Social Security Money Tight? 10 Ways AARP Recommends Saving on Food

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The new year isn’t bringing much relief in grocery prices, with the cost of food still sky-high, making it difficult for retirees living on a fixed income to afford food. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index averaged 143.7 points in 2022, up 14.3% from 2021, and the highest since records began in 1990, the agency said on Friday, Reuters reported.

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The pressure is on retirees to find ways to save on the cost of food, and AARP has come up with 10 ways for them to do just that. Here’s what AARP recommends

Plan Ahead, Preferably on Friday 

Plan out next week’s meals on Friday. This is an ideal day for planning because many stores post their week’s discounts and deals on Friday or on Thursday.

Buy Generic 

Most major grocery chains have their own tried and true store brands and they can run as much as 25% less than the name-brand version. 

Make Your Money Work for You

Use Flipp

Flipp is a free phone app that consolidates retail circulars and enables you to generate a shopping list. You can use Flipp to compare your shopping list to circulars from your local supermarkets to determine which store’s digital coupons will reap the most savings. 

Order Online 

Shopping in-store may seem like the cheaper option, but shopping online can actually save you money when you factor in coupon sites such as to find deals. You can also get money off first-time deliveries at most major grocery chains and at Instacart. 

Use Cash-Back and Points-Earning Apps

When shopping online, remember to plug in apps like FetchRewards, or Ibotta so that your grocery purchases earn points toward gift cards for various shopping options such as Amazon, Target and Walmart. 

Use the Best Credit Card for Grocery Shopping  

Be sure to shop with a credit card that gives you cashback or other rewards on your grocery purchases. 

Buy Ground Chicken Instead of Ground Beef 

In the meat category, the cost of ground beef rose more than the cost of ground chicken, so if you’re making a dish that calls for ground beef but ground chicken can get the job done, opt for that.  

Make Your Money Work for You

Have a ‘Pantry Cooking’ Night

Americans throw away 30 to 40% of their food supply. To prevent waste (which is good for both one’s budget and the planet), aim to cook at least one meal a week based entirely on foods taking up space in your refrigerator and/or pantry.

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Make an ‘Eat Me First’ Spot in Your Fridge  

Too often we let perishables and time-sensitive leftovers go to waste because we forget about them. To prevent this, designate a shelf or bin in your fridge for foods that need to be eaten fast lest they go bad. 

Use Self-Checkout

If shopping in-store and not buying booze or another controlled substance, opt for the self-checkout. A study conducted by IHL Consulting Group found that people who used self-checkout spent less on impulse purchases.

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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