|The cost of food is going up and increases are likely to continue|
While we do strive to not buy anything, we currently have to buy our food. Since 2008 that has been getting a lot more expensive. This trend is not likely to reverse soon, if ever.
At the same time that a lot of stuff you don't need gets less expensive, everything you need (really need, as in survival) is getting disturbingly more expensive. Big screen TVs? Less expensive. Gas, electricity, rent, and food? More expensive.
That people are concerned about food is evidenced here on our blog. A post on reducing food waste is one of the all time top posts on NBA, showing that many are doing everything they can to stretch the food budget in inflationary times.
With the US drought forecasted to inflate prices another 5% next year, I thought it was time to share more of the tips that Linda and I use to keep our food costs down.
The average family of four spends about $237 dollars per week, or about $12,300 dollars per year, on food consumed at home. The same family spends $5200 dollars more on food consumed outside of home. A 5% increase means an added $875 dollars per year on food for our fictional family.
Money Saving Tips
With some simple solutions and planning, one can mitigate impending food price increases. These are some of the tips we use to stretch our food dollar, and maintain a whole food diet.
- Limit, or eliminate eating out. I know how tempting it is to take what seems like the fast or easy route to filling the tummy, but fight that impulse. Meals eaten out cost 6 to 10 times more than a similar meal cooked at home.
- Skip pre-packaged frozen meals. Convenience foods sacrifice taste and quality for ease of use. Plus they cost up to 4 times as much as home cooked meals.
- Do your own washing and cutting. Pre-cut/pre-washed, or grated foods will cost you twice as much.
- Learn to cook your favourite foods. When we quit eating out that didn't mean leaving behind all our favourite restaurant meals - we just learned to cook them at home. It has been fun, and satisfying.
- Buy generic for certain items. Some products such as flour, sugar, cereals, salt, and milk are indistinguishable from their pricier brand name counterparts.
- Plan your grocery shopping trips to avoid impulse buying. We always shop with a detailed list from which we do not deviate. This alone can save up to $20/month for the average shopper prone to impulsive edible purchases.
- Don't waste the food you have bought. This seems obvious, but a large amount of food is wasted in the average home. If you haven't already, see our post on reducing food waste.
- Eat less meat. Some products, like meat, will probably rise in price more than 5%. Explore non-meat alternatives like beans/grains, tofu, nuts and seeds. They are less expensive, and better for you.
- Bake your own bread products. Buying two loaves of hearty, healthy bread can cost as much as a 10 kg (20 lbs) bag of flour. You can make a lot of bread with that much flour.
- Take advantage of sales. Closely watch flyers for weekly specials, and stock up when the price is right. When we find peanut butter on sale, for example, we purchase several jars at a time to add to our well-stocked pantry.
By following these money saving tips it may be possible to make up that forecasted 5% rise in food prices, and then some. It is not that difficult, and besides saving money, these tips will help you to eat more healthfully, and have more fun in the kitchen.
What is your favourite money saving tip when it comes to the purchasing and preparation of yummy, nutritious food?