May Topic of the Month: Food costs are rising steadily: Save money by cooking at home

Kevin Orsinger |

It’s no secret that prices are rising everywhere you go—from the gas station to the housing market to the grocery store. Based on research from the USDA, food price inflation is at its highest since 2008. Food-at-home prices are anticipated to rise 5-6% in 2022 and food-away-from-home is predicted to rise between 5.5-6.5%. Such a steep rise, in addition to inflation elsewhere in our lives, means a potentially negative impact on our budgets.

It’s no secret that cooking at home is often cheaper than eating at a restaurant, but did you know that it’s often as much as ten times cheaper? To maximize those savings, though, you need to shop strategically.

Before you begin shopping, the first thing you want to do is take stock of what you have. Do a review of your cupboards. Are there dusty cans or dried goods you haven’t used in a while? Pull them out and see what you can make from them! Then, you might decide to review fliers for sales at local stores—particularly if you’re a person who eats meat, which is almost always the most expensive part of the meal. After you’ve taken inventory, decide what your meal plan is for the coming week. Look up recipes if you need them, consider all meals and snacks, and write out a weekly menu and a thorough shopping list to go with it.

Now it’s time to think about shopping. Perhaps you can consider seeking out a farmers’ market or local butcher to get produce and meat that is better for you, for the environment, and often cheaper. You might consider whether a club membership to Costco, Sam’s Club, or another wholesaler is a good fit for your family. These memberships do cost upfront money, but they offer discounted prices on bulk goods and gas. The savings can add up in the long run. You might also shop around—buy eggs, milk, and cheese at one store because they’re on sale and get the remainder of your products at another store.

Finally, one way to save lots of money is to consider eating more vegetarian meals. Meat is costly, and vegetarian meals are often made with cheaper ingredients. Maybe you give eggplant parmesan a try, have a black bean burger night, or experiment with some fried tofu. If you’re finding yourself financially struggling with rising inflation costs, we’re here to help. Call Orsinger Investment Group, Inc. at 724-588-9067 and we can help you evaluate your financial plan to help you feel comfortable as costs rise.