Clark Howard: Food prices keep going up. This is how you can up your grocery shopping game

ATLANTA — Inflation impacts all of us in so many different ways, but there is one area that is hitting everyone’s budget: Groceries.

Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard says there are multiple things that we can all do to trim our grocery budgets.

Since 2019, the cost of groceries has increased 25%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Shoppers and their wallets have noticed.

“I definitely noticed a spike,” shopper Damon Jones says.

“Everywhere, everything’s up,” shopper Conner Scofield says.

“I used to buy a bunch of groceries at once, especially fruits and vegetables,” Jones said “Now, I only buy like every couple of days.”

That can add up to huge savings. An average family of four loses $1,500 each year on eaten food according to the USDA. That’s nearly $500 billion nationwide.

Meal planning is another way to avoid overspending in the grocery aisle.

“When you know there’s a specific set of things for the diet [that] you have to get, you’re only grabbing those things. You end up saving money,” Howard said.


Heading into the store with a plan means you avoid buying items you don’t need.

“We’re trying to save some money and lose some fat at the same time,” a shopper told Howard.

Remember you can also build your plan based on the sales. The app Flipp will help you do just that. Flipp allows you to see sales at every store you shop. It will also send you updates when deals become available.

Other apps to consider include Ibotta and Grocery Pal. Ibotta helps you earn cashback on purchases. You should also know when it pays to spend extra on organic items and when it doesn’t.

According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, produce like pineapple, avocado and sweet potatoes have very low pesticides to begin with. Skip precut fruits and vegetables. Do it yourself and save big bucks.

Where can you shop and save? Howard recommends Aldi, Lidl, Walmart and Costco. But remember it doesn’t always pay to buy in bulk and choosing the store brand will also save you big money. It may even cut your cost by up to 40%.

“We’re in an unusual time with groceries because they’re back to high prices depending on what’s on sale that week,” Howard said. “Do the reverse shopping list, where you build your meals based on what’s on sale that week. You’ll dial back the inflationary clock.”

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