CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you experience sticker shock every time you go to the grocery store, there's a good reason. Groceries continue to cost more than they did last year as inflation drives up prices on everyday essentials.
The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the cost of buying food has increased by 11.8% from last year. That's why it's so important to find ways you can save money while getting the food your family needs.
If you're looking to find the best deal, there are many tools consumers can use. Here are four strategies from AARP that will help you spend less on groceries.
1. Choose store brands
You can save as much as 25% buying store-brand products versus name brands, according to AARP analysis. The good news is many grocery chains have not only increased the number of store-brand products offered, but they've also improved the quality of those items.
2. Shop dollar stores for brand-name products
While inventory will typically vary, discount stores typically carry name-brand products. Take advantage of the savings when you find them. You can often save money buying the same exact product at dollar stores.
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3. Skip pre-cut products
While pre-cut veggies, fruit and cheese are convenient, they’re not generally cost-effective.
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4. Plan your weekly meals on Fridays
Making a list and sticking to it is key to cutting out unnecessary impulse buys. Consumer experts say planning your list on Fridays is best because that's when many grocery stores release their weekly deals and discounts. Also, download your grocery store of choice's app. Sometimes they'll offer app-exclusive deals or single-day discounts on certain items.
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