How to save on groceries in the face of food price inflation

To feel the effects of inflation, all you have to do is go to the supermarket.

Although inflation overall began to ease last month with gasoline prices, food prices rose 1.1% in July, carrying the year-on-year gain to the another at 10.9%, according to the latest figures from the Consumer Price Index.

The Food at Home Index, a measure of price changes at grocery stores, recorded the biggest 12-month increase since 1979.

Cereals and baked goods cost 15% more than last year. Milk and dairy products are up 14.9% and fruit and vegetables are up 9.3% over the year.

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“Consumers are taking a break at the gas pump, but not at the grocery store,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. “Food prices, and in particular food-at-home costs, continue to soar, rising at the fastest rate in more than 43 years.”

Since the Federal Reserve has already taken aggressive action to fight soaring inflation, consumers expect prices to eventually come down. They’re still expected to climb 6.7% over the next 12 months, but that’s a steep drop from June, according to the monthly consumer expectations survey. Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The central bank has raised its benchmark rate by 2.25 percentage points so far in 2022 and signaled that more increases are to come.

Yet, as Tomas Philipson, professor of public policy studies at the University of Chicago and former interim president of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, explained, “it will be some time before [the Fed’s rate-hike cycle] to make his way.”

In the meantime, here’s how to protect yourself from sticker shock at the supermarket:

5 tips to avoid getting scammed at the grocery store

  1. Use a cashback app. Ibotta and Checkout 51 are two of the most popular apps for making money in-store, according to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com. The average Ibotta user earns between $10 and $20 per month, but more active users can earn up to $100 to $300 per month, a spokesperson told CNBC.
  2. Review sales. Generic brands can be 10% to 30% cheaper than their “premium” counterparts and just as good, but that’s not always the case. Big name brands may be offering deeper than usual discounts right now to maintain loyalty, so it’s worth paying attention to price changes.
  3. Plan your meals. When you plan your meals ahead, you’re more likely to buy only the things you need, said Lisa Thompson, savings expert at Coupons.com. If planning isn’t your thing, at least go shopping with a rough idea of ​​what you’ll be cooking in the coming week to help you stay on track and avoid impulse buying, she said. added.
  4. Buy in bulk. As for the rest of the items on your list, you can save more by buying in bulk. Joining a wholesale club like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s will often get you the best unit price on condiments and non-perishables.
  5. Pay with the correct card. While a generic cashback card such as the Citi Double Cash Card can earn you 2%, there are specific grocery rewards cards that can earn you up to 6% at supermarkets nationwide, such as the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express. CNBC’s Select offers a comprehensive roundup of the best cards for food purchases, along with APRs and annual fees.

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