PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — To help people in Oregon and Washington get the most out of their food budget, OnPoint Community Credit Union has partnered with Fred Meyer Stores to share a list of smart shopping tips to help people in local communities save on groceries and reduce food waste.
“It’s no secret that food prices are at record highs,” said Amy Reeves, vice president and Southwest Washington region manager, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “As precious and expensive as food can be, many of us make the mistake of wasting it, which contributes to high food expenses. The good news is that with a little advance planning, you and your family can save considerable amounts of money and waste less food.”
The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 8.3% from August 2021 to August 2022, according to a report released yesterday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The report says that although inflation slowed for a second consecutive month as gasoