Watching cashiers ring up purchases at the grocery store is becoming more painful every day. Unfortunately, things are about to get much worse, particularly for low-income consumers who don”t have ready access to discount supermarkets.
According to the United Nations, global food prices hit a record high in February due to upward-spiraling gas prices and stockpiling by importers. These factors are hitting the already volatile cereal markets. Wheat, corn, sugar and edible oils have seen the sharpest price increases in the last six months, with a relatively smaller increase in rice. Produce has already skyrocketed, with prices expected to rise by roughly one-fourth to one-third in the next year.
Such price increases and the resulting extreme poverty are partially credited with recent public unrest that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and sparked further unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.
So what”s an American consumer to do? Here are 10 ways to combat rising food prices.
1. Shop Warehouse Stores
Not all prices are better at membership stores, particularly if you tend to go overboard, but there are some really good deals to be had. Look for great buys on perishable items and shop towards the end of the day, when department managers want to unload extra inventory.
2. Use Coupons
Now”s the time to get in on the extreme-couponing trend, particularly since there are so many ways to access them these days. You”ll find coupons online in both Internet-code or downloadable (IP) form. Mobile coupons are as close as your cell phone. CellFire is a great source for grocery savings.
Don”t overlook the coupons that print out with your receipt at the register. Known as Catalinas, these coupons are targeted towards the purchases you”ve made that day. Some stores, like King Soopers, also allow you to stack manufacturer and store coupons for additional savings. Not all supermarkets allow you to stack, however, so check first.
3. Hit Dollar Stores
Whether you cruise the narrow aisles of Dollar General or hit one of the smaller chains, dollar stores offer “ka-ching” savings on boxed, bagged and canned goods. Make sure you check the expiration dates, however.