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How to Navigate the Grocery Aisles This Holiday Season

Get Advice from Two Guest Expert Chefs

You’ve likely heard the stories about turkeys hitting record-high prices this year. From avian flu to higher feed costs due to drought, to a sharp increase in diesel fuel, it’s a perfect inflationary storm that’s impacting the traditional entrée many families prefer at their holiday table.1

But it’s not only the main dish that’s pinching wallets. A trip to the grocery store, especially for a holiday meal, is leading to receipt totals that are hard to stomach. We understand the impact groceries are having on your budget. That’s why we worked to get ahead of this topic this fall by hosting two chefs to provide their expertise on how to better navigate the store aisles and your own kitchen amid current economic challenges. Be sure to re-visit both our community workshop and our podcast referenced below to learn from our guest experts:

Podcast Episode

Chef Tanorria Askew of Tanorria’s Table

As featured in Episode 17 of Better Money with Elements Financial Podcast

Listen to the Better Money Podcast

Cost Cutting in the Kitchen webinar

Chef Erin Kem of Small Victories Hospitality

As featured in the Elements Community Workshop: "Cost-Cutting in the Kitchen"

Watch the Webinar on YouTube

At a quick glance, here’s a sampling of information we learned during the above programs.

What’s happening with prices at grocery stores and restaurants?

Of course, inflation and supply chain struggles are at play and impacting pricing. For instance, bird flu outbreaks are more common than we realize and have increased the price of poultry and eggs.

Dining is important to the economy and livelihood of our communities. Try saving at home and making the most of your grocery budget so you can still afford to go out on weekends or a couple of nights per week to support your local restauranteurs and staff.

What are some affordable meal prep and planning ideas?

  • Take a look at mail-order meals and weigh the costs and benefits including steady budgeting versus variable costs, lack of waste due to portioning, and big-time savings.
  • It’s essential to have staples on hand — rice, pasta, beans, canned tomatoes, flour, and others to combine with fresh produce, proteins, and dairy.
  • Shop from your own pantry and refrigerator — think like a chef, combine new things, and experiment. Think differently and creatively about leftovers!
  • Invest in basic kitchen equipment, not every gadget.

What are some tips for saving at the grocery store?

  • Shop the perimeters for the most natural and more affordable options.
  • Use coupon programs like the one at Meijer, for example.
  • Take advantage of fuel points like the program at Kroger, for example.
  • Think about your credit card rewards programs and how they can benefit you.
  • Consider wholesale versus retail with options such as Costco/Sam’s/BJ’s Warehouse. Think about what’s best to buy in bulk for your situation. Possible to save on gas there, as well!

1) SOURCE: Morris, Frank (2022, November 14). Why turkey prices are at record highs for this Thanksgiving Day [Radio Broadcast Transcript]. NPR

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