UW-EXTENSION: Local extension service offers tips for stretching your food dollars | Local News


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.

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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.

Nicole Sicuro-Leipski is a teaching coordinator with the UW-Madison Division of Extension’s FoodWIse Program for Kenosha and Racine Counties.