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Fight Rising Food Costs by Shopping Smart

Jan. 10, 2011
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The following is a guest post from Lazy Man and Money, the esteemed personal finance blogger and proud member of the Safeway Just for U discount grocery program.

If you’ve been following the news recently, you may have read about rising food and rising gas prices. In an effort to protect myself from those inflating prices, I’ve been hedging the rising food and gas prices with ETFs.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” My hedging strategy is very much a pound of cure. While it depends on how much you like eating and driving, it can take quite an investment in an ETF to help protect against these rising costs. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have that kind of money to invest.

What about applying an ounce of prevention? I think the best way to approach this is by looking how to save money. In the past, I’ve given both some tips to save money on both gas and groceries, but today I’d like to give a few extra grocery tips that I’ve learned since I wrote those articles:

  • Look to make more foods from scratch – My wife loves hummus. When I found it was essentially chickpeas, I said, “And it is $4 for this small tub?!?!” I asked if it was something that we could make at home. Turns out that it was. After doing some research online, we settled on this hummus recipe. The best part is that there is no cooking – it only takes 3-5 minutes.
  • Buying coupons on Ebay – I know a lot of people who clip coupons and they swear by it. It doesn’t work for me. I’m much more comfortable buying generic which gets me much of the savings without investing my time and energy looking through ads. For the few brand name products that don’t have generic equivalents, I do a quick Ebay search. I look to pick up coupons of a dollar or more on products that I can stock up on. (Just don’t be stealing all my Jimmy Dean D’Light Breakfast Sandwich coupons… they are dirt cheap at military commissaries.)
  • Take advantage of all the discounts your grocery store has to offer – I am lucky I am a blogger. Safeway contacted me to tell me about its Just For U Program. It is truly a money-saving program for those who can take part. I would have passed by all the advertisements for it without a second look.
  • Avoid multi-level marketing juice scams – A couple of years back, I was shocked to learn that there are $40 juices out there… and it seems that some people are willing to pay it. When I dug deeper, I learned that this juice is often marketed with illegal health claims and that it isn’t any more nutritious than what you can buy in the store for $3 or $4. One particular juice, MonaVie, typically costs a family of four $5000 a year… and that’s for only 4 ounces of juice per person per day. For some that is equal to their entire food budget for the year.

What are you going to do to keep your food budget on track? Let me know in the comments.