Dry Weather and Rising Food Costs: Planning Ahead to Save Money

This week we traveled to Northeast Nebraska for my high school class reunion. It was great to visit with old friends and to show my family the town that I grew up in. We drove, of course, and I enjoyed the familiar landscapes….the rolling hills in this part of Nebraska are amazing, I had no idea how much I’d missed them.

Wayne and its surrounding communities are farm communities. There was a very definite thread that was woven through our conversations and very noticeable in the fields we drove by on our journey there: the weather we’ve been having, the drought, is affecting the crops in a very serious way. We saw fields of corn, usually green and lush, dry and sparse. Friends talked about struggling to keep their crops watered and worrying about others with no artificial irrigation. All of this led to a discussion on the price of food. It’s going to go up. Again.

As always, I know that planning ahead and being prepared can help you save money, even when prices seem to go up instead of down. If you don’t already practice some form of stockpiling, this is an excellent time to begin.

– Plan your menus with what you have in your house and your grocery lists from what is on sale as often as possible.
– When you make your grocery list, look in the store flyers to see what is on sale that matches your list. The flyers are delivered each Wednesday morning around town. Match those sales with coupons you find in the Sunday paper to further your savings.
– If an item that you use frequently is on sale, consider buying 2 or 3 more than your usual amount. Buying them now at a lower price will keep you from spending more money on them later. Try planning a small dollar amount into your weekly budget to specifically use for increasing your stock pile.
– Shopping sales and using coupons on non-perishable items like canned/dry goods and household items will free up money in your budget for more fresh produce and unplanned expenses.
– Try to break free from some of your “brand loyalties”. Quite often when a brand introduces a new product they will offer it at a significant discount. Be willing to try different brands if there is a significant savings to be had.

A little planning can go a long way to saving you money and being more organized with your menus and shopping will save you time as well (no extra trips to the store because you don’t have anything planned or all of your necessary ingredients!).

Remember that creating a stockpile is not the same thing as hoarding and buying items you don’t normally use is not actually saving money.

Happy Shopping!