MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A West Virginia University (WVU) expert shared some tips on how to deal with high inflation and its affect on the prices for groceries and other goods.

“Many of the tried-and-true cost savings methods still work. Start by assessing how much you are spending now and on what. This will help you to make important choices between your wants and needs. You’ll want to take a good, honest look at what you are spending when and where,” said Lauren Weatherford, a WVU Extension family and community development agent.

According to Weatherford, keeping your receipts is a good place to start saving. “Most of us spend more than we think we do. When you start to see where you are spending, which items, and for how much, you may find you can make a few changes quickly. Then really think about your wants and needs,” she said. 

Another thing you can do is to plan your meals when making your grocery list. It’s healthier and can save you money by stopping you from eating out.

Any savvy saver can tell you that checking ongoing or upcoming sales is a great way to save. “Start checking your weekly sales,” Weatherford said. “Many stores rotate the same items on sale every few weeks or in time for certain holidays. If you can, start to track how often something like eggs or butter go on sale, then you can anticipate when to buy them at lower prices. Many stores offer additional digital savings. Check the app before you go to the store. Sign up for coupons or discounts can add up. Look for traditional coupons in the paper, mail and at the checkout register”  

Impulse buying is another thing to watch out for when you are out shopping. “Skip the aisles that have items you don’t need. Avoid items at the end of the aisle. These items are designed to stimulate impulse buying and the prices are not always cheaper,” said Weatherford.

She also suggests avoiding convenience foods as they may actually cost more than the sum of their parts. “These can cost more for less food. Use your calculator and compare pricing. It may be less costly to buy a box of pasta and a can of pasta sauce than individually packaged microwaveable packets,” she said. 

Finally, it is usually a good idea to opt for store brands over name brands. They typically are the same but can cost substantially less.