The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for June 2022, and it showed exactly why everyone’s wallets have been hurting. Within the last year, inflation has surged 9.1%, a height not seen since the early-eighties. And within only the last month, prices went up another 1.3% from their highs in May. It’s clear to every American that inflation won’t be slowing down anytime soon. As a matter of fact, it seems to be skyrocketing toward impossible heights.
With rock-bottom prices a thing of the past, shoppers are looking for ways to cut back on their spending. But this can get especially hard when essentials have had some of the highest price increases. The CPI reports that the electricity index rose 13.7% since this time last year. That’s the highest 12-month increase since 2006.
Americans are cutting where they can. In a recent GOBankingRates survey, respondents were asked what they have done in order to compensate for rising inflation. Luxuries are always the first to go with 63% of people deciding to cut out food delivery and dining out from their budget. 60% of Americans have switched from name-brand products to store-brand, and 48% are driving less or using public transportation.
According to the CPI, prices on food at home — meaning purchased from a store or supermarket — have increased 12.2% in the last year. Food away from home — food not purchased at supermarkets but instead from restaurants or other eating establishments — saw a 7.7% surge, but that doesn’t include the taxes, tips and fees associated with eating out. Even though the cost of ordering delivery hasn’t increased nearly as much as the cost of groceries, it’s much easier to save on a trip to the grocery store than a night at a restaurant. Here are a few tips to make eating at home a simpler alternative to ordering UberEats.
1. Find Recipes for Your Favorite Foods
The stomach wants what the stomach wants, and sometimes that same stomach desperately wants something you don’t know how to make. When you find yourself craving fast food or a specific dish from your favorite restaurant, don’t immediately give in to the DoorDash temptation. Try looking online for a “copycat” recipe. There are a number of chefs both professional and amateur who have tried to recreate some of the most famous dishes, like Red Lobster’s famous cheddar biscuits. Once you’ve found the recipe, give it a try. You may end up liking the result even more than the original.
2. Create a Meal Plan
It may seem tedious, but making a weekly meal plan is a great way to save on food. When every day’s meal is planned, shopping at the grocery store is a much quicker and easier task. Instead of trying to decide in the moment on basics for the next week, you’re deciding ahead of time. Write down the ingredients needed for each meal, and stick to this list when grocery shopping. This way you’re less inclined to make impulse purchases, and you’re more likely to eat the food you do end up buying.
3. Check for Savings Before Shopping
Before you go to your local supermarket, check online websites like Coupons.com. If the store has an app, download it. Supermarket apps have a large number of coupons available, as do their weekly print ads. Join their rewards program too. Think of it like this, if you’re going to be shopping there anyway, you might as well put that purchase toward a loyalty reward.
4. Set a Food Budget
Budgets are a tried and true way to cut back on spending. When it comes to food shopping, evaluate just how much is spent each month, or maybe even each week. Set a maximum amount to spend at the supermarket, and be smart about what food you buy. Try getting generic brands over name brands, and keep track of how much each trip is costing. You’ll be surprised at how much less your grocery bills will be.
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