How to Prepare for Inflation on Groceries in 2022
Inflation and Groceries. This is a something that I’ve been pondering deeply for the past months, and I am diving into all the research today to explain why. If you have too, and if you are wondering what to stock up on before inflation, keep reading!
I have long been a believer in the importance of having a stockpile. The recent shortages during the pandemic proved my point. And now, as I look ahead, I am more convinced than ever that everyone needs to be building a stockpile.
Whether you have had a stockpile in the past or have never thought about it before, I think now is the time when everyone really needs to consider it.
Think of a stockpile as a practical emergency fund to prepare your family for whatever may come.
If you have a loss of income for a time, or if prices suddenly increase due to inflation (or hyperinflation), having a stockpile will help you through.
Consider it being a good steward. As a one income family, I consider it my responsibility to care for my family by stretching our pennies. This is why the predictions of inflation have caused me to rethink a lot of things and work harder to prepare our home, family and yes, stockpile.
Please know that I am not sharing all of this to cause you panic. Rather, I am sharing this because I want you to be prepared too.
So, let’s dive into all this talk about inflation and how it is affecting our grocery budgets.
Note: I originally wrote this post in June 2021 but with all the prices increases we have seen since then, I have updated it several times. The most recent update was October 2022.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read more in my disclosure policy.
Is this really transitory inflation?
Transitory inflation is the idea that inflation is only temporary. You may have heard this phrase floating around a lot lately. If you haven’t heard it yet, listen for it. Many experts are saying that what we are experiencing right now is transitory inflation. Some experts are saying inflation will only last for a couple of months and then it will come right back down again. Really?
My sincere question, based on my own research and watching all this stimulus money being given away…is how can this most recent inflation be only temporary? I am not trying to get into politics here. I simply believe we are going to be seeing more price increases in the months and years to come.
Are food prices going up in 2023?
Yes! That is a given. We’ve noticed the effects on our budget, and the latest research confirms it. Average food at home inflation is currently at 13.0%! But let’s break it down a bit more.
Based on commodity prices as of October 2022, we are currently seeing Year over Year increases as follows. (Year over Year means increases over the past 12 months from this same point in time.)
- Wheat 23.35%
- Cheese 22.38%
- Milk 21.91%
- Butter 55.43%
- Potatoes 38.16%
- Corn 34.85%
- Coffee 1.29%
- Beef 2.08%
- Eggs 261.86%
Now, commodity prices are based on actual products used to make the goods we purchase. Just because commodity prices are increasing does not guarantee an increase in the prices we pay but there is a correlation and a very good chance those increases will trickle down to the grocery store.
According to the Consumer Price Index of October 2022, food prices have already increased an average of 13% over the past 12 months.
What is the current inflation rate for food?
As of October 2022, average food inflation is at 13.0%.
We’ve all seen the prices jumping up here and there, but it is even more startling to see the proof in print. Even more (sadly) amazing?
This is the largest 12 month increase in 4 decades. Yes, this is the largest average increase since the period ending May 1979.
This chart shows the Food Inflation prices in the United States from 1968 to 2022. It is broken down by year and month. This is the most revealing chart I have seen yet.
Taking all this into account, I believe it is wise to prepare your family and your budget for more price increases to come.
How much are food prices expected to increase in 2022 and 2023?
According to Research firm IRI, food prices are expected to continue rising 5 to 8% in 2022. We have already seen an increase above that predication and the year isn’t over yet!
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Food Price Outlook says we should return to historical averages of inflation between 2 and 3 percent in 2023. I have to say that I am skeptical of this low a number, given where we are now.
These are the predictions from the USDA for the increases we will see over the course of 2022.
- Beef – Between 5.5 and 6.5 percent
- Fish – Between 9.0 and 10.0 percent
- Eggs – Between 26.0 and 27.0 percent
- Fresh Fruit – Between 8.0 and 9.0 percent
- Fresh Vegetables – Between 4.5 and 5.5 percent
- Canned Fruits and Vegetables – Between 10.0 and 11.0 percent
- Fats and Oils – Between 18.0 and 19.0 percent
- Cereals – Between 13 and 14 percent
We won’t know much prices really will increase until it happens, but I think it is safe to say that prices are going to increase more than we would like.
How can I prepare for inflation with food prices?
