Food cost inflation sparks new saving hacks for consumers

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The latest inflation report showed that consumer prices ticked up 0.1% in November. Year over year, however, prices overall are up 7.1%. That’s still better than initially expected. November numbers in the report show that the pace of inflation is starting to cool, and DOW futures predictions are beginning to rise. One important facet of the Consumer Price Index is food, which we all feel sharply in our budgets. Overall, groceries and food away from home increased by 0.5% in November. Grocery prices for the year have increased by 12%.

Not all items are created equally, however. For example, cereals and bakery products have increased by more than 16% over the past year. “Milk, eggs, even flour for baking has gone up. Butter has gone up tremendously, but there are things you can do to save,” Andrea Woroch, a money-saving mom, said. Woroch suggests choosing store brands and buying more frozen foods, saving you up to 30% on your grocery bill. In addition, manager markdowns on foods nearing their expiration date could save you as much as 50 to 70%. Always remember to check the price per unit to make sure you’re landing the best deal for your money as well.

“Don’t just look at the price tag to determine which is the better deal. Sometimes you’ll see these multiple deals on sale like 7 for $5.50. Those deals are confusing and unless you have your calculator out, you can’t really figure out the best price per unit so look at those small numbers,” Woroch said. “That will help you out, and this will help you determine, maybe, that the sale isn’t actually the better deal!”

Regarding fast food prices, prices have jumped 12.9% in the last year. At Wendy’s, prices have jumped 35%, Burger King’s chicken fries are up by 16%, and Chick-fil-A’s grilled chicken sandwich is up by 10%. Despite these price hikes, there are still ways you can save. Woroch suggests, “Go to a discount shopping site like Raze.com or CardCash. I found a gift card for 14% off at Panera Bread. That’s a great way to stretch your takeout or eating out dollars,” she said. “Plus, sometimes they have coupon codes at CouponCabin.com.”

Woroch also suggests buying gift cards in bulk from places like Costco or Sam’s Club, which can save you money in the long run. “They sell bulk packages of restaurant gift cards at 20-30% off and during the holidays, I actually see sales on these,” she said. “So you don’t have to give those as gift cards, put them in your wallet and use them when you eat out.”

Woroch said meal planning and prepping in advance can go a long way when it comes to eating at home.

Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell is a consumer investigative reporter for On Your Side. She joined Arizona’s Family in January 2020. ​