How to cut down on your costs at the grocery store

May 19, 2023, 4:00 PM

A grocery-shopping guru joined KSL Podcast D2 to offer tips and advice on how to pinch your pennies...

SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 12: Customers shop for eggs at a Sprouts grocery store on April 12, 2023 in San Rafael, California. According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation in March slowed to its lowest rate in nearly two years with prices rising 5 percent, down from 6 percent in February. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Since knowledge is power, power your way through shopping with advice and tips from a grocery-store guru.

Last year, U.S. consumers saw the largest annual increase in food prices since the 1980s. While food prices generally increased about 2% in prior years, they increased about 11% from 2021 to 2022.

Sticker Shock at the Grocery Store? Inflation Wasn’t the Only Reason Food Prices Increased

The increase in food prices “has been going on for the better part of two years now. . . Now we’re talking about chicken breasts at nearly $4 per pound. You used to be able to get it for $1 per pound or even $2 per pound. So it hasn’t just gone up 10% here. It’s up 100% in the last couple of years,” Dave Noriega from KSL Podcast D2 said. 

Vicenza Vicari-Bentley, the coordinator for USU Extension’s Empowering Financial Wellness program, joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic, from D2, to discuss ways to trim your grocery costs.

Base your shopping list on grocery ads

“Hopefully the tips aren’t just: ‘Dave, you need to eat rice and beans all the time.’ Because if that’s the solution, I’m gonna cry,” he said.

“My first one is use weekly store ads when you’re preparing your menu and your shopping list,” Vicari-Bentley said. “Friday’s a great day for planning your meals because a lot of the stores will post their week’s discounts and their deals that day or sometimes even the day before.”

Let the government help build your meal

Each year, 119 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States, which equates to 130 billion meals and more than $408 billion in food thrown away each year. Shockingly, nearly 40% of all food in America is wasted, according to Feeding America.

“Before you go to the store, shop from your pantry, your fridge or freezer,” Vicari-Bentley advised. “What do you have that you need to use that you can use to make a meal.”

“You go to, and they have a great search-friendly recipe database,” she said. “You just type in the ingredients that you have and it’ll pop up meal and recipe ideas. I said ‘I have beef. I have onions. I have tomatoes. Give me a recipe’ and boom.”

Her search found this recipe first: Beef Pozole Soup.

Watch out for shrinkflation

Companies maintain their profit margins by keeping the same sticker price but reducing the size of the product. An example:

Charmin reduced its Mega roll from 264 to 242 sheets and cut the Super Mega roll from 396 sheets to 363. That’s 8.3 percent less product for the same price.

7 Products Hit Worst by Shrinkflation

Shops by units not packages

Vicari-Bentley recommends shopping by unit pricing.

“Most of us have a smartphone. . . Figure out the price per unit [to see] if it’s really a good deal.”

“Sometimes the toilet paper that’s on sale is actually more expensive if you count the number of sheets you get than the stuff that’s not on sale,” Debbie said.

Related: Annual inflation cooled off slightly in April


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play

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How to cut down on your costs at the grocery store