Grocery and housewares prices are expected to rise by up to 15% over the course of the summer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Average American Household Budget, the combined spending on groceries, household chores, and household items in 2019 was $ 10,505. A 15% increase in that number means the average American household will suffer about $ 1,600 a year, or $ 130 a month, from just buying the same groceries and housewares that they previously bought.
Why is this happening? Most of the time, it’s an aftermath of the pandemic. In the past year, the demand for many deliveries has been relatively low, so prices have remained constant and many companies have shortened their supply chains. As the world normalizes again, demand normalizes and we are playing to catch up.
How should individual households deal with it? As always, frugality is the best tool in our financial tool belt for dealing with short term financial changes. Since the price increases in this case occur with the prices of food and housewares, it is the most effective instrument we have to direct frugality towards these areas.
Strategies for dealing with a large increase in food and household prices
Cook at home as much as you can
Eating at home saves about 80% compared to eating out, according to Forbes. This coincides with our own experience. Going to a local Mexican restaurant with my family of five costs about $ 75 (as it literally did just last week!) But with the prices of our local grocery store we could have a pretty similar meal at home for about $ 20 Prepare dollars.
Many of us have become much more comfortable with our home kitchens during the pandemic, and those skills should persist even as things return to something like pre-pandemic normalcy. Keep your own kitchen as the source for most of your meals. When your life gets busier again, start adding lots of cheap and easy meals to your repertoire and using smart strategies to cook at home even on busy weekdays.
Our family’s favorite home cooking techniques for when the going gets busier are preparing lots of meals in the slow cooker, prepping lots of meals ahead of time and freezing them on the weekends, and doing lots of meal prep steps on the weekend or simpler days of the week ( Things like boiling rice or boiling beans).
Focus on staples
When you go to the grocery store, you buy fewer convenience foods and more staple foods. For example, instead of buying Green Giant Simply Steam Seasoned Toscany Flavored Broccoli for $ 2.49 for 9 ounces of frozen broccoli at my local grocer, I can buy a 16-ounce bag of unseasoned frozen broccoli (almost twice as much) for 2.48 Buy $ and a sprinkle of salt and Italian seasoning on top (only costs pennies) before serving.
Basic foods like dry rice, dry beans, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, whole chicken, etc. are far cheaper per ounce or per pound than processed and pre-cooked items. Most of these items are extremely easy to prepare in a slow cooker or microwave with minimal effort (put in a bowl or saucepan, turn on the microwave or slow cooker for a set amount of time, add a little salt, and pour in). some spices, go away) and save a lot of money.
Try out lots of private labels
According to Consumer Reports, private label grocery and household products save an average of 25% compared to functionally equivalent branded items. The strategy here is simple: buy everything that you can own-branded and only switch to a branded version if there is a specific and clear reason to do so, not just because you think the branded brand will be better could.
Empty this pantry
There is no better time than now, especially after more than a year, when many meals are prepared at home and some used items are thrown into the cupboards and fridges and freezers. Go through what you have on hand and make sure you use it before it expires.
A great trick is to take items nearing their expiration date out of your fridge and pantry and use them as the center of a meal plan for the week. Consider meals using these items along with items for sale in the grocery flyer to create some extremely affordable meals for the week to come.
Another great tactic is to just “flip” your cabinets and freezer every now and then. From the back, pull everything that isn’t easily seen and move it forward in your cabinets, fridge and freezer so that you are forced to use the older stuff.
Use reusable household items
Instead of just buying and re-buying household items, consider using as many reusable options as possible.
For example, instead of buying endless paper towels, buy a bundle of absorbent towel and start simply washing them. Get some microfiber cloths that you can slide through the laundry with other clothes and some sponges that you can wash in the dishwasher.
Another option is to skip buying most of the household cleaners and hang on to a couple of spray bottles that you can mix up your own household cleaners in. If you mix 1 part vinegar with 8 parts water in a spray bottle and add a drop or two of dish soap, you have a great multipurpose spray cleaner for pennies that works really well with the reusable cloth.
When you’re ready to be more adventurous, consider options like cloth diapers (which saves a lot of money if you have multiple children) or a bidet (replaces toilet paper).
Try to minimize the things that you have to buy again. The more you do in this direction, the less you will be affected by soaring household item prices.
Don’t let up the momentum
These strategies provide effective short term solutions to price increases. To make these effective in the long term, take the savings and do something smart with them. Pay off high interest debts, build up an emergency fund and invest in the future. These are the tools to translate smart frugality into lasting wealth. That way you are in a better place no matter where the economy goes.
Too long not read?
Grocery and housewares prices are expected to rise this summer. Your best instant tool to handle a price jump is thrift. The best frugal strategies are simple and low-impact, like buying more private label and reusable household items and sticking to what works, like home cooking.
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