No surprise to us frugal folk who track such things but food prices in the US are far higher than they were a year ago, according to new data released recently by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, grocery prices jumped 13.5% and restaurant menu prices increased by 8%. Egg prices soared 39.8%, while flour got 23.3% more expensive. Milk rose 17% and the price of bread jumped 16.2%. Meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables also grew costlier.
If it is one thing the frugal community loves, it’s a challenge. So, when it comes to combating rising food prices, challenge accepted.
- Meal planning is no longer a luxury, it is essential. Sit down once a week and map out four or five meals while planning for leftovers. And speaking of leftovers…
- Leftovers are a frugal cook’s best friend. Plan for them, use them, and never, EVER let therm go bad.
- Check your fridge daily. Keep tabs on what is in there. Once a week, be sure and pull out anything that has been around for awhile and use it up. This has become part of my Sunday meal prep ritual and I am forever surprised at what I forgot on a Tuesday that can still be used up on Sunday.
- Stick to staples and basics now more than ever. My partner found out that frozen crinkle fries were no longer his preferred choice of spud. What he loves now are my air fryer potato wedges. These were created out of necessity; I simply had too many potatoes languishing and decided I needed to use them up. These are now his favorite, bar none.
- Track the cost of your weekly buys carefully. I know the price of food is going up everywhere but there are still bargains to be had. I find that my go-to discount grocery store still has the best prices in town.
- Eat in season now more than ever. It is still the most frugal way to save money on food. Peaches at the height of availability are a far cry from peaches in the dead of winter.
- Rely on tummy filling casseroles, stews, soups and chilis. They are generally inexpensive to make, freeze well and are easily rotated into and out of your weekly meal plan.
- Make or bake it from scratch whenever possible.