Beating the Expected Grocery Price Hike

By: Amy Hannold

24/7 MOMS Frugal Living Editor

Droughts in states where the bulk of America’s corn is produced has the media warning us of impending price increases.  If items on your grocery list are made with corn, or fed corn – expect to pay more. Breakfast cereals, bacon, processed foods, beef and chicken are among the most purchased, predicted to become even more expensive.

We’ve been given notice, so what can we do to counter the rising costs?

Know A Good Deal, When You Read One:  It’s a good idea to keep track of prices between stores, and over the course of a few weeks for the items you buy most.  When you know what you usually pay for ingredients, you’ll know whether a store’s front-page “best deals” are really a good deal.

Stock up:  Many farmers had to sell their cattle, because they can’t afford the skyrocketing feed prices. Beef is then plentiful, that means lower prices, for now.  Chicken too, may be found at its best price for awhile, so fill the freezer as possible.

Find New Favorites:  Before beef and chicken prices rise, discover meals made with beans, fish and grains.  Dishes including oatmeal, legumes, and fish made at home, are also healthier for you.  Add the grains to soups, cook them up for breakfast, and enjoy at least one fish dinner a week.  To create a meal and meal plan by ingredient, check out the USDA’s “SNAP-Ed Recipe Finder”.  You’ll also find their “Build a Cookbook” feature, where you can save the recipes you’ve found into a collection to enjoy in the future. http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/

From Scratch, For Your Health:  Processed foods will see the highest increase, over unprocessed “basic” foods.  Get a head-start on those “New Year’s Resolutions” by cooking more from-scratch meals. Your checkbook will thank you as well!  ChooseMyPlate.gov has some great ideas on including more whole foods in your diet.  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-tips/sample-menus-recipes.html

Get to Know Your Locals:  If you’re living in an area other than the drought-stricken region, chances are you can find produce grown close to home.  Local farm-raised beef, fruit, and fall vegetables can be more affordable at farms than in the grocery store. LocalFarmMarkets.org will help you find and get the most from locally raised food.  http://localfarmmarkets.org/

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