Food inflation hits 40-year record: 5 tips to fight

With inflation rising at a rate not seen in over 40 years, Americans are struggling with every aspect of their household budget, but perhaps no more pressing than weekly grocery bills.

The latest USDA report predicts that average grocery store prices will rise 7-8% year on year. If the current forecast is confirmed, it will be the highest inflation rate since 1980, when food prices rose by 8.1%.

With no end in sight to rising costs, consumers are turning to other ways to curb their spending on groceries. From cashback apps to reducing food waste, here are five ways to beat inflation every time you shop.

1. Use a Cash Back app like Fetch Rewards

Why not get paid for the money spent? Fetch Rewards is a free app that you can download to your mobile phone. Voted the best cashback app of 2022 by The Motley Fool, Fetch Rewards has over 13 million active users and has paid out $73.3 million in gift cards over the past year.

Every time you shop at a grocery store, restaurant, pharmacy, or gas station, you can scan your receipt and earn points. One thousand points equals $1 reward. Once you reach 3,000 points, you can redeem them for Amazon gift cards and many other retailers.

You can also connect your email address to scan digital receipts in the app and earn even more cashback. With food prices rising seemingly every day, getting cash back on every purchase can be a great way to soften the blow.

You can find the Fetch Rewards app in the Apple Store or Google Play.

2. Sales in store rotation

If you plan your shopping list around what products are on sale, you can save a significant amount of money.

For example, meat products often go on sale—chicken one week, beef the next—and will cost half what you would normally pay. If you’re strategic about your meal planning, you can often save $5 or more per pound on meat products.

You can buy in bulk and save even more if you have extra storage space in your freezer. Meat can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months, depending on how it is packaged. With sale prices, you can buy weeks worth of food and store it in the freezer to enjoy later.

Another way to sell in the store is to keep track of seasonal growing cycles. Local products change throughout the year depending on the season. While it has become common to expect all kinds of fruits and vegetables to be available all year round, importing non-seasonal produce from abroad makes them much more expensive than seasonal produce. The “eat local” trend is good not only for the environment, but also for your wallet.

3. Shop Aldi and other discount stores

If you’re looking for an easy way to fight inflation in your grocery budget, consider where you shop. Aldi, WinCo, and other discount grocery stores are often cheaper than regular grocery retailers due to their ability to limit overhead and offer predominantly store-bought products.

You can buy similar products and pay less than usual at your local grocery store, although the selection can sometimes be more limited. Shopping at discount stores can be an easy way to save money on groceries without sacrificing anything, and you might even find new foods to become weekly staples.

4. Save 33% By Tracking What You Eat

Americans waste about a pound of food per person per day, which is equivalent to about a third of daily calorie intake. Can you imagine the savings on groceries if Americans stop throwing away all that food?

If you’re worried about saving money on groceries, keeping track of what you eat, or more importantly, what you throw away, can drastically reduce your grocery budget.

One tip to help avoid food waste is to look for items that can be used in multiple ways. Soups and salads are an easy way to add any foods that are about to go bad. You can creatively combine flavors and textures and make delicious meals using what’s in the fridge.

5. Order online to avoid buying unnecessary extras

If you plan ahead, make a list, but still end up spending more than you expected, then there is another strategy you can use.

Many grocery stores now let you order groceries online for street delivery or even have groceries delivered to your front door. This simple change will keep you from wandering down the aisles looking for “one more thing” to put in your bin.

Ordering groceries can also save you the hassle that your kids might ask for at the grocery store. It can be amazing how a few new boxes of cereal or a couple of extra snacks can add up week after week. When ordering online, you can be deliberate about what you are buying.

Final word

While there is little the average American can do to curb rising inflation, there are steps you can take to control your personal spending. Whether strategically earning cash through apps or credit card rewards, or planning ahead and shopping with rotating sales, there are some relatively easy ways to cut your grocery budget and fight inflation on the domestic front.

Andrew Herrig is the founder of Wealthy Nickel, where he writes about personal finance, jobs, and entrepreneurship. As an avid real estate investor and owner of several businesses, he has a passion for helping others create wealth and shares his family’s experiences on his blog. Andrew’s advisory board has been featured on CNBC, Entrepreneur, Fox News, MSN and more.

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