and unnecessary items. Try out these budget meals that are tasty, nutritious, and inexpensive.
Never Shop on an Empty Stomach
Hungry people spend 64% more on food than their full counterparts, so don’t swing by the supermarket before mealtime.
Adjust Your Plan for Your Region
Food deserts are growing in states like Delaware, DC, and Pennsylvania, so finding fresh produce and affordable protein can be tricky. You’ll want to adjust your shopping technique to fit the supply. Don’t be afraid to eat canned or frozen vegetables — it’s a myth that they aren’t nutritious!
You may also want to look into the following programs to access fresher food at lower costs:
- Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership
- Food Co-Ops
- Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)
- Community Fridges and Gardens
Eat Well and Save — It’s Possible
Balancing your budget and your diet isn’t always easy, but you don’t have to starve to save money. You can reduce what you spend on essentials by changing the way you shop for groceries.