The Global Food Crisis
Today, my colleague Jane Black from the Food section has dropped in to share what she learned while working on a piece for the Post's Global Food Crisis series on local shoppers trying to rein in their growing food bills. She picked up some tips on how to reduce food costs and she's been kind enough to share them with us.
Take it away Jane:
Since last March, the price of a dozen eggs has jumped 36 percent; a gallon of milk is up 23 percent. Bread, meat and other staples are up, too.
New studies show that shoppers are taking various approaches to cutting costs. Some cut back on the number of trips they make to the grocery store in order to save on gas. Some go to many stores to get the best prices, and stock up when things are on sale.
Here are a few tried-and-true ways to keep your bill under control:
Shop around: The price of a gallon of milk can vary widely. I checked prices at three stores in the Woodbridge area and found a range from $3.38 to $4.49. Moreover, experts say, such staples are often, counter-intuitively, cheaper at drugstores or convenience stores where the products are loss-leaders.
Shop around - inside the supermarket: Virtually identical items can vary in price depending on where you buy them inside the store. The cheese in the Dairy section is almost uniformly cheaper than the exact same stuff at the deli or gourmet cheese case. The same goes for cold cuts.
Buy what's cheap - now: Buy what's on sale and use club cards to get lower prices. If one of your staples is on sale and you have room in the pantry, stock up to avoid paying higher prices.
You'll also save money if you buy what's in season. Asparagus and mushrooms are in the stores now, but soon there will be a bounty of squash, tomatoes, berries and stone fruit. Enjoy it now and, if possible, make some tomato sauce or canned peaches. It will save you money and the food will be tastier and healthier to boot.
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