If steep grocery prices have deterred you from whipping up the Pinterest recipes you’ve been dreamily pinning, now is finally the time to fulfill your Top Chef fantasies.
The average price for foods consumed at home (AKA, your groceries), slipped 1.9% over the past year through August, according to data from the Bureau of Labor statistics. Prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs dropped the most, followed by dairy products and then cereals and bakery products.
As a result, grocery stores across the country are slashing prices. Kroger recently cut prices on 1,000 items, and other mega-chains like Wal-Mart are lowering prices as well. The country is on pace this year to post the longest stretch of falling food prices in over 50 years, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.
While grocers, farmers and restaurants might have some beef with the massive food deflation (it means less money for them), shoppers can chow down for a lot less.
“I stocked up on meats right now because the price has been right for the past few weeks, more than they have been in about 2 years,” says Ken Roesbery, who worked as the “Grocery Guru,” specializing in frugal grocery shopping, for the Salt Lake Tribune for about 15 years. He is currently retired and living in St. George, Utah.
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As grocery stores slash prices, take an even bigger bite out of your grocery bill with some savvy shopping.
While meal prep is currently the craze — where you prepare several days of food at once — and can save you hundreds in the long run, the real savings start before you even hit the store.
“The best way to save is to plan your meals based on what’s on sale,” Roesbery says. “It doesn’t save you any money to run from store to store, find your favorite store and base your meals on those sales.”
Roesbery also recommends keeping it old-school, and using a print newspaper to find the best coupons.
“I think people are crazy that don’t get newspapers with coupons,” Rosebery says. “If you use 2 coupons, it pays for its subscription. Get the coupons that are available in newspapers, hang onto the inserts for 3 to 4 weeks, then you’re ready to shop for what’s on sale. For the most part, it takes too much time, energy, and ink cartridge printing off coupons online.”
However, some grocery chains make downloading online coupons incredibly accessible for consumers, so be sure to check out your go-to store’s policy. Roesbery shops regularly at Smith’s — a Kroger subsidiary — and touts the chain’s loyalty program, which enables customers to download coupons right to their savings card.
Roesbery also takes advantage of Kroger’s Fuel Program to really max out his savings. Check out your favorite store’s loyalty program, and watch the rewards rack up as you stock up on all that cheap food.
“Kroger has a program that’s across the nation, I save a dollar down on my gas every time I gas up,” says Rosebery. “I buy all my gift cards at Smith’s and they end up giving me 2 to 4 times the reward points for gas.”
Is there anything more delicious than a fat bank account?