How to Save Money During Inflation: 4 Essential Tips

As a former grocery store owner I want to share some tricks on how to save money during inflation. Prices are rising and continuing to go up everywhere with no end in sight. We have to figure out some strategies for how to shop smart and make our money stretch so we can avoid these crazy prices.

1. Behind the scenes

When we owned a grocery store, recycling plants were backed up and suppliers couldn’t get jars and bottles. Some of our cheapest items jumped in price. When we asked the supplier why this was happening, he explained that it wasn’t the product that went up in price, it was the cost of the can.

Sometimes people think stores are price gauging and keeping things in the back room. They think store owners are waiting for supplies to get short so they can raise the prices when they put them out.

I can assure you based on our experience as shop owners, this is not the case. We did everything we could to keep products on the shelves. Store owners know, if shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for in your store, they’ll just go to another store. No store owner wants to lose customers.

Overpriced shops

2. Avoid overpriced shops

One way I am saving money is by avoiding shopping at Walmart. Walmart has set prices. They say that they have set low prices, but they aren’t that low and they don’t have sales.

Their clearance racks are stocked with discontinued items still being sold at their original prices. They put clearance stickers on there to make you think that they lowered the price but it’s the same price it was beforehand.

So many people think Walmart is the cheapest. They just throw things in their carts assuming that they’re getting the lowest price, but they aren’t. That’s why I refuse to shop there now.

3. Dollar General

One thing I have been doing differently lately is I’ve started going back into Dollar General. I had stopped going there for a long time because I was going to Dollar Tree instead. Then Dollar Tree jumped to $1.25 an item, and so many of those items are simply not worth $1.25. They also started stocking items that are more expensive.

You have to be careful because not everything there is $1 or even $1.25. I was in there recently and I saw something in the food section and picked it up thinking it was a good deal. Then I realized it wasn’t $1, it was $6, and it was a terrible deal.

One dollar bill

Dollar General still has a dollar section where things are just $1. They still have dish soap, scrub brushes, and sponges. They have so many great products in that dollar section.

I had been paying $1 a pound for cat food at Sam’s Club. I was buying the name-brand food and thinking that’s what my cats liked best. Then I realized that they don’t even like it. They eat it because they have nothing else but it lays there all day until they’re hungry enough to eat it.

Then I decided to try the off-brand cat food from Dollar General. It was $18 for 25 pounds. My cats went after it like they hadn’t been fed in ages. I noticed that it smelled like cat food also, while the name-brand food had no odor.

Odorous food is much more appealing to them. Dollar General also gives you $5 off the next $25 you spend so you can save more on every purchase.

Buying in bulk

4. Buy in bulk

Prepackaged items are always more expensive. Whether you’re looking at soda, applesauce, fruit, or anything else that comes in little packages, you are paying for those packages. It’s best to buy things in bulk and portion them out yourself.

It just takes a bit of thinking ahead. You can save small containers and use them when portioning things out. I even did this successfully with soda. I started buying the 2-liter bottles and portioning them out to some smaller 6-pack bottles I had saved and they keep great. I just leave the bottles closed and they keep their fizz and save me money.

We have to start moving away from the mindset that we have to keep doing things the way we’ve always done them. We have to change with the times. We might have to deal with some very minor inconveniences but ultimately this is the way to save money.

How to save money during inflation

There are still good deals out there. You just have to be careful not to fall for things that seem like deals because of clever marketing.

Do some price comparing, try different brands, and stop getting those single-serving packaged items. Shopping smart will save you money and enable you to live comfortably without having to sacrifice too much.

Join the conversation
  • Mary.jean.cunningham Mary.jean.cunningham on Jul 17, 2023

    It is easy to assume because prices are low at a store when you start shopping there that they stay low, but as you point out, a comparison every now and then can be an eye-opener! I have never found Walmart's grocery section to be a very good value compared to my local supermarket chain or Aldi, but the fabric bundles at Walmart are a good deal - you just have to know your prices for things you buy most frequently and decide where it makes sense for you to go given your time and energy.