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How Seniors Can Manage Rising Food Costs on a Fixed Income

As food prices continue to rise, older adults on fixed incomes may find it challenging to maintain a healthy diet while staying within their budget. However, with a few tips and strategies, you can stretch your dollars and still enjoy nutritious meals.

Here are some ways to manage rising food costs:

1. Plan Your Meals

Create a weekly meal plan: Create a plan in advance of what you will eat each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as any snacks you may want to have on hand. This can help you avoid impulse purchases and ensure you buy only what you need.
Check your pantry: Before shopping at the store, shop your own pantry! Take a look at what you already have to avoid buying duplicates of things you may already have. You may also find inspiration or ideas of things you can pair together.

2. Shop Smart

Buy in bulk: Purchase non-perishable items in bulk, such as soups, canned fish, or pasta noodles, when they’re on sale to save money in the long run. And if you have a freezer with space, you can even buy items on sale that can be frozen and later thawed and used.
Use coupons and discounts: Look for coupons and discounts in newspapers, online, and on store apps to save on groceries. There are some grocery stores that hang their coupons in or around the sections where the items are displayed. You can also look into credit cards or rewards programs that give you cash back towards future purchases.

3. Choose Affordable Foods

Opt for generic brands: There are oftentimes similar or identical products next to each other in the grocery store, and you may find yourself always reaching for the name brand. But usually, the generic or less known brands are cheaper than the name brands but offer similar quality.
Buy in-season produce: Seasonal fruits and vegetables tend to be less expensive and fresher. You can also try buying frozen fruit and vegetables, which can last longer (great for someone who lives alone).
Consider plant-based proteins: Meat and fish are typically the most expensive items on a grocery bill. You can supplement or replace these with beans, lentils, and tofu, which are cost-effective protein alternatives.

4. Minimize Food Waste

Properly store your food: Store perishables correctly to prolong their shelf life. Try not to store food in cabinets next to the oven, as it could make the food spoil faster due to moisture and heat.
Use leftovers: Re-use your leftovers into new meals to avoid throwing them away. You can be creative, and make soups, stir-frys or casseroles out of leftover food.

5. Cook at Home

Limit eating out: Cooking meals at home is generally more cost-effective than dining out.
Prepare meals in batches: Cooking in batches and freezing portions can save time and money. By freezing portions, you can ensure that you only need to take out what you will eat, reducing any spoiling. You can also rotate various meals so you’re not stuck eating the same thing for multiple days in a row.

Managing rising food costs on a fixed income requires careful planning and budgeting. By following these tips and being mindful of your spending, you can eat well without breaking the bank.