CONSIDER THIS: The government’s Consumer Price Index estimates prices for groceries will rise by 1 to 2 percent in 2018. For some products, prices could go even higher. For example, the prices for chicken and avocados are expected to go up.
So how do consumers put food on the table without breaking the bank?
Below are some tips for finding the best deals on groceries:
Plan meals according to what’s on sale.
Research the best deals on groceries before you plan the week’s meal plan. First, determine what you already have on hand. Then, scan your potential grocery stores for deals on protein, which is going to be the most expensive part of your meals. Next, be on the lookout for good deals on potential side dishes. Lastly, stock up on pantry staples when they’re on sale.
Make a price book.
Make a binder with sections for the stores you frequent most often and keep track of how much the usual things you buy cost at each store. You’ll know which stores have the best prices on particular items and can identify a great deal and stock up when it comes along.
Be loyal to where you get the best value.
If you’re shopping at one store because it’s closest to your house, you may not be getting the best value. Use your price book to determine which stores consistently give you the best prices. Also, pay attention to the quality you get for those prices. It doesn’t much matter if you’re paying pennies for produce if it’s not fresh or goes bad quickly. Factor both price and quality into deciding which stores give you the best value.
Learn how to maximize your coupons.
Use coupons for items you only would have purchased, anyway. Don’t buy something not on your list just because you found a great coupon. Many brands and chain stores offer digital coupons, which can help consumers hone in on which coupons they want based on what they’re already looking to buy. Shoppers can search sites like coupons.com by category to help find the most useful coupons for them.
Use technology to compare.
Some chain stores show grocery prices on their websites, but this isn’t consistent across the board. However, websites like My Grocery Deals and Deals to Meals allow you to build a grocery list. The sites will use your list to find the best deals across multiple stores. Deals to Meals allows customers to create a weekly meal plan based on local deals, too.