According to the US Department of Agriculture, the Consumer Price Index has risen by about 8.5% over the last year. Inflated gas and grocery prices may yet continue to creep upward. Meat prices have increased by nearly 20% across the board and staple fruit and pantry items have also seen significant price jumps. Here are our tips for shopping for these higher priced items.
Beef, Bacon, and Chicken Products
Meat prices have skyrocketed the most, leaving many of us questioning if we should use protein alternatives more often.
First of all, yes, do seek out different meat alternatives for some of your meal planning if you can. But you don’t need to cut it out all together, you just need to shop strategically. Seek out coupons and promos from weekly ads, but moreover, try to track the current sales cycles on meat products in your area. If stores have too much unsold product, eventually meat options will be put on sale.
Try to track and gauge how often this occurs when you shop right now and take sales opportunities to buy more than one package of meat. You can freeze what you don’t use right away, which can keep you going until the next sale.
Another fan favorite pantry staple that has seen record jumps in prices is peanut butter. We recommend buying peanut butter from wholesale clubs.
Peanut butter has a long shelf life, and while wholesale prices have crept upwards as well, it makes more sense to buy a large jar that can last you several months at a wholesale price. If you’re not a member of a wholesale club, buy peanut butter based on whatever brand is on sale that week (or, go generic if that’s the cheapest option.) Disconnecting from brand preferences at times is important when you’re trying to save money.
Citrus fruit prices have also seen significant price increases. In this case, if you’re trying to save as much as you can, I recommend avoiding organic and going to discount grocery stores for this type of produce.
Citrus lasts a while in the refrigerator, so if you purchase a large bag from a store like Aldi, it can last you a couple of weeks at a lower price point.
Eggs and Milk
Eggs and milk have also seen price increases. Eggs can still be purchased for relatively inexpensive as long as you avoid the organic or specialty options.
Milk prices have gone up across the board, even generic store brands. Don’t forget your coupons and weekly ads, but I recommend caution when purchasing cheaper milk. Generic milk is not as pasteurized as the more expensive options; it often sours before you expect it to (even before the printed sell by date), which leaves some of the milk wasted if it’s not used up by then.
Especially if you’re not sure your household will finish a full gallon in time, I recommend buying half gallons of cheaper milk so it doesn’t sour before you finish it.