From the gas station, to the grocery store, we are reminded everyday how inflation has negatively impacted consumers’ wallets. According to the USDA Summary Findings Food Price Outlook for 2022, the food-at-home (grocery store or supermarket food purchases) Consumer Price Index for March 2022 was 10.0 percent higher than March 2021.
With no short-term signs of inflationary easing, more people are looking towards strategies to stretch their food dollars. Here are some ways to help your household’s bottom line with food:
Make your grocery game plan by planning your meals ahead for the week.
Look to see what you have in your freezer, refrigerator and pantry to get meal ideas. Using what you have allows you to buy less at the store.
Use sales flyers, coupons, savings apps, loyalty programs to purchase what is on sale, and plan meals around what is on sale each week.
To stay on budget, shop with a grocery list and stick to the grocery list.
People are also reading…
Utilize leftovers This reduces food waste and allows for an easy meal that saves money. Example: If you have leftover beef, chicken or porkt, but not enough to feed the whole family, stretch it by adding rice and vegetables to use in a stir fry, or open up a can of corn and beans and add in meat for for burrito bowls and quesadillas.
Check unit pricing, the small price on the store shelf. This tells you price by weight (such as price per ounce). Comparing unit pricing to see which brand or size gives you the most for your money.
Purchase store brand items instead of national name brands.
Grow your own vegetables in your yard or on a patio/balcony in container gardens. Individuals receiving food benefits can use EBT to purchase seeds and food-bearing plants. .
Meat is a high price-point protein., Purchase less meat and supplement with lower cost proteins such as beans, eggs, lentils, peas and peanut butter.
Produce: Buy fresh when in-season or on sale. If not in-season, decide purchasing frozen or canned.
Those receiving food benefits can use EBT at Kenosha’s Harbor Market and Kenosha Public Market to purchase produce, meat, fish, cheese, eggs and bread. Both markets have EBT dollar matching programs—visit the information booth at each of the markets to learn more.
Incorporating these strategies will lead to big savings over time. A little planning and work around food purchases will lead to savings over the long term.
Try these 6 tips to save money in your yard
Remember: Seeds are cheaper than plants
Many vegetables are easy to grow from seed, and a $2 seed packet is a lot cheaper than a full-sized plant or buying vegetables from the store. Try tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, beans, lettuce and beets from seed.
They’re easy, even for beginning gardeners. Start them indoors under lights for a head start, or sow directly in the garden. If you’re nervous about starting from seed, seedlings purchased from a nursery are typically only slightly more expensive.
Save money on soil
A large container can be expensive to fill with fresh potting soil.
To save money, place one or more empty nursery pots upside-down at the bottom. Not only does it reduce the amount of soil needed, it reduces weight, too.
Invest in a mulching mower
A good mulching mower pays for itself in several ways. First, you don’t have to pay to have grass clippings bagged and hauled to a composting facility. Second, returning clippings to your lawn is like free fertilizer. Over the course of a full season you’ll return about as much nitrogen as one full-strength feeding.
And when fall comes, do the same with fallen leaves.
Inspect your sprinklers
Long watering is an expensive proposition in the summertime. To make sure your sprinklers are operating efficiencies, have an irrigation expert do a walk-through water audit and suggest ways to reduce water bills.
If you have an automatic irrigation system, use sensors to make it more efficient. They can help you water exactly as much as needed and no more.
Trade perennials with other gardeners
Mature perennials in your garden are a valuable resource. Most perennials can be dug up and divided, yielding two, three or even four splits. And each of these can be replanted elsewhere. Even better, trade with other gardeners, swapping divisions of your perennial for varieties in their gardens that you’d like to try.
Plant a tree for a more efficient house
If you have a hot western wall exposed to the afternoon sun, try planting a tree that will shade it. Not only can it add to the overall aesthetic of your surrounding yard, the shade it throws can significantly reduce your cooling costs.
Nicole Sicuro-Leipski is a teaching coordinator with the UW-Madison Division of Extension’s FoodWIse Program for Kenosha and Racine Counties.