There are a couple simple ways to prepare for inflation with food prices. I think it is wise to prepare now and start buying things before you need them. This is what I have been focused on lately. In simplest terms, that is what a stockpile is.
Say that toilet paper goes up by 15% this year. That means that package of toilet paper you pay $10 for every month will soon cost $11.50. That works out to an extra $18 a year, just to buy the same toilet paper you were already buying. Multiple that scenario by multiple items increasing in price and you will quickly feel the impact on your budget.
If inflation doesn’t increase as much as you thought it could? Then, you will still be prepared and won’t have to buy some of these items for some time. You won’t be out anything because costs aren’t going to go down. They just not might increase at the higher rates some are predicting. If the hyperinflation predictions are true, then you will have saved your family money by buying things ahead of time, as we wait for the inflation to settle into more typical levels.
Follow the simple advice of “Buy 1 for now, and 2 for later.” Don’t ever let yourself get down to the last item in your pantry.
Always be looking and shopping ahead. When you see a good sale, stock up as much as you are able – especially on non-perishables.
Personally, we are moving some money around from other areas of our budget to focus on buying some extra things right now. You might consider doing the same.
Wondering what to stock up on before inflation? Here are some important items to stock up on before inflation.
Build a stockpile of non-perishable goods.
This is one of the best ways to prepare for inflation. Stock up now on things that you know won’t expire or go bad. Normally, I focus on building a stockpile of food when I find good deals. Right now, I am focusing on building a stockpile of non-perishables.
Here are some ideas of non-perishables to stockpile.
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Laundry detergent
- Dish soap
- Clorox wipes
- Baby wipes
Build a stockpile of things you use regularly.
Similar to the above, expand your stockpile to focus on the things your family uses regularly. Again, don’t think of food just yet. Focus on toiletries and other things you use. Don’t buy things you don’t use, because that is simply money wasted. Think about stocking up on these things before inflation hits.
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hand soap
- Bar soap
- Over the counter medicine
Build a stockpile of foods your family eats.
The last area of your stockpile that you want to focus on is the perishable items your family regularly eats.
Whenever you see a good sale, purchase extra of the food items you use. If you have space in an extra freezer, focus particularly on buying meat when you can get a good price.
As for canned goods and other packaged items, buy what you can use before it expires.
If you are wondering what food to buy before inflation hits more, some of the best food items to stockpile include:
- Peanut butter
- Canned tomatoes
- Baking goods – flour, sugar, yeast, etc.
- Cooking oils
- Canned vegetables and fruits
As with all of these things, focus on doing what you can with what you have.
Can you spend a little less this week to buy an extra pack of toilet paper? Or can you find some extra money to buy a couple extra packages of diapers? Can you buy 4 containers of the dish soap that is on sale instead of just 1? Remember that everything you buy now will help you prepare for the future.
If you want to learn more about stockpiling, I just released a printable ebook called “The Quick Start Guide to Building a Stockpile on a Budget.” It is full of helpful tips, handy checklists and more to help you build a stockpile – even with inflation increasing! More information here.
What else can I do to get ready for inflation?
There are some simple things everyone can do, regardless of their family size or income level.
Pay off all your debt.
Paying off debt is always a smart move. I know someone would say that if hyperinflation hits, debt won’t really matter. I still believe it is important to pay off your debt.
Have money in savings.
Yes, when inflation hits, your money won’t go as far as it used to. That means things like home repairs – or a new vehicle – will cost more. You need to save now for these expenses. We have over 20 savings accounts for this very reason.
Buy what you can now.
If you can free up some money in your budget (even a couple hundred dollars), buy those purchases now! This is true for a stockpile, as well as bigger purchases. For example, we are moving kids bedrooms around this summer, but I went ahead and bought their new mattresses earlier this month. For majority of things, we are not going to see prices this low again.
Plan for the future.
We should always be doing this, but I know there are many who live from paycheck to paycheck. Work hard. Build a stockpile. Save money. Be prepared for what may come – and if inflation returns to normal levels, you will still be prepared for the future. You won’t have lost any money but saved yourself worry from the possibility.
Some people might say I’m taking things too seriously and others might say I’m not taking it seriously enough. Whatever side you fall on, I hope you will consider how you can best care and provide for your family. And if these tips help you to build a stockpile that will save your family money, then I have done what I hoped to do.
What are your thoughts on food prices and inflation? Have you started doing anything differently lately as a response or preparation?
Going to try and keep this short (shorter than I would usually write) as I am now 68 and have been practicing frugal living habits for my whole life. We have not had to deprive ourselves of anything we want/need, raising three children and ongoing “adoption” and support of rescue dogs. Through frugality, we also own 2 houses (“rent” one to our youngest son and his family at 70% below market values), own our vehicles, bills all paid and overfilled larder (I like those words :overfilled and larder!). We have even taken multiple worldwide and Caribbean vacations. It does, though, take a concerted effort to do this and keep your minds on track. I am disabled, now, and in a wheelchair full time so I’ve had to slow down some. Used to be the queen of coupons/sales, grew all our own produce, canned everything and stockpiled other items. Husband and I have been together for over 40 years and frugality has been my mantra…but not that of my husband (!), but he tolerates it. Due to increasing inflation and now being on a fixed income, due to retirement, he does not complain as much! Our children, who have obviously not practiced or used these principles, are often broke and can only commit to necessities and when they visit, they all laugh at me and make jokes, which are a little hurtful, at times! Our oldest DIL had asked me to “teach” her how to use coupons and sales combined. They now use less meat per meal and buy it from a local wholesaler. She also raises poultry, for the eggs. She is now on my A-ok list! Since I have a very, very healthy overstocked pile, I follow 2 basic principles: 1- rotate, rotate all your stock to use oldest first and 2- replace what you use (when sales/funds allow), to prevent zero back up food items for emergencies.
Stockpiles are needed and can be completed through careful planning and resource utilization. I have been using and enjoying, money saving tips for almost everything I do and often when I read one online, I think “oh, I have been doing that for years, it’s nothing new!” I enjoy challenges and some tips I’ve developed myself. Your article gives everyone a rationale and planned start! Loved it! No reason not to start!
You sounds like a brilliant woman! I will definitely take your wisdom and add to my collection of frugal living tips. Thank you for sharing your insight!
I am being more careful about checking sales ads of the different grocery stores in my area and compare their prices so I get what I need at the lowest prices.
I’ve also learned that there are many things in my yard that I can use to supplement my budget. We are now using the leaves of my green pepper plants in salads and casseroles, as well as the leaves of our zucchini plants. A Google search will turn up a dozen or more easy ways to supplement what’s on your table, while working that stockpiling budget. God has been astonishing me with His faithfulness!
Surprised no one has brought up water bath and pressure canning. I find meat deals, bring them home and can them. Shelf stable and convenient. Got attachment to our kitchen aid mixer, stainless steel meat grinder and grind our hamburger…. Put in 2 lb food saver bags to extend the life in the freezer. Just about any kind of meat can be pressure canned. 75 minutes for pint jars and 90 minutes for quart jars. Frozen veggies can be pressure caned to free up space in the freezer.
I started to feel so anxious on all of this tonight… was already. Have been preparing for this for some months but am realizing there is SO much more to prepare for and the need to take care of it all is NOW! Thank you so much for sharing this page, it was helpful to hear from someone else who wants to be wise and plan ahead but whom also trusts in her God.
We will surely all need Him in this season and in what lies ahead!
Oh, Pam! Yes, indeed! There is always more we can do, so I continue to balance our budget with the urgency of stockpiling for my family as well as leaning on my faith, and trusting that God provides. It is wonderful to hear from other Christian women who are doing the same – especially in the weeks and months ahead!
Bless You! I’m truly grateful that you chose to share your knowledge with those of us who feel a little less prepared. I prayed before starting a list of things that I should be buying now and I asked God to help me to know how to go about this wisely. I then proceeded to search Google and your article was front and center and I want to thank you for listening to the whisperings of the Spirit that told you to share this information. This was written before the war in Ukraine and I feel so grateful as this information is all the more important now!
Thanks for being an answer to my prayer this day!
Oh, Shannon! Your comment truly warmed my heart. I love seeing how God works, and I am so thankful that I could be your answer to your prayer! I know how overwhelming this all can be, especially as we watch events unfold in Ukraine. But God has given us the gift of discernment, and I truly believe that preparing by buying some things now will help anyone – regardless of what happens with the future. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future! I am praying for you as you begin preparing for your family! Oh, and if you are looking for more stockpiling help, I did just finish a 30 page ebook called The Quick Start Guide to Building a Stockpile that might be helpful to you as you make your lists. Many blessings!
Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I’m new to stockpiling at all and am thinking that it’s better to get ahead of what seems to be coming. It doesn’t hurt to be as prepared as possible!
That is exactly my thought as well, Clarissa! It never hurts to do what we can to be prepared – especially when it comes to things we will definitely use – like food!
I have decided that I am serving too much meat So I can get by with less if I make more casseroles with more vegetables. I also do not make many desserts. Fresh fruit is usually our dessert of choice.
That is a great point, Carol! I’m working on expanding my casserole selection too!
Dollar General has smaller sizes on certain items to keep the product at a certain price point. I don’t mind because I’m aware and watch for it. Similar to decreasing sizes instead of raising prices. I like the smaller sizes of snack foods like chips so I don’t eat too many!
I also love to shop DG on Saturdays when you can save 20% off a $25 purchase. For staples and canned goods, this is a rare discount. You can get the discount onntheir website and in their app. I rarely buy more than about $25 to maximize my % savings. I’ll just go back next week. Over the course of a month I have $100 of food for $80. I still shop their sale prices and use coupons to max it out too.
I appreciate your balanced advice. Normally, I’m one of those who lets things run out before purchasing more. However with the way things are I’ve been getting an extra bottle of detergent or package of toilet paper. It makes me feel better knowing that we won’t run out too fast. Thank you for sharing specific things to stock up on!
Great info! Thank you!
I try very hard to keep a well stocked pantry for times when money is tighter than normal. We eat a lot of weird combo’s sometimes to use up food. This month we are doing bare minimum shopping to use up some of the things we have had for a while. So it means weird combos to eat. When shopping I look for the discounted items that we will eat and try to plan meals using them. Right now it is frustrating to grocery shop because so many things are in smaller sizes for larger prices. Or the store has bare shelves. Meaning you have to go to more stores to find the things you need. It is hard with diet restriction for myself (heart failure = no sodium) and hubby (diabetes). Fresh produce is ridiculously priced. Things that are in season are sky high. We planted our own tomatoes and strawberries and blueberries this year. Hope to expand that next year. Inflation irritates me in general. Once the price goes up (for whatever cockamamie reason they use to raise it) it NEVER returns to a normal price. Think about the price of milk…$3-4 a gallon. Chicken prices right now are stupidly high. It is hard to reign in the grocery budget when the food prices sky rocket!!
You are very wise, Rebecca, to plan ahead. And weird combos are okay – when you have food on your shelves! One of my projects this week is to reorganize our pantry so I’m using things too. And yes, I have those same frustrations! The shrinking sizes is especially obvious right now! It is definitely a challenge, but good for you in planting a garden and making plans to expand it. My kids and I would absolutely LOVE to have blueberries, but our soil just doesn’t seem to work for them. But yes, the rising prices don’t seem to come back down…so we have to plan and continually adjust and be smart shoppers.
We actually planted our blueberries and tomatoes in horse troughs (strawberries are just in large flower pots on the front porch) and purchased some dirt from a soil company to make sure that we had nutrient rich soil to grow the berries and tomatoes in. I am not looking to have any blueberries for quite a while but I have an abundance of tomatoes and strawberries coming in right now!
The dish soap I used to buy recently changed from 25oz to 19oz for the same price. Same happened with the BBQ sauce is in a much smaller bottle for same price. Canned mushrooms pieces and stems used to be about 59cents were 89cents today. I have started adding to my stockpile what we use and also have coupons for or on sale now, even if not out of it yet. So today paper towels and the body wash the boys like was added to the cart. In addition to inflation, it is weird what there is a low supply of sometimes when I shop. So I’m trying hard to not get down to just one of anything-sometimes it has taken several weeks to find pepperoni etc.
Yes! The smaller sizes are happening more and more regularly, with big jumps happening on the things that aren’t changing sizes. I think you are wise, Rachel, to add to your stockpile when you can. Oh, and yes! I’ve noticed the same with random shortages and low supplies. I’ve started filling in some of my gaps on Amazon, and have been pleasantly surprised at the deals I have found – especially on toilet paper and wipes. Watching the deals is a great way to save our families money!