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As food prices spike, 6 ways to save on your groceries

BOSTON — Many shoppers are leaving the grocery store with a bad taste in their mouths. Prices are rising faster than they have in years. The last time food prices spiked like this was 13 years ago. The current jump is causing stress on family budgets.

“Oh, it’s more,” A shopper told Boston 25. “I try and budget for about $100 a week for groceries. That’s not buying as much as it used to.”

Eggs for breakfast will cost about 20% more than it did a year ago, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics. If you like coffee on the side, that’s up 10%.

“I love coffee, absolutely love it to death, and now it’s outrageous,” said one shopper as she left the market.

If beef is on the menu for dinner, you might choke on the price. It’s increased about 15% year to year. Groceries are taking a bigger bite out of paychecks.

Another shopper said, “It’s probably going up to maybe ½ of my income almost. It’s jumped pretty big.”

Of course, we all have to eat, but Andrea Woroch, a journalist and financial expert, says re-thinking assumptions about shopping might keep your receipt from making you sick.

“You need to shift the way you shop and consume food to save.”

Woroch says shoppers can save money by shopping online, even if there is a delivery fee.

“When you shop for groceries online, you can be specific about what you’re buying, and there aren’t those temptations that you might face when going into the store and grabbing those extra bags of chips because they look good,” Woroch said.

Another suggestion for controlling impulse shopping is to use a self-checkout.

“It allows you to reflect on what you put in your basket of shopping car, and you’re more likely to put food back that you don’t need,” Woroch said.

Woroch also says to shop with a basket or smaller carriage.

“The bigger the shopping cart, the more likely you are to put food and items that you don’t need in the cart. So use that handbasket to avoid those impulse purchases. Once you start adding items that you don’t need, you’ll realize it because it becomes heavier.”

A lot of the money we waste on food is because it goes bad, and we end up throwing it - and money - away. Woroch says buying frozen produce is one way to save without compromising on quality.

“Fresh produce loses nutrients the longer it sits out at the grocery store and in your refrigerator,” Woroch said. “On the flip side, frozen produce is flash-frozen at peak ripeness, so you’re getting more nutrients from it.”

Paying with the right credit card can also save money. Many now offer generous rewards when you buy groceries. If you pay your bill in full each month and use a card with no annual fee, Woroch says this is like getting free money.

“You just want to look to see which one offers the most, and if you’re not getting the maximum back on grocery purchases, look for a new credit card,” Woroch said.

Woroch told Boston 25 News people should use www.cardrates.com to get a quick comparison of the rewards various credit cards offer.

Finally, Woroch says that while she supports buying organic produce, it doesn’t make sense to buy all your fruits and vegetables this way. That’s because some fruits like bananas and avocados that are organic don’t necessarily provide any additional protection against pesticides. She suggests looking through this list by the Environmental Working Group on which organic items to buy.