A while back I posted a news article on the LHL Facebook page that talked about the coming price increases for groceries over the next year. In case you missed it, the article talked about a possible 40% increase in food prices over the next year as a result of the current drought.
40% is alot!
If you pay any kind of attention to grocery prices (and most frugal shoppers do or should!) then you know that prices have already been increasing. Maybe you've already had to increase your grocery budget or at least start looking for alternatives for some products. I know over the last year we've had to increase our grocery budget from $100 a month to about $150 to $200 a month. Here are some tips that we've already put into practice that might help! Feel free to shout out your tips in the comments, we have to work together to come out on top of this!
1. Learn to preserve. Most people are nervous about this if they've never done it before but I'm here to tell you it's no big deal! Yes, it does take some work and you might have to learn some new skills, but it's so worth it in the long run! Learn to dehydrated, water and pressure can, and freeze. These skills will help you be able to purchase items in bulk and not have to eat them all instantly!
2. Try different shopping techniques. I used to think I was totally good to go as long as I knew how to coupon. Hate to burst anyone's bubble but the way things are going, coupons aren't going to be available forever. With increasing coupon fraud and stores cracking down on the use of coupons I don't see this phase lasting much longer, at least not the deals we are used to anyways. Learn to shop different ways such as taking advantage of loss leaders, shopping farmer's markets, meal planning, buying in bulk, growing a garden, and more.
3. Adjust your budget to provide more for groceries. I'm not saying that you should just give up but I also don't think that we should live under the delusion that we will always be able to keep our budgets in the same amount as prices increase. As I mentioned above, we've had to re-arrange our budget over the last year to keep up with higher food prices and a different style of eating. Just take a peek at your budget and see if you have an extra $25 or $50 you can spare in another category to put aside for your grocery category.
4. Just say no to the extras. Do you really need that box of Twinkies? They may taste good in the moment but think about all the other things you could buy with that $3 you just spent on a box. Through my co-op I can use $3 to buy 4lbs of oats, 5lbs of sea salt, or a package of lettuce for salads for a whole week. When every penny counts you have to make the most of your budget and there isn't room for "extras"! You might be thinking that this way of shopping might make you feel deprived (the same way as putting no "misc" cash in your budget will do), but that's not the case here. Create new treats and snacks with what you can afford in your budget.
5. Don't rely on prepping. Another train of thought on this subject might be to stock up on everything now to get you through the "dry" time. In theory, that's a great idea for a few months and I always recommend keeping a stockpile on hand of at least 3 months of food. However, I don't feel like we should be dependant on our stockpiles to get us through until prices become better. For one, we don't know when prices will become better (if they ever will!). It could be a matter of months, it could be years! Ultimately we need to learn to live self sufficiently no matter what's going on and we have to do that by adapting to the situation, never thinking we can be fully prepped for anything.
Ok so it's your turn now...share your best tips for preparing for higher grocery prices!
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