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Grocery prices continue to inch a little higher, but they may not have jumped as high as you anticipated when you began hearing the news reports about the ongoing drought in the Midwest. Don’t let the slight price increases lure you into falsely believing that is the only impact you will experience from the damaged corn and soybean crops. According the USDA Economic Research Service, “The full effects of the increase in corn prices for packaged and processed foods (cereal, corn flour, etc.) will likely take ten to twelve months to move through to retail food prices.” Due to that fact, the majority of price increases will be felt during 2013.
Food prices are expected to increase between three and four percent in the upcoming year with the concentrated areas of increase being eggs, dairy, and meat. The Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion reports that the estimated moderate weekly cost of groceries for a family of four is $236.60. The projected cost increase could have an annual impact of $600 on a family of four. Without a doubt, there is still a need to find ways to reduce the family grocery bill without compromising everyone’s health.
With grocery prices on the rise, unemployment rates still high, and the overall uncertainty of the state of the economy, it is imperative that those of us stretching our food dollars continue following all of the tips that those in similar situations have been offering during these financially trying times. In addition, it may also be time to include some creative cooking ideas along with your frugal shopping tips to further stretch those grocery dollars.
With meat being one of the items where a price increase is imminent, it may be necessary for you to find ways to make that pound of ground beef or pack of chicken stretch even farther than usual. The following tips are offered as a starting point to ignite your creative cooking ideas.
Breakfast can quickly become an expensive meal with the increase in eggs, milk, and cereal. However, this is not a meal you want to omit. You can implement some money-saving strategies to make breakfast less of a budget-breaker. At the beginning of the year, before prices go any higher, stock up on cereal, flour, and similar items. Be sure to store these items in a location where they are not subjected to moisture.
Many prepared snacks contain ingredients that are on the escalated price list. You can save money on your grocery bill by making your own cookies, trail mix, and other snack foods. Growing some fruit and vegetables yourself provides a source of healthy, inexpensive snack food.
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