- Grocery costs are rising everywhere, but the price increase you see depends on where you live.
- Shoppers everywhere can reduce their costs by planning carefully before they head to the grocery store.
- Meal planning and buying bulk (when it makes sense) can also help you save.
If you live in one of these states, you need a grocery store game plan.
Inflation is affecting virtually every aspect of life, and one of the biggest pain points is at the grocery store. We may get to choose what we buy, but we all need to buy something. If our normal household staples are more expensive these days, we often have no choice but to cough up the extra cash.
While everyone has undoubtedly gone through this over the last year, residents of the following 10 states are feeling it the worst.
These ten states have the highest average grocery costs
The following 10 states have the highest average grocery store prices, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. They're shown alongside their index score, which indicates how their average grocery prices stack up to the rest of the country. A score of 100 is average, while a score of 110 indicates that prices in that state are 10% above the national average.
- Hawaii (152.7)
- Alaska (129)
- New York (121.5)
- California (117)
- Massachusetts (111.7)
- Maryland (109.8)
- Washington (109.7)
- Oregon (109.3)
- New Hampshire (109.1)
- New Jersey (106.2)
It's not surprising to see Hawaii and Alaska atop the list. It's more difficult to transport groceries to these states, and these extra costs result in a higher price on store shelves. Also, it's worth mentioning that the District of Columbia, while not a state, has pretty expensive groceries as well, with an index score of 111.
Remember, these are averages for the entire state and costs will vary significantly within each of these states. Some areas may have grocery costs at or even below the national average.
What can you do about high grocery prices?
The simplest thing you can do to save on groceries is to shop around. Check out a few grocery stores in your area to see which offers the best deals on the products you buy, and keep an eye on ads to see when they're running sales. Check online and look in newspapers for coupons as well.
Be flexible with the items you buy. Unless you have a good reason for sticking to a single brand, consider a cheaper store brand item instead.
For nonperishable items, consider buying in bulk. You can often score a better price when you do this, though you may need to pay a little more upfront. Buying online is another option. Companies like Amazon will now ship groceries directly to your door and they may have lower prices.
Don't shop when you're hungry and try to plan your meals in advance. If you know you'll have extra ingredients after you prepare one dish, see if you can find another dish that will use them. That way, you won't have to waste anything.
If you have a cash rewards credit card, consider redeeming those rewards for a grocery store gift card to cut your costs once in a while. Try to choose one that gives you bonus rewards for shopping at your favorite grocery stores as well.
And if you think you may qualify, consider looking into Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Each state has its own application form. Some are available online while others may require you to visit a local SNAP office or contact a representative by phone. Here's a list of the relevant agencies for each state to get you started.
Taking the steps above may require a little extra work, but it could save you quite a bit of money over the long term. And once you get into a routine, taking a couple of minutes to look over some ads or check for coupons may not seem like a big deal at all.
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