CHICAGO (4/7/08)--Last year, U.S. consumers experienced the highest food price increase since 1990, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And there is every indication that prices will continue to increase this year, thanks to weather-related setbacks and changes in the global economy (CNN.com
Mar. 25). Despite more money being shelled out at the grocery store, farmers aren’t profiting from the increases at the checkout (NYTimes.com
April 1). The bleak outlook means it’s even more important to find ways to save:
* Write down the amount to spend. Include funds for groceries, dining at restaurants, and take-out. Then remember that budgeted amount when you’re at the supermarket as well as making decisions about whether to order pizza delivery. * Plan a menu. Develop a plan each week before heading to the supermarket so you purchase only the items you need for your culinary creations instead of making last-minute decisions in the aisles. * Eat before you shop. Shopping on an empty stomach typically results in tossing more items in your cart. Eat before you go to resist shiny packages and impulse purchases. * Brown bag it. Eating out costs more on a per-meal basis. Consider that a sandwich, chips and beverage from a restaurant will cost you $6 and last for one meal. A loaf of bread, deli meat, and a two-liter bottle of soda from the supermarket will cost roughly the same and last for several meals. * Make a meal with that special someone. Try a new recipe in lieu of going out for an expensive date.