The rising cost of groceries has caused many Americans to tighten their supermarket budgets, and many more are choosing to go to local food banks.
The Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) has seen firsthand how the soaring inflation rate has made it difficult for some Texans to put food on the table. According to Jordan Ramirez at the TAFB, the agency tries to provide as much food as possible, so families do not need to purchase as much at the store.
Ramirez also said that the food bank had seen greater demand for items than it did during the pandemic, signaling that the rising costs of goods have left many consumers in a pinch. At the same time, the TAFB is dealing with both funding shortages and tapering donations. The local food bank has had to purchase more food than usual, spending $5.1 million on food, up from the usual $1.4 million.
To help community members get the most out of their grocery dollars, the Tarrant Area Food Bank offered practical tips that any consumer can use to maximize their budget. It starts with making a meal plan for each week. It is easy to get sidetracked and put more in the cart than is truly needed if there is no guiding plan. Creating a meal plan and sticking with it can go a long way in keeping costs in check.
Further, TAFB reminds people that while buying in bulk may save money in some situations, it will be a waste if the food expires before it is consumed. Be sure to focus bulk shopping on non-perishable items.
TAFB also recommends incorporating food items that have multiple uses. For example, rice is a great staple that can serve as the base of many meals. Build burrito bowls or make a stir-fry with rice as the entrée. As a bonus, rice is more affordable than many other carbohydrate sources.
“Pick items with multiple purposes,” said Ramirez. “Rice can be made in so many recipes by changing your cuisine or seasoning.” He said it could be used throughout the week without making meals feel repetitive.
Lastly, shopping the sales from a wide variety of stores will also yield significant savings. Checking the weekly circulars and building a list from the sales advertised will help harness savings from the best deals every week.