How To Keep Household Costs in Check During Times of Inflation

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Women often do the lion’s share of shopping for the household. A 2021 CivicScience survey found that 70% of women make all or most of the household/children’s purchases for their homes. With this responsibility comes the pressure to keep spending on budget — which is becoming increasingly difficult due to inflation. In this “Financially Savvy Female” column, we’re chatting with shopping and money-saving experts to get their best tips for keeping household costs in check as prices continue to rise.

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How To Save on Groceries

The cost of food has risen nearly 11% over the past 12 months, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report. While that makes it hard to keep grocery costs within budget, there are a few savvy shopping moves you can make to save in this category.

Make Your Money Work for You

Make More Veggie-Forward Meals

“One of my favorite ways to save on groceries is to adjust your eating habits,” said Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com. “While grocery prices all around are high, some studies find that prices on meats and fish are higher than they are on vegetables, so for your wallet and your waistline, opt for veggie nights a couple of nights per week.”

Use the Right Credit Cards

Some credit cards offer higher cash-back percentages and rewards than others for buying household needs like groceries or for shopping at certain big-box stores.

“Make sure you are shopping with a credit card that offers points for your purchases,” Bodge said.

Buy Nonperishable Groceries in Bulk

You often get better per-unit prices when you buy in bulk, but it’s not always worth buying this way for perishable products that may expire or go bad before you are able to use them all. However, it’s usually a good way to save for nonperishable items.

Make Your Money Work for You

“I like to buy items like pasta, canned goods, frozen foods, nuts and some baking ingredients in bulk,” Bodge said. “It’s an easy way to save on these items, and then you can enjoy the convenience of having them on hand whenever you need them.”

More Ways To Save

Rebecca Gramuglia, consumer expert at TopCashback.com, offered a few more tips for saving on groceries:

  • Sign up for store loyalty programs to score exclusive discounts.
  • Always shop with a list to prevent impulse purchases.
  • Stock up on nonperishable items when they go on sale.

How To Save on Cleaning Supplies, Paper Goods and Other Household Essentials

Not only are prices going up, but thanks to “shrinkflation,” some of your go-to products may now be smaller. Here’s how to save on non-grocery essentials for your household.

Buy in Bulk

As with groceries, one of the best ways to save on cleaning supplies and paper goods is to buy them in bulk.

Make Your Money Work for You

“Buying cleaning supplies like sponges and powdered cleaners in bulk is a good way to save, but be careful about buying liquid cleaners in bulk unless you plan to use them very regularly,” Bodge said. “Liquid cleaners tend to lose their efficacy over time.”

Buy Water-Free Cleaning Products

“Another way to save on cleaning products is to look for brands that make water-free cleaning products,” Bodge said. “Water significantly increases the weight of a product, making it more expensive to ship. Also, purchasing water-free cleaning products is better for the environment because of the weight and shipping costs. Grove Collaborative has several options.”

DIY Cleaning Products

You can skip out on buying cleaning products altogether if you go the DIY route.

“You can easily make your own liquid cleaning products using ingredients you already have on hand, like vinegar and lemon juice,” Bodge said. “Youtube and TikTok have no shortage of recipes.”

Search for Online Deals

Head to deal sites or add a browser extension to help you find coupons and discounts for your household purchases. This can be especially helpful if you have a favorite brand you like to buy.

“Use a deal site, like Slickdeals.net, to search for available offers,” Bodge said. “A quick search for Bounty paper towels, for example, yielded several offers. You can also install the Slickdeals browser extension, which will alert you to available savings as you browse online and run coupons for you at checkout — no searching required.”

Opt for the Generic Version

Switching from name-brand products to the store brand is an effective way to save, as these products often cost significantly less.

“In many cases, store brands are just as good — and sometimes better! — than name brands, so it’s definitely worth checking them out and at least giving them a try,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “Unit prices will often be better for store brands than their name-brand counterparts, which may mean spending less to get more and also having to purchase select items less often.”

GOBankingRates wants to empower women to take control of their finances. According to the latest stats, women hold $72 billion in private wealth — but fewer women than men consider themselves to be in “good” or “excellent” financial shape. Women are less likely to be investing and are more likely to have debt, and women are still being paid less than men overall. Our “Financially Savvy Female” column will explore the reasons behind these inequities and provide solutions to change them. We believe financial equality begins with financial literacy, so we’re providing tools and tips for women, by women, to take control of their money and help them live richer lives.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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