Inflation and Groceries. This is a something that I’ve been pondering deeply for the past two months, and I am diving into all the research today to explain why.
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.
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 2021?
Yes! That is a given. If you haven’t already noticed it, prices are increasing this year. Prices normally increase but based on the past 12 months, here are some of the average increases we are seeing on food products.
Based on commodity prices as of May 2021, we are currently seeing Year to Date increases as follows.
- Soybeans 16.63%
- Wheat 4.96%
- Cheese 10.51%
- Milk 19.94%
- Sugar 7.94%
- Coffee 17.15%
- Canola 40.19%
- Corn 35.64%
- Beef 8.32%
- Poultry 18.47%
Now, please note that 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.
That said, this chart shows the inflation rate consumers have already seen at the grocery store on various products over the past year. Inflation worth noting? As of May 2021, this is how much prices have already increased over the past 12 months.
- Seafood 18.7%
- Toilet Paper 15.6%
- Diapers 8.7%
- Fruit 7.5%
- Sugar 6.9%
- Vitamins 6.2%
- Yogurt 5.3%
- Fresh Meat 5.1%
- Bread 4.3%
- Vegetables 3.1%
- Baking Staples 2.5%
- Eggs 1.1%
What is the current inflation rate for food?
As of May 2021, average food inflation is at 2.6%.
As you see above, many food prices have already increased more than 2.6%, and the year is only half over.
This chart shows the Food Inflation prices in the United States from 1968 to 2021. It is broken down by year and month. This is the most revealing chart I have seen yet.
In February of 1974, food prices increased an average of 18.7! That makes the increases of January of 2021 at 3.8 percent seem mild.
That said, 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 2021?
According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Food Price Outlook, these are the predictions for the increases we will see over the course of 2021.
- Wholesale beef prices – Between 1.5 and 4.5 percent
- Wholesale pork prices – Between 4.5 and 7.5 percent
- Wholesale poultry prices – Between 5.0 and 8.0 percent
- Wholesale fats and oils – Between 13.0 and 16.0 percent
- Fresh fruit – Between 2.0 and 3.0 percent
These prices increases are all greater than the 2% inflation rate we keep hearing about. 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.
Say that toilet paper does go 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 happen? 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.
Here are 3 simple ways to prepare for inflation and rising food costs.
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 stockpiling some of the following items.
- 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.
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? 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.
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, if 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.
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.
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 comes to nothing, 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?