According to an infogographic compiled using information from the USDA, 6.9% of Americans’ household spending is on food. While this doesn’t seem like a huge amount, it nonetheless makes an impact. Consider: If you make $45,000 a year, that’s $3,000 a year. Many of us spend more than that, though.
On top of that, the World Bank reports that food prices have been rising in recent years. While food price stabilization has occurred recently, there is a chance that another spike — like the one seen between 2010 and 2011 — could be seen again.
If you are concerned about food prices, you need to do what you can to offset the costs associated with buying groceries. One way to reduce what you spend is to use a great grocery rewards card.
6% Cash Back on Groceries
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card offers 6% cash back on grocery purchases that you make every day. As long as you make your purchases at a stand-alone US grocery store, you can earn 6% cash back. You do have to pay an annual fee of $75 for this card, but you can likely recoup that fairly easily with the generous cash back rewards, which also include 3% cash back for gas purchases at stand-alone stations, and 1% cash back on everything else.
There is also a $150 bonus when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of your account. This bonus is redeemable for a statement credit, and offsets the first two years of annual fees.
As long as you pay off your account balance each month, it’s possible for you to reap the benefits of this generous cash back program (if you don’t pay off your balance, the interest you pay will likely negate the amount of your rewards).
Other Ways to Save on Grocery Costs
Don’t just rely on cash back to save money on food costs, though. There are other ways to reduce your exposure to food prices inflation:
- Coupons: Look for grocery coupons to help you save on items you commonly buy. You don’t have to rely on circulars, either. Go online and search for your favorite food items and brands, and download printable coupons. If you have a smart phone, you can use coupon apps to find discounts, and organize your coupons easily.
- Meal planning: Don’t underestimate the power of meal planning. Look ahead to what you want to eat, and plan accordingly. You can use your slow cooker to make things easier, or cook ahead and freeze your meals. With the right meal planning, you can even coordinate sales and coupons with what you plan to eat for the week.
- Grow your own: One of the best ways to save on food is to grow your own items. Grow expensive food items that you enjoy, and you’ll be able to enjoy them fresh — and save money. Plus, if you have extra, you can harvest and preserve (can, bottle, freeze, dry) it for later.
- Buy in bulk: There are some food items that are perfect for buying in bulk. You can often get a lower per-unit price when you buy in bulk. Buy non-perishables in bulk, or buy items that you know you can preserve for later through bottling or canning. Save these items for later, and you won’t have to buy them at a higher price.
- Re-evaluate your eating habits: Some foods, like meat, cost more. If you want to save money, you can re-evaluate your eating habits to cut out more expensive foods. However, you don’t want to cut out the health. Unfortunately, many unhealthy foods cost less than health choices. Look for ways to increase the healthy nature of your meals while saving money.
- Buy in season: Make it a point to buy produce that is in season. You’ll pay less for it if it comes from a local source, and in its harvest season.
You will always need to spend money on food. However, with the help of the American Express Preferred card, and when you pay attention to reducing your costs, it’s possible for you to reduce the impact food has on your budget.
Photo by Golden Eel.