How to save at checkout despite climbing grocery prices

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FILE – In this April 23, 2012, file photo Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s purchases are scanned by a cashier at a ShopRite grocery story in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Is the grocery store busting your budget? WINK News consumer reporter Andryanna Sheppard shows us ways to keep the costs down at check out.

An extra dollar on milk here, a couple more on eggs there… it really adds up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend close to $450 per month on groceries. That number continues to skyrocket with inflation caused by pandemic-related supply chain issues. In February, food prices rose almost 8% compared to the year before; that’s the biggest inflation rate the U.S. has seen in 40 years.

But substituting some items and shopping smarter can help that dollar stretch. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk, but check the unit price. Try shopping later in the day. You might find discounts on perishable foods like bread, produce and meat.

One shopper said, “I love chicken wings. It used to be $19.99 for a 10-lbs pack. You know how much it was just yesterday? $31.”

Skip the pre-shredded cheese: Do the muscle work and save some cheddar grating your own. But don’t skip the freezer aisles; vegetables and produce are flash-frozen at peak ripeness, ensuring optimal nutrients when they’re defrosted. Studies show fresh produce loses nutrient value after sitting on a store or refrigerator shelf for just a few days.

Shopping online helps you stick to your list, so you don’t shop impulsively. But, if you like to grab your own groceries, shop alone. You’re more likely to buy stuff you don’t need if you take your partner or kids.

The continuing war in Ukraine is expected to keep prices up. We’ll know how much more you paid for groceries last month in a couple of days when the consumer price index for March is released on Tuesday.

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