As Americans face soaring prices on several everyday necessities, from gas for their cars to food in the grocery store, many are fearful of how they will make ends meet, especially as federal aid given out for the COVID-19 Pandemic ends, with no new funds in sight.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all groceries have gone up an average of 7.4% in price from January 2021. While items like alcoholic beverages (up 2.7%), dairy products (3.1%), nonalcoholic beverages (4.6%), sugar and sweets (5.4%), fruits and vegetables (5.6%) cereals and cereal products (6%) and bakery products (7.2%) all fall underneath that average with increases, fish and seafood (up 9.6%), fats and oils (10.7%), eggs (13.1%) and meats (13.6%) have all seen prices sky-rocket7 much higher.

With these price increases in all areas of the supermarket, many are wondering how best to stretch their dollars so as to still afford their everyday needs. While price increases may be daunting, there are some ways that experts say savvy shoppers can save a few dollars.

People push carts full of groceries out of a supermarket in Lynn, Massachusetts on January 28, 2022 as they prepare for the coming blizzard
People push carts full of groceries out of a supermarket in Lynn, Massachusetts on January 28, 2022 as they prepare for the coming blizzard AFP / Joseph Prezioso

Follow these steps to try and combat higher prices during inflation:

Buy In Bulk

It’s always a good idea to be well-stocked on essential pantry staples, like canned and dry goods that get used often and frozen foods, and a good way of saving money and making sure they’re always on hand is buying in bulk. Reader’s Digest suggests utilizing warehouse clubs like Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club, which do have an annual fee, but allow members to stock up on essentials for a much smaller price per item than they may pay individually at a typical grocery store.

However, U.S. News and World Report cautions that some items are not a good idea to purchase in bulk, such as perishable items like milk, eggs, fresh produce and meat (unless it is being frozen), or items like coffee beans and snack foods (which can enforce overindulgent eating habits).

Meal Plan

Shoppers may have heard of meal planning when it comes to making sure they follow a healthy diet, but it can also save money by enforcing the use of a grocery list—which cuts down on impulse buying. U.S. News and World Report wrote in 2019 that strategically shopping for groceries in advance and using a list to do so can reduce the number of trips to the grocery store over the course of a week by allowing consumers to have everything they need in advance of preparing their meals.

Comparison Shop

If you utilize comparison shopping in other areas of your life, like buying furniture, apparel, or other items, the same money-saving tactics to ensure you're getting the best deal can apply to food shopping as well. From checking out the different sales at local stores to determine who is giving you the best deal, to using apps that do the work for you and also alert you to special coupon offers, doing research ensures the best deals are within reach—saving money in the long run.

Cut Down Consumption Of More Expensive Food Items

With meats experiencing the highest surge in pricing now, a way to save money is to either cut those foods out of your diet completely or be more economical with their use. While switching to a more vegetarian-friendly diet may not be a solution for most, The Spruce Eats suggests that one way to reduce consumption of meat is to incorporate one meatless meal into a weekly routine. Doing so can allow you to stretch what you do have longer.

Using fillers with things like chopped meat—think oats, rice and breadcrumbs—can also allow a package of meat to stretch further