This week, I went to the grocery store and my bill was just a few bucks under $200 – for one week. Granted, we purchased some non-food items, however we have always done that here and there. I have never had a bill this high and I blame it on the rising cost and shrinking size of food items. Everything costs more and has less in it.
I pride myself on couponing, finding deals, stockpiling and keeping my grocery budget well under $100/week. However, I was in a rush this week and had allowed my stockpile to run low. You can imagine my shock that the total was so high. It got me to thinking about all the ways we can fight back against the rising cost of food.
Grow Your Own
One smart way to start cutting down on some of your food costs is to grow what food of your own that you can. Personally, I love our container garden we had this year, and we’ve also experimented with raised bed and traditional type gardens. Hated the traditional type. There is so much wasted space and produce and the bugs loved trying to eat my crops.
You can actually grow crops year round if you have a cold frame over a raised bed or container. Right now, I have some lettuce growing in my containers, which I plan to harvest tomorrow. I will then plant a winter crop (not sure yet).
You can also grow some plants inside on your kitchen windowsill. That said, summer is obviously the best time to grow a nice size crop. You can freeze or can items to use in the colder weather months.
If the grocery stores are going to charge crazy prices (I’ve seen yellow tomatoes going for $4.69/pound this past summer), then at least buy from local, organic farmers where you can control the quality of the food you’re putting in your body.
Small farmers markets are great in warm weather. In the winter, try your local health food store. Most have a small section that features items from local farmers, even grain fed, no hormone meats. Yes, you are going to pay a little more, but you’re already paying a pretty penny at the grocery store, so you might as well make sure you are getting qualityfood.
Some friends of ours sell non-food grade milk that is unprocessed. Technically it isn’t for eating, but of course people buy it to eat. They also have meat and eggs available at times. They are very committed to providing a quality product and really it is worth the minor extra cost to get quality food.
Use Coupons and Stockpile
Clip coupons for what you actually eat and then watch for it to go on sale. Buy as many of that item as you possibly can. This will save you a lot of money over time.
If the store is out of the item, ask for a rain check and go back and purchase it later on. When my stockpile runs low, I always spend more at the grocery. On the other hand, if I can keep certain items that I use all the time in stock, then I can wait for it to cycle back on sale again and get the best price possible on it.
Shop Discount Stores
If you are just getting started on your stockpiling journey, or you don’t have time to clip coupons, you can always hit the discount stores, such as Aldi’s or Save-A-Lot. Another option is to buy in bulk from wholesale clubs.
With rising prices and smaller sizing, saving money at the store has become a huge challenge. If you have additional ideas for lowering the rising cost of groceries, please share them with us in the comments below. If we all work together, maybe we can avoid huge grocery bills like the one I dealt with this week.