It is not your imagination: Groceries cost more now than before the pandemic.
Food prices have risen 4.6% overall since September 2020, according to data released Wednesday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The consumer price index, which measures the average change by consumers for goods and services, rose 5.4% year-on-year, slightly above the 5.3% increase in August. This pushed annual inflation to its highest increase in 13 years.
Meat, poultry, fish and eggs had the highest increases with a combined increase of 10.5%.
According to a recent poll by the FMI, aka Association of the Food IndustryDespite rising food prices, average household spending has remained stable at $ 143 per week, up from $ 161 at the height of the pandemic in March and April 2020.
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And buyers are feeling the price increases, especially at countless product defects and widespread supply chain disruptionssaid Andy Harig, FMI vice president of tax, trade and sustainability, recently told USA TODAY.
“We tend to have very low food price inflation in the United States,” said Harig. “If you look at the last 20 or 30 years, it’s pretty much constant.”
Even though everything from meat, milk and bread costs more, you can still save money.
“Consumers don’t have much control here, and there aren’t many easy ways to save groceries when prices are practically rising across the board,” said Kristin McGrath, purchasing expert and editor at the Deal website Retail MeNotsaid USA TODAY.
Instead, there are purchasing strategies. Here are three ways to cut costs.
Buy store brands to save
Store brands have grown in popularity in recent years and no longer carry the stigma they once had when they were considered more general.
Target added its largest grocery brand, Good & collect, in 2019, and kept adding new products. Trader Joes and Grocer Aldi are known for having more products under their own private labels than private labels.
“You often see lower prices and a lot of great quality,” says Harig.
Buy in bulk, stock up
When you shop in bulk at Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale, you can cut down the number of trips you go shopping and cut costs.
However, sometimes this means huge packages of groceries, so buying groceries in bulk is often best for large families or for those who have an extra freezer and storage. It also means fewer toilet paper passes
Wholesale clubs aren’t immune to inflation, though Costco hasn’t raised the price of its fried chicken, which remains stable at $ 4.99.
Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer, said during a telephone conversation with analysts on Sept. 23 that, despite rising transportation costs, the retailer âhas decided to halt, postpone and / or moderate some of the price increases in this increasingly inflationary environment in recent years “. Months.”
“Buying things at BOGO prices and freezing them whenever possible can save you money shopping for the next week, if not this week,” she said.
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Use cashback apps like Ibotta, rewards programs
Saving money can take several forms. Some will cut out paper coupons or printable coupons, but another option is to make money back on everyday purchases.
One of the most famous Cashback apps is Ibotta, a free shopping app that can save you money on most grocery stores, online shopping, gift cards, and even alcohol in some states.
What sets Ibotta apart from rewards programs like CVS ExtraCare is that you can use it in person at multiple stores including Target, Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and online at Amazon, Kohl’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Macy’s, and more.
The app also offers savings when shopping with on-demand grocery delivery programs like Instacart and Shipt as well as Walmart, Target and Kroger online orders.
Ibotta CEO and Founder Bryan Leach said there are plans to make cashback-earning smoother over the next year with an expanded partnership with Walmart.
Get rewards is another cashback app, but you can also save with merchant apps like Target’s Target Circle loyalty program.
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Contributor: Associated Press