If it seems like your grocery bill is higher than last year, it probably is. Inflation is up 7% over the past year – which is the fastest increase since 1982.1 If you’re trying to eat healthier without breaking your budget, consider the following tips:
Set a budget
Your budget is a tool to help you stay on top of how much you’re paying for your food and other items in your life. To find out how much you should be budgeting for groceries, it helps to review your previous month’s purchases. If this amount still seems right for you, use it as a framework for future grocery budgets. If the amount seems too high, recalibrate based on your income and other necessary expenditures.
Create a meal plan
a meal plan can help you save by keeping your shopping list focused on the foods you plan to make. If you need some inspiration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers monthly food plans that can be used as guidance for grocery spending.
Make a shopping list
It may seem like a no-brainer, but using a shopping list when at the grocery store can help in some big ways. Having a list can mitigate the potential of you forgetting an item and needing to go back to the store. It also helps stay true to what you need instead of purchasing items that aren’t part of your meal plan. Apps like AnyList can be a great way to keep your shopping list at your fingertips. You can even meal prep within the app.
Many grocery stores offer the option to order your groceries online and pick them up - all without even entering the store. This can be a great way to ensure you don't go rogue on your shopping list and you keep your budget (and diet) in check.
Waste not, want not
It’s happened to all of us. Despite our best intentions, we end up with fruits and veggies at the back of the fridge rapidly approaching their expiration date. Instead of letting that food go to waste, consider a frittata or a hearty salad to use up extra veggies. Fruits that are nearing their expiration are the best for baking and making jams. Consider cooking down berries for a flavorful oatmeal topping, or freezing your extra fruit for smoothies.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index: 2021 in Review