Smart Habits Mean Savings

Onions on store shelf

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. While we can’t do much about food prices, we can learn to shop smarter and make our food dollars stretch further.

Meal planning will allow you to spend less time in the grocery store and save you money. Create your shopping list and stick to it. Start by finding meals you would like to prepare, add ingredients you already have on hand (fridge, freezer, pantry), and look for special buys.

Purchase fresh produce in season or “less-than-perfect” produce at a reduced price. Avoid prewashed and precut produce, which is priced higher.

For meats, buy the whole piece or bulk packages and cut up or divide it at home. Stretch your ground meats by adding bread crumbs, herbs, eggs, or plant protein (tofu or textured vegetable protein).

Take advantage of weekly sales and deals. Don’t overlook in-store promotions or the store’s website. Track prices on the products you buy frequently. After a while, you will be able to spot a good price and stock up. Go to Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/plan/shopping-tools/, for more money-saving tips.

Sources:
NCOA, go.iastate.edu/LFSA2J
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension, go.iastate.edu/KV3KLK

Is shrinkflation affecting your finances?

Aisles in grocery store

We’re used to our favorite cereal costing $3.50 per box, so when the price goes up to $4.00 it’s something we notice. But do we notice when the box contains only 15 ounces instead of the 18 ounces it used to hold? From fewer toilet paper sheets to less toothpaste ounces, consumers are reporting “shrinkflation”—reduced product amounts for regular purchases, due to inflation.

Because we pay more attention to price when we shop, we don’t notice subtle changes in packaging or read details about the size or weight of a product. During periods of high inflation, companies may downsize products so they can keep prices unchanged, resulting in shrinkflation.

Unit pricing is a way to compare similar products to find the best value. Check out Iowa State University’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. app or webpage, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu, for a unit pricing calculator!

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