How to Overcome the Rising Cost of Food
Life is getting very expensive these days - especially when it comes to grocery shopping. One of the main culprits in this rising cost of food is corn. It's used in so many grocery store foods and is also fed to dairy cows, hens and cattle. In addition, corn is now used to make billions of gallons of ethanol a year. The growing demand (and growing price) for the corn crop is affecting every aisle of the supermarket. In fact, many farmers have switched from growing other products to growing corn, since it is so profitable.
A major concern with the rising cost of food is that convenience items (like frozen dinners) are cheaper and easier to buy than healthier foods, like fresh produce. However, it is still possible to continue a healthy eating plan by making some changes and being a smart shopper.
Before going on a grocery shopping trip, there are simple steps you can take to help you save some money. First, be sure to check your cupboards and refrigerator before going to the store to make sure you aren't buying a product that you didn't realize you already had. Secondly, make a meal schedule for the week and make sure you only buy products that you know you will use. Also, try to plan meals that have similar ingredients. For example, make baked chicken one night and chicken chili the next. This way, you'll be sure to use up the entire package and not let any food go to waste.
Buy in Bulk
Buying bulk packaged items at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's can save a lot of money if you have the storage space in your cupboards. If the product is perishable, however, like fruits or vegetables, be sure you will actually use what you are buying; otherwise you'll be losing money.
If meat is too expensive, turn to dried beans and lentils instead. They are packed with protein and fiber and can actually be a healthier - and more budget-conscious - alternative. Canned beans are also a good choice but remember to look for the lower sodium versions and to rinse canned beans in a strainer to get rid of excess salt. Furthermore, grains, such as brown rice, bulgur and barley are a great substitute for any boxed rice or pasta dishes. They are also packed with fiber and nutrients. In addition, they are very easy to store and have a long shelf-life.
Look for the generic or store-brand products of your favorite foods. Very often they are significantly cheaper and comparable to the name brand products. If you are unsure whether or not the store brand is equivalent to the name brand, read and compare the ingredient lists and food labels.
We live in a world where we can get what we want, when we want it. If we want raspberries in December, we can get them! However, the cost will be much higher. When trying to save money at the grocery store, it is best to buy produce that is in-season, or grown during that time of year in your location.
Fruits and vegetables that are in-season are the freshest and the most budget-friendly during that particular time of year.
The following links from the Food Network are excellent guides to in-season produce.
Plant a Garden
One easy way to save some money is to grow produce in your own yard. Gardening can be a fun and rewarding activity that the whole family can enjoy. If you've never gardened before, ask your local plant shop for help on how to get started and what will grow best around your home.
If you live in an apartment building and don't have a yard or you feel that outdoor gardening isn't for you, you can still have a "garden" inside. Growing herbs in your kitchen window, like dill, chives, and rosemary, is easy and fun and will also add wonderful flavor to your cooking, while saving you money at the supermarket.
A great way to support local farmers and save money is to visit the farmers market in your town. Check with your local government office for information or visit the following website which allows you to search for farmers markets in your area: