Affording groceries during times of rapid price increases


During the past two years alone, the price of some household staples such as bread, milk, and eggs have increased in price by as much as 69%*, while the median household income has only increased 1%*. In this video, I discuss these increases and offer tips to help your family cope with the rapidly increasing cost of groceries.

As I’ve found myself watching Youtube far more than I do television, I am going to start expanding my youtube channel, so please be sure and visit me on youtube by clicking here and be sure and click the red “subscribe” button!

References for this video:


“American families have always shown remarkable resiliency, or flexible adjustment to natural, economic, and social challenges. Their strengths resemble the elasticity of a spider web, a gull’s skillful flow with the wind, the regenerating power of perennial grasses, the cooperation of an ant colony, and the persistence of a stream carving canyon rocks. These are not the strengths of fixed monuments but living organisms. This resilience is not measured by wealth, muscle or efficiency but by creativity, unity, and hope. Cultivating these family strengths is critical to a thriving human community.”
~Ben Silliman

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  1. Kristie Burbank says

    I lost my job last March and have been unable to find one. After a year of looking I still can’t believe how hard it is out there. We are a family of 4 and struggling to keep our heads above water. I’m still trying to figure out ways to cut costs. We used to get take out a lot but have almost completely cut eating out. My husband is taking his lunch where he was buying lunch every day. That has been a huge cut! Also, our local Dollar Tree stores get bread that has almost reached its sell buy date and I can get bread that costs over $3 in Walmart or grocery stores for only $1. We also buy our ground beef at a local meat market. They have better prices on some of their meat than the grocery stores. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I have both of your cookbook and use them regularly!

    • Germaine says

      I do hop you find a job soon. I know too well about this. I am so glad I have a good one. Just a thought. Invest in a bread maker, they are great, I’ve learned how to save thereby making my own breads. You can make almost any type of dough in the machine and bake it off in your oven. Pizza is a huge thing to have in our home, and by making it from scratch is a great thing. I have a super recipe for the dough. ( if you want it. Hope this is Ok Christy, to leave my email for a recipe.)

  2. Donna says

    I buy meat that is reduced or quick sale, there is nothing wrong with it, just past expiration date for sale, look at Aldi, Sam’s club, local grocery store. The best day to go for quick sale is Momday, because everyone has picked over what they wanted.

  3. Linda says

    I check the major grocery stores in my immediate area BEFORE I go to the store. Most of them have a grocery lists available so once I’ve marked everything I want to buy, I print these out and take them to Wal-Mart who will match the prices item for item. This saves me gas from going to four or more grocery stores and usually the prices on the item is cheaper there but they also match “buy one and get one free”. So to me it is a WIN-WIN situation.

  4. ThriftyKat says

    I found your video because I too prefer YouTube over TV :). I am 44 and started using coupons when I was 17 – so not cool! (My mother paid me the value of any coupons she used.)

    I was an extreme couponer when it was nerdy instead of trendy. It can be very helpful, especially in creating a stockpile buffer, but I encourage people to keep pushing to learn how to NOT need coupons rather than becoming dependent on them. I rarely use coupons anymore and spend $90 (family of 4) a month on groceries. Mind you, it took 20 years to get to this point and I realize I have some opportunities not available to everyone, but the earlier people start the better off they’ll be. Today there is the benefit of the Internet for how-to tips and videos, so information is much more accessible.

    All of your tips where right on target. Here are a few things that I would recommend:

    Eat leftovers and avoid throwing food in the garbage. When you eat what’s already on hand you save on food AND energy costs. This includes when you DO eat out. Two examples: (1) if free refills are available, why buy large size drinks instead of small? (2) if your children only eat half a hamburger, buy one burger and cut it in half instead of buying each of them their own burger. Yes, they MAY fuss, but they’ll also learn.

    Plan extended family or friend meals to decrease the costs of food and preparation costs. This is an advantage for me because my parents and one brother live close enough that we eat together 6 nights a week. It is great for our family! (Do plan a setup that distributes the cost fairly and cleanup is a must – including any toys the kids get out,)

    Similar to the previous idea – network with friends and family to pick up grocery items for each other – especially sale items. Be prompt with payback and don’t assume when purchasing. This can also cut down on shopping time and stops.

    There are lots of items that can be frozen – milk, cheese, butter, just about any dry good, chips, etc. If you aren’t sure – Google it. So, if you find milk on discount, freeze it in the jug or split it into smaller containers (I use washed mayonnaise jars) and freeze them until needed. If freezing in the jug, pour some off the top first – into a jar or cup – not down the drain! Thaw completely before using. (One note on this. I have frozen milk for years. During the past year I have picked up a brand that didn’t reconstitute when thawed. So, you mind want to test your particular milk brand before trying in bulk.).

    I could go on and on, but really all this can be found by searching sites like yours for more tips. Just like extreme couponing can become a hobby, so can the search for saving tips! Both “hobbies” can be enjoyable while still benefitting you financially!


  5. says

    Love the video Christy. It’s crazy how groceries have gone up and sizes have gone down. Here are some of our food money-saving tips

    Buying bulk at Costco & Sam’s Club (can also make 3 meals out of their $4.99 roasted chicken).

    Taking advantage of buy one get one specials AND using a coupon too.

    My grocery store accepts $5.00 off coupons from competitor grocery stores when you spend a certain amount (no problem there)…free money!

    We’re conservative and selective when eating out – no fancy pants place for us.

    Cook a few chicken breast fillets in a small crock pot gives us enough for another night, which we sometimes cut up and combine with beans and rice.

    Have breakfast for supper.

    Use coupons at restaurants – if you don’t have a hard copy, check online.

    Buy seasonal candy the day after the holiday when it’s half price (good thing when you have a chocoholic in the house and I use it in baking).

    Non-grocery cost savings for us: driving the same car for at least 10 years, hubby does oil changes and home repairs (he’s like MacGyver), finding bargains at thrift stores and yard sales (once got a 4 drawer metal filing cabinet for $5.00), always on the lookout for sales (I actually need a new purse and have a 20% off coupon and will make sure it’s also 40-50% off!). Oh, here’s another tip…you can use expired Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons in their store.

  6. Michelle says

    For those that wish to consider growing your own food but don’t have a green thumb, space, or you want ‘instant gratification’ consider what a neighbor of mine is doing: hydroponics gardening. It is such a simple system. Here is the website:

    Here is the Youtube video:

    On a more smaller, personal scale:

    We started this ourselves last year. And one of the biggest things we noticed was how fast and large tomatoes and lettuce grew. I would say the growth rate was about 25% faster than normal gardening and again HUGE specimens that were delicious. We also did not have to contend with the very bitter cold climate this past winter here in Wisconsin as we did not lose our crops. We will continue to expand on this but slowly. Much love to Christy and all the Southern Plate family.

  7. Phyllis says

    One thing I’ve started doing is buying dry beans in bulk and canning them. I don’t usually plan far enough ehead for the soak and cook. My favorite way now is a no soak method. 1/4 cup dry beans in a pint jar (season if desired) fill with hot water and pressure can. They’re awesome! If I find chicken breasts on sale I’ve pressure canned them also.
    Canning jars can be expensive at the initial investment but are reusable. I’m also always on the look out at garage sales for jars.
    I’ll be trying the dehydrated beef this weekend! Thanks!

  8. Germaine says

    Thanks for all the great tips.. I have one too, finding that the price of bread has gone up over the past year. I sometimes go to our Breadbasket, a local discount chain that sells near expired bread at good prices and a local store club also sells near expired bread too. But one thing I do is make by own bread, found a bread maker at a second hand store after the one I had for years broke. I find it a great treasure. We even stopped ordering in pizza the price was too much, I got a great recipe for pizza dough and the family says its better than any pizza they’ve had. I make buns, subs and loaves. Only time I buy bread if its on sale at a great price and that includes frozen pizza which I never pay full price at all.

  9. Norma says

    I’ve always considered myself to be thrifty and frugal, as that is how I was raised; however, once the prices started sky-rocketing as they have, I soon realized my efforts were sorely lacking and now I look for all suggestions on how to be a better saver. I’m interested in learning how those who are retired and on a fixed income are dealing with this issue too. With zero chances of counting on “pay raises” or any form of “cost of living” increases with any positive fluctuation of income, this has become very disconcerting in trying to shop and make it cost effective! I also still struggle with “cooking for one”!! But, I do not waste food and have no problem eating leftovers. I don’t enjoy cooking just for myself, therefore, I find myself fixing soups, “one-dish” meals, and even casseroles that can then be divided up and frozen, so having the leftovers is advantageous for me! Thanks Christy for this topic and for your suggestions as well as for the comments from others. I love learning from others’ experiences. I’m interested in learning more about dehydrating, suggestions on the type dehydrator to invest in, and in how to make the “shelf stable” (I believe that’s the term you used) foods!! My experience in trying to keep a good stock in a panty has resulted in expired canned goods or non-refrigerated items and ended up having to throw them away. That defeats the whole purpose! I’d like to learn how these companies now hawking the “emergency” foods that “last for 25 years” are creating such products!

    • says

      The main thing the companies do is use shelf stable ingredients completely void of moisture. Then, they package them in an oxygen deficient environment and in dark cans so not only does air not permeate, but light as well. They basically get rid of all of the elements that cause food spoilage (light, air, and moisture are generally what cause food to spoil). A lot of the ingredients are freeze dried or dehydrated, which is why a can of green beans on the shelf at the grocery store may be dated to last two years but a #10 can of freeze dried green beans can easily last over 25.
      An important thing to note is that the FDA mandates that food companies put dates on their cans and those are not really an accurate picture of how long the food is good for. Scientists have tested canned goods over 100 years old and found them to still be safe to eat. What I do, and this is a judgment call on your part of course, is immediately double in my mind the shelf life of anything with a date. What I’m saying is that I use that date as a guideline and then double it. Even after that, I would open it and test for quality before tossing it out. I also buy only shelf stable milk most of the time now, and it is good for 2 years (at least). I get mine at the Dollar Tree and it’s delicious, Gosner’s Dairy.
      It is hard to cook for just one. I believe if it were just me, I’d cook for two and freeze half of the meal for later so you could still have variety (and nights off from cooking!) but I’m sure you’re already doing this. With inflation like it is, it’s really like your income had actually decreased rather than remained the same, so I know what a struggle it is. I appreciate you being here and your wonderful input!

    • Mimi says

      Like you, I live alone on a fixed income. I no longer cook meat and 2 or 3 veggies. I cook a lot of soups and stews as well as casseroles. If possible, I halve recipe ingredients. I never pay full price for meat. When I go to the market, I only buy what is on sale. I can do without something until it comes on sale. Sometimes I have to do without butter or mayonnaise for a while but I will not pay full price. I am not brand picky so that helps when buying. I go to a local bread store for bread, rolls and buns for a fraction of market prices. I do not coupon because I have found that most coupons are for high end brands that I do not buy. The alternative products are usually cheaper than coupon prices of name brands. I keep a running grocery list on my laptop and print it out when I make my weekly run for sale items. I stay with my list and I refuse to be sabotaged by impulse buying. It gets to be a fun game to outwit today’s soaring prices!

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