Since most seniors are on a fixed income, it can be difficult to adjust to changes in the economy that result in higher costs. And since for the second year in a row there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment to Social Security, the pinch in the pocketbook will be even tighter over the next year. So how does a senior continue paying for necessities with a potential reduction in spending power? One area that could probably use improvement is the grocery budget. Does Safeway’s produce seem expensive to you?
Local Walnut Creek and other area Farmer’s market tend to be very expensive. Try some of the small produce stores in the area. For instance, there’s one the corner of Gregory Lane and Pleasant Hill Road. My favorites is MiPubelo market in Pittsburg. Besides the value in the produce department, there are great yogurts and salsa.
Here are a few tips on recession-proofing your grocery shopping habits:
- Fruits & Vegetables: We all know how great fruits and vegetables are for our health and well-being, and as a bonus most locally-grown items are cheap too. If you live near a grocer’s or farmer’s market you can regularly stock up on fruits and vegetables to supplement your diet, and save over buying less healthy, more prepared foods.
- Top & Bottom: Marketers have found that most people buy from the middle shelves at the grocery store, so generally you will find costlier name-brand products on these shelves. Check out the bottom and top shelves instead, you’ll find similar products for less.
- Avoid the Freezer Aisle: Unless you absolutely must have an item in these aisles, it will be better for your budget (and your health) to avoid this area of the store. Chock full of overpriced sodium and preservative-filled foods, there’s nothing you need here that you can’t make yourself or find fresh.
- Stock Up on Tupperware: If you can buy more, cook more, and freeze the excess you can go a long way to stretching your budget. So get some good Tupperware and start cooking in bulk!
If you are not keen on cooking, then try doing it in batches. Soup is one of the easiest, healthiest, and lowest costing foods to make, and you can make a huge batch at once that will last you for weeks. Don’t forget to add beans or lentils for that extra protein and foliate kick. You can also suggest to a few friends about a cooking get-together, where you can all make an oversized dish and send each other home with a bit of everything. Who said saving on groceries wasn’t fun?