You've seen the stories of devastation in the news: key farm states in the U.S. are facing excessive heat and dryness-- leading to the worst drought in 25 years.
So how will the drought impact your grocery bill? Jeanette Pavini, Coupons.com Consumer Savings Expert, is sharing her tips on how consumers can battle rising food costs.
Related: 4 Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bill
GalTime: A new report out by U.S. Department of Agriculture has shown that food prices are rising-- how will this impact us at the supermarket?
Jeanette Pavini: Commodity food prices are expected to rise by 3-4 percent in the next year, and there is an expectation that these increases will have a ripple effect on prices of packaged goods, which could result in even higher percentage increases for consumers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture report noted the following expected price increases:
Poultry and eggs: 3-4%
Fruits and vegetables: 2-3%
GT: What can consumers do to prepare?
JP: Savings at the grocery store starts with organization and planning. With just 45 minutes, a computer and a weekly grocery circular, the average shopper can go home with $260 worth of groceries for less than $150. Over the course of one year, that shopper can save more than $5,000.
How to Save $ at the Grocery Store
1. Set aside a few minutes each week to sit down and plan meals around store sales.
2. Visit sites like Coupons.com and manufacturer sites to print out coupons or save them directly to a store loyalty card.
3. Follow brands and retailers on social media sites for deals.
4. Leverage technology; mobile applications, like Grocery iQ, let shoppers easily find coupons and organize shopping lists.
GT: Any idea where we will feel the increase most?
JP: Meat and dairy will be items that will cause an increase.
GT: Are their certain items you would suggest that we stock up on now?
JP: Here are some tips:
How to Stock Up on Groceries
Plan meals around what produce is in season. The quality and prices will be better.
Avoid precut or pre-portioned food. The price of convenience is not worth the added cost.
Sometimes it's cheaper to buy items like potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, onions and lemons in bulk bags versus individually; do the math before you buy.
Ask your butcher what time of day they typically mark down meat as many stores do two rounds of markdowns (30% in morning, 60% off in the evening for the items left).
Look up and down. More inexpensive brands and better deals may be located on the bottom or top of shelves.
Stock up on freezable items like meat and bread when they are on sale. Use a permanent marker and write your purchase date on the package so you know how long it's been in the freezer.
What's your go-to food savings tip? Have you seen food prices rising lately?
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