Five Ways to Reduce the Impact of Inflation on Your Budget
We’ve all noticed the way that inflation is affecting our regular spending. Beyond headline items like eggs and coffee, it seems that nearly every item at the store is now more expensive. Grocery store prices in January were up 11.3% over last year, and have increased nearly 29% over the prior three years. So many of you tell me how shocking it is each time you check out at the grocery! Here are some easy ways to reduce the impact of inflation on your grocery bill, stay on budget, and even feel better about your choices:
1. Switch to generic: Items that offer generic or store-brand products are often manufactured at the same facilities as their brand-name cousins- sometimes the only difference between the two is the packaging! It can cost about 25 percent less than the branded options to purchase generic options. Items that are generally available in generic or store brands are snacks and sweets, juice, dairy products cereals, staple, and produce.
2. Eat less meat: A healthy option to replace meat protein with other lower-cost options can also make a difference to your overall budget. Consider dairy, legumes, oats, and tofu as replacements for meat products. It is not only beneficial cost-wise but also environmentally optimal and nutritionally sound.
3. Reduce your food waste: I know it's not easy, but planning weekly meals, preparing your grocery list accordingly, only purchasing what’s on your list, and choosing healthy options may help in reducing food waste. If you plan in advance to eat that bag of spinach, it's more likely that you actually will! It will save you a considerable amount on your grocery budget AND make it easier to stay in a healthy routine.
4. Try a no-spend week: One of the not-so-easy ways but the most effective one is to try a no-spend week by challenging yourself to skip a week of grocery shopping and eat what’s already in your pantry and freezer. You may be surprised what options are hiding in the back of your cabinets! Also mixing and making your own recipes with the leftovers and remaining items in your pantry brings out the creativity in you and delicious dishes for the family. It will certainly help you to save money- and help reduce clutter!
5. Revisit your emergency fund: Emergency funds create a safety net that contributes to your financial security. Regularly revisiting your emergency fund is an important measure you can take because, as the cost of your basic necessities rises, you’ll need to add to your emergency fund to cover your now-more-expensive necessities.
These few changes may help you in adjusting to the ‘new normal’ circumstances. As always, we are here to help with any questions you may have.