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Safeguard Your Savings: How you can save in the grocery lane

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Posted at 6:46 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 20:02:36-05

Enjoying a homemade meal costs more these days thanks to nationwide inflation, but there are ways to save in the checkout lane.

Whether grocery shopping in stores or online, many people have noticed the price to buy food is creeping up.

“I think it’s gone up over the last two years. But over the last six months, I’ve become much more conscious of it," said Kristi Korb, Green Bay.

Korb buys her groceries online at local big box stores and is feeling the squeeze of inflation.

"A 4-pack of color peppers - $6.99," Korb said while scrolling through product online. "I think it use to be what, $2.89, maybe $3.49? But $6.99 for four peppers: That is crazy. If you want to eat healthy, they're making you pay for it."

The overall cost to buy groceries has gone up 6.5% from a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are notable price hikes in meats at 14.8%. Non-alcoholic drinks, like pop and tea, are up 5.2%. The cost of fruits and vegetables has increased 5%. But there's better news for people in the dairy state, as dairy products saw the smallest increase at 1.6%.

"Inventory, products, workforce - that has all culminated to put us in this situation that we're in today," said Brandon Scholz, Wisconsin Grocers Association president.

Scholz said fewer people working in the food industry has delayed production and shipping, not to mention shortages of needed items like aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic and steel. This all means less product on the shelves. More demand and not enough supply leads to these higher prices.

"Those are all challenges every week that grocers have to try and figure out how they can satisfy their customer's demands," Scholz said.

The Local Market in the town of Stiles opened over Memorial Day weekend. The shop sells locally made products like cheese, meat, bread, wine and condiments.

"A little over six months ago, the prices to us have increased constantly," said Lori Dufek, The Local Market owner.

Dufek said costs to the store go up at least 10% - sometimes as high as 40% - every other week.

"Since we opened, there are some items that have doubled in price to us through that time," Dufek said.

Although prices are higher, The Local Market is eating a portion of its profits to keep costs low to consumers.

Dufek said they're constantly evaluating what products to continue purchasing to bring the best fresh products directly to consumers at an affordable rate.

"We know that prices are going up everywhere, so we hope that the convenience of being local and possibly buying things that are locally made will be important enough to continue to purchase," Dufek said. "The only way to combat that is hopefully have more and more people support us."

So what can people do to save their hard earned money?

Korb said she only buys what she needs so food isn't wasted.

"I'm much more intentional with my spending due to the price increase," Korb said.

Other tips from experts:

  • Be on the lookout for cheaper product substitutions
  • Shop the sales
  • Clip coupons
  • Go to the store with a grocery list, but be prepared to shift if products are out of budget
  • Use a grocery rewards program/loyalty card
  • Bring your own bag