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9 Ways to Prepare for Food Inflation

Frugal Dad

March 30, 2011

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you’ve no doubt discovered that the price of most foods has increased significantly. There’s plenty of blame to go around: increased commodity prices due to increased demand, increased oil prices, devaluation of our dollar, and on and on.

Whatever the reason, increased food prices are putting a major dent in our household budget. Since we can’t do much about the prices, we have to look for other ways to reduce (or at least keep even) our overall food expense.

Food is a unique budget category in that normally when you are struggling with less income and/or increased costs, the natural inclination is to turn to cheaper alternatives. Unfortunately, as many people are discovering, when it comes to food this means an unhealthy diet.

Think of the cheapest foods at your local grocer – they are likely cheap pastas and boxed processed foods (Ramen noodles, mac and cheese, packages of potato flakes sold as “instant mashed potatoes,” etc). While these foods will do in a pinch, they aren’t exactly healthy staples to build the basis of a clean diet.

Nine Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Budget

1. Plan to shop every two weeks. Make room in your pantry (and your budget) to shop for enough food to last two weeks. The more often you see the inside of a store, the more likely you will give into temptation and deviate from your list.

2. Buy in-season produce. The simple laws of supply and demand tell us that things that are plentiful should be a little cheaper. Of course, the opposite is true if a particular produce item is not plentiful in your area, because it has to be shipped in from another part of the country (or world), and those increased costs to transport are passed along to you, the consumer.

3. Eat less. This one seems obvious, but to someone like me raised on three squares (big squares) a day, the idea of skipping a meal or two seems foreign. However, here lately I’ve been trying to eat only when hungry, not when the clock says 8:00, 12:00 and 6:00.

4. Grow your own vegetables. The last couple years we’ve experimented with square foot gardening. This year, we plan to expand on the idea and grow a variety of vegetables in garden boxes in our backyard. We also planted fruit trees last fall that will hopefully yield fresh fruits in the years to come.

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Copyright © 2011 Frugal Dad

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