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FOX 5 I-Team

How to Budget with Rising Grocery Prices

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

Food prices started to climb in February and they are continuing to squeeze wallets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the type of increase we haven't seen since 2011.

Personally, I keep a really tight food budget, but in the last food weeks, I have not been able to stay on budget and there's a good chance you haven't either. So here's the dilemma: How do you cover food costs when incomes are stagnant? Well, you find ways to change the menu.

First, this is why it's happening. Drought and animal viruses have made an impact on meat prices like ground beef and bacon which also impacts eggs and milk. Even coffee and juice prices are up.

So maybe it's time to let sales dictate what's for dinner.

Take a look at the sales circulars you get at the door, combine them with coupons. Only get fruits and veggies that are in season. See a sale? Well, get a lot and fill the freezer.

Here's another idea: If you are used to using a pound of, say, ground beef for your spaghetti sauce, cut back a touch. There's a good chance no one at the table will notice.

If you like to buy organic food, there are ways to cut back there, too. Go to your local farmer's market. They are everywhere in the summer. Store brands now carry organic items. Often they are cheaper than a non-organic name brand. And lastly, buy whole organic chickens and have the butcher cut them up. It's cheaper that way.

And become familiar the Environmental Working Group's guide called the "Clean 15" and the "Dirty Dozen." It believes, if budget matters, there are foods where you can pass on organic.

The "Clean 15" includes a lot of thicker skinned fruits like pineapples and bananas. They just don't absorb pesticides the same way as say leafy greens or berries, which are part of the "Dirty Dozen" list.

It's a great list that I use every time I shop.

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