According to the Associated Press, Wholesale prices rose more than expected in March as food prices surged by the most in 26 years. But excluding food and energy, prices were nearly flat.
The Labor Department said the Producer Price Index rose by 0.7 percent in March, compared to analysts’ forecasts of a 0.4 percent rise. A rise in gas prices also helped push up the index. Gasoline prices rose 2.1 percent, the department said, the fifth rise in six months.
Food prices jumped by 2.4 percent in March, the most since January 1984. Vegetable prices soared by more than 49 percent, the most in 15 years. A cold snap wiped out much of Florida’s tomato and other vegetable crops at the beginning of this year.
With the cost of living continuing to rise, we have to reduce what we spend. Often the first area of our budget to receive an overhaul is our food budget. We start to buy less expensive foods, buy more store brands, organize our menus, clip coupons, search for printable online grocery coupons and compare grocery prices. All of these techniques work but there are other things to consider when shopping for grocery deals.
Here are some practical tips to reduce your grocery bill:
1. Switch wherever possible to store-brand items. Did you know that the big-name brands often package for the stores?
2. Buy produce in season. For example, buy strawberries on sale in April and May. Buy oranges on sale in December. Buy apples and potatoes in the fall. Buy tomatoes in the summer.
3. Build a food pantry or food storage so you go to the store less resulting in spending less. If you create a meal with food in your freezer and pantry, you won’t have to run to the store which usually results in buying things you don’t need. The best way to stock your pantry is to compare grocery prices at GroceryGuide.com.
4. Create menus around items that are on sale at the grocery store. Again, GroceryGuide.com compares grocery prices on meat, pasta, produce, baking items, soap, laundry soap, bandages, etc.
Be a savvy shopper! Realize that food manufacturers have tried to keep product prices fairly close to last years grocery prices. However, the size on many products has decreased. For example, Breyer’s Ice Cream and Dreyer’s Ice Cream have reduced the sizes of their ice cream containers from 64oz to 48-56oz. Tuna has gone from 6oz cans to 5oz cans. Mayonnaise and Salad Dressings in some cases have gone from 32oz to 30oz. Shampoos and Conditioners have decreased in size by .5 -2 ozs.
GroceryGuide.com can help you save time and money by comparing grocery prices so you don’t have to. Make your grocery list from the stores you prefer and clip or print the coupons before you go to the store. You’ll be excited at the money you can save!