Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Increases in the price you pay for food at the supermarket are expected to keep coming, but I’ve got some strategies to help you stretch your grocery dollar.
Many of you probably know that corn is the epicenter of so much to do with the food that winds up in supermarket aisles. Unfortunately, the corn harvest has been smaller than expected and wholesale prices are up by nearly 70 percent over the past year.
That means continued higher prices into next year for many things you buy. So it’s more important than ever for you to be smarter when you’re shopping for food. Here are a few suggestions:
● Use non-traditional channels like warehouse clubs for buying food. Just know that sometimes a deal is not a deal if the package you’re buying is too big for you or your family and it goes stale or spoils before its time.
● Become more adept at using coupons by checking CouponMom.com and similar sites that offer coupon strategies, weekly lists of sales by store and more.
● Shop the hard discounters like Aldi and Save-A-Lot. These grocery chains can reduce your food costs by 40 percent over traditional supermarket prices without you having to do any couponing. Just buy their store brands.
A lot of people ask me about extreme couponing. When there’s a TV show on TLC about this topic, you know that’s a sign of the times. I think extreme couponing is neat, but a lot of major grocery store chains don’t. They see it as a market disruptor and are tightening their coupon redemption policies as a result.
That’s why sometimes where you shop is the most important factor in your control. I want you to pack a punch in your wallet by really stretching that dollar.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions, plus Clark’s new book “Living Large in Lean Times,” at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.