I received an email from a woman I thought might be worth sharing.  Here is her question and my response, in case you have similar concerns or issues. Inflation is a HUGE issue for many families and I hope I can shed some light on how you can keep inflation down, and still eat healthy & homemade meals (on a budget!). 

Question:
“I have been a long time follower of your blog. Which I love
and enjoy all the helpful information, recipes, and resources. I have never
paid for your service because I have been a coupon-er and used other online
services. With the raising prices of groceries and the restrictions placed
on my favorite coupons; I am finding more and more that I need a new system.
I was wondering about your thoughts on adjusting your price
matching “best prices” with the inflation. Specifically, I am finding
there are only a handful of okay sales each week in comparison to a
cart-ful each week, say two years ago. I’ve noticed on your blog that your
documented fantastic shopping trips are few and far between. I guess what I am
wondering is what is your take on price matching with increasing food prices?
Have you adjusted your dollar amounts to reflect a great deal given today’s
inflated prices? When you give out your deals to your subscribers are you
finding so few deals, it’s not even worth the trip?  I am feeling sad
every time I shop and walk away with out that feeling of savings like I use to.”
Answer:
 I agree with you!  The prices of yesterday are so
different than today.  I am sure we will never see a 25 lb. bag of flour
again for $1.99 (those were the good ol’ days!!).  However, I still feel
with price matching I haven’t felt the strain on my food budget like I should
be.  I am extra careful about only purchasing the great/red deals each
week and find I am stocking my freezer more full when certain items go on sale
(meat especially).  As I am stocking up when prices are at their lowest, I
notice I don’t feel the inflation quite so much because I have a year supply in
my storage that I can turn to as prices get higher.  I then stock up when
those items go on sale for great prices (sometimes less often, but it still
happens) and that seems to help keep prices low.
As far as my grocery bargain pictures, I should be better at
posting more of those.  To be honest I never know if people think those
posts are lame, or if I should do them.  I still shop every 2 weeks and my
piles are just as impressive as they always are..I just get lazy and don’t take
pictures 😉  Thanks for the reminder to keep up on that!
As far as keeping up with the inflation prices I just compare
the prices each week to Costco, Sams & Walmart (all of which have gone up quite a bit
the past couple of years).  I do have to adjust the red deals to these new
prices, but there seems to still be several great deals each week.  Some
week’s have more great deals than others, but over all, the lost-leader
prices from each store are still rock-bottom prices (which makes me happy each
week!) and worth shopping for.
One item to watch very closely is meat prices.  Meat
prices, especially red meat, are sky rocketing!! Gone are the days of most meat
prices at $2 or under per pound.  The ‘new’ low price for red meat is more
like $2.50-$3.00/lb.  This is a lot higher than a year ago.  So…when
meat goes on sale for great/red deals, stock your freezer with as much as you
can fit and afford.  This will help you not have to get in a pinch and buy
these items at full price, or a not-so-great sale later in the month.
As far as couponing, I find I can save more money on all of the
regular food items my family eats on a regular basis–without clipping coupons.  I am a strict
shopper and don’t buy very few (if any)  pre-packaged or processed foods/snacks and so
coupons have never worked for me.  I know you can get the occasional
coupon that works for items I use, but it is not worth my time or money to clip
and organize them.  For me, using Deals to Meals is easy and saves me
hundreds of dollars!  I only shop 2x’s a month, plan my meals using our
weekly meal plan (one week’s meal plan feeds my family for 2 weeks), and price
match at Walmart.  By using this method I am able to keep my family’s
budget to $500-$550 (plus or minus a few) a month, keep up my food storage, and
stock my freezer with lots of good stuff!  We have a family of 7 with BIG
eaters and appetites, so the fact I have not increased our food budget in 2 years, makes me feel I have inflation at bay.  Just remember…be a wise shopper, don’t impulse buy, go to the store with a plan & stock up so you have extras on hand. Doing all of these things will help keep your budget low and your wallet full!  Hope this helps 😉