Grocery Spending Rose in January. Here Are 3 Ways to Keep Your Costs Down

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  • Inflation has led to higher food costs.
  • There are steps you can take to reduce your supermarket spending and free up cash for other bills.
  • Research deals, meal plan, and buy produce directly from farms to save money on your groceries.

Groceries have gotten more expensive. Here's how to spend less.

These days, a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet as a result of rampant inflation. In January, the Consumer Price Index, which measures changes in the cost of consumer goods, rose a whopping 7.5% on a year-over-year basis. Unsurprisingly, it's now costing people more money just to cover their basic needs.

Grocery spending also rose in January, according to a recent Morning Consult survey. If you're someone who lives paycheck to paycheck with no money in savings, higher food costs could be driving you dangerously close to landing in debt. If that's the case, here are three options for slashing your spending -- and freeing up more money to cover your remaining bills.

1. Actively search for deals

Supermarkets are good about advertising sales and promotions. Even if you don't get circulars in the mail, you can generally access that information online. And at a time when food prices are up, it pays to do so. Snagging a product you buy a lot of on sale could lower your weekly spending by a good $10 to $20. That's a big deal when money is extremely tight.

Plus, some supermarkets offer seasonal promotions, such as getting a free holiday turkey or ham for meeting a certain spending threshold. Doing all of your shopping at the same store for a month could help you score free products. To be clear, though, this strategy really only makes sense if the supermarket in question offers competitive prices. Spending $5 more every week for six weeks just to snag a free $25 item won't benefit you financially.

2. Plan your meals ahead of time

Deciding what you'll be cooking before hitting the stores could help you limit your purchases -- and lower your spending. It pays to put together a meal calendar and then make a list of the ingredients you'll need to bring those plans to life. Sticking to a grocery list could help you stay focused when you're out shopping, preventing you from buying things you think you need, but you actually don't.

3. Get your produce directly from local farms

If you live in the middle of a city, you may not have direct access to locally grown produce. But if you live in a more rural area, you may have farms nearby that will sell you their produce if you pay them a visit. Not only might that result in a lower price tag for those items, but it might also result in you getting fresher produce that lasts longer.

That's important, because Americans commonly lose money to food waste, and at a time when living costs are so expensive, that's not a mistake you can afford. The fresher your produce, the less likely you'll be to end up throwing things away.

Higher grocery prices are burdening a lot of people right now. If that's the boat you're in, use these tips to lower your food-related spending and make it easier to get through these difficult times.

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