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How to Combat Rising Food Costs

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How to Combat Rising Food Costs
Fill your fridge without emptying your wallet!

By Jeanette Pavini for GalTime.com

The U.S. Department of Agriculture just announced new data around the cost of feeding a family of four a healthy diet. It now ranges from $146 to $289 a week! That is up 38% between 2003 and 2013, according to a USDA economist. The cost of food in general went up 32%! So, what can families do to combat these rising food costs?

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MAKE A PLAN

Savings can start with organization and planning. Did you know that by using only a computer and a weekly grocery circular, the average shopper can go home with $260 worth of groceries for less than $150? Over the course of one year, that shopper can save more than $5,000!

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Commodity food prices are expected to rise by 3-4 percent in the next year, and there is an expectation that these increases will have a ripple effect on prices of consumer packaged goods, which could result in even higher percentage increases for consumers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture report noted the following expected price increases:

Beef: 4-5%
Dairy: 3.5-4.5%
Poultry and eggs: 3-4%
Pork: 2.5-3.5%
Fruits and vegetables: 2-3%
INSIDER TIPS:

1. Set aside a few minutes each week to sit down and plan meals around store sales.

2. Visit sites like Coupons.com and manufacturer sites to print out coupons, or save them directly to a store loyalty card.

3. Following brands and retailers on social media sites for deals.

4. Leverage technology; mobile applications, like Grocery iQ, let shoppers easily find coupons and organize shopping lists.

5. Plan meals around what produce is in season. The quality and prices will be better.

6. Avoid precut or pre-portioned food. The price of convenience is not worth the added cost.

7. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy items like potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, onions and lemons in bulk bags versus individually; do the math before you buy.

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8. Ask your butcher what time of day they typically mark down meat as many stores do two rounds of markdowns (30% in morning, 60% off in the evening for the items left).

9. Look up and down. More inexpensive brands and better deals may be located on the bottom or top of shelves.

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10. Stock up on freezable items like meat and bread when they are on sale. Use a permanent marker and write your purchase date on the package so you know how long it’s been in the freezer.

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