With so many people being laid off from their jobs or having their hours cut, affording basic essentials has become a struggle. Use these tips to save money on groceries during the Coronavirus pandemic so that you can stretch your food budget even farther.
Not only do people have less money coming in right now, but food prices have skyrocketed due to high demand. It’s not due to a food shortage but to a lag in the supply chain.
Not only are prices going up but most grocery stores no longer have the same amount of sales and promotions that they once did so it makes it even harder to find great deals.
As an avid couponer, this has drastically changed the way I shop and I wanted to share my tips for saving money on groceries during the Coronavirus pandemic so that you can use them to save money for your family.
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Tips to Save Money on Groceries During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Shop Sales and Use Coupons when Possible
The sales and promotions at my local grocery stores have drastically been reduced. It has been getting harder to find great sales to pair with coupons but there still are some out there.
Sit down every week and look at the new sales flyer to see what you can buy on a budget. I always try to meal plan for the week with what might be on sale.
You will have a better chance of finding different things on sale if you are able to shop at more than one store every week. I have a Publix nearby and right across the street is an Ingles supermarket.
I look at both stores to see what is on sale. A lot of the time they will have different promos so I will hit up both stores in one shopping trip to get the best deals on a variety of items.
To learn more about couponing check out: How to Coupon when you are Short on Time
Buy Larger Sizes or in Bulk
One way to get the most bang for your buck is by buying larger sizes of items. It is a great time to buy a Costco or BJ’s membership. If you don’t think you will eat all of the food before it expires, see if a family member or neighbor would like to split the food (and the cost).
Whenever you are buying in bulk, always make sure to look at the cost per ounce to make sure it really is a better deal over buying a normal size item.
Buy Store Brands
A great way to save money on groceries if you can’t find good sales, is to buy the store or private label brands over the name brands. These are great for pantry staples like rice, stock, pasta, frozen vegetables, bread, milk, etc.
I buy store brands for items all of the time and I honestly don’t taste the difference between them and a brand name. Except for boxed mac and cheese. I don’t know what it is but the store brand is never as good as the Kraft version.
It will be hit or miss on some items and your personal preference, but for the most part I think the store brands are just as good, and sometimes even better, than the name brand items.
You can easily save 30% or more just buy making this simple switch.
More Ways to Save on Food
Cut Back on Meat Intake or Buy Frozen
The price of meat has really gone up since the pandemic hit. It has had the most significant price increase over any grocery store item.
A great way to save some money is to simply cut back on your meat intake. Maybe have a night or two a week that is strictly vegetarian. You can add some beans or lentils to a meal for an affordable protein option.
If it is too hard to cut back on meat, look for more affordable options in the freezer aisle. Frozen chicken and beef patties are just as good as the fresh options but can be 20-40% cheaper. Plus, they last longer.
Farmer’s Markets and Local Farms
Since it is summer, it is now the perfect time to hit up your local Farmer’s market or local farms for some in season produce.
We recently visited a local farm and got some great deals on strawberries, corn, melons, and blueberries. The prices were comparable to grocery store sales but the flavor was so much better and fresher. Not to mention it is better to support local businesses!
We made the switch to buying our produce from local farms because the flavor of the produce at our grocery store was awful. It may be that the supply chain is behind but the produce just didn’t taste good so we were throwing our money away by buying it.
You can check out these tips to save even more money at your local farmer’s market.
Take Advantage of Free School Meals
Our local school district has been dropping off breakfast and lunch for the kids at the bus stop since school was canceled. This is a great way to stretch your food budget since you don’t have to worry about buying these meals during the week.
I was able to afford my daughter’s meals when the school shut down but everyone started panic buying and the stores were running out of basic food. We couldn’t even find bread at any of the stores near us.
So I took her to the bus stop and got her some breakfast and lunch during the week. It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford it, it was that we couldn’t find any food! A lot of people were in the same situation so this was an amazing thing that the schools did!
I thought about not taking the food once our stores started having things in stock again but I was told by the bus driver that the more people that came to get the food, the better. It was keeping the bus drivers and cafeteria workers from having to be furloughed so we continued to get it every day.
Check with your local school district to see if they offer a program like this. Ours will even be doing this through the summer months and you don’t have to be a student at the school to receive it. They will give it to anyone under the age of 18. It is worth checking out!
There is no shame in asking for help and going to a food bank if you are struggling to afford groceries for you and your family. That is what they are there for.
You may have seen lines of cars miles long at the food banks on the news. That is because so many people are in the same situation.
Local food banks, churches, and even some community centers will hold drive up food giveaways to those who need it. Call up these places near you to get more information and to see when they will be holding these events.
Get help when you need it and when things get better, remember to pass on the kindness to others.
You can use all or some of these tips to save money on groceries during the Coronavirus pandemic. I hope this will help you stretch your money even farther until things turn around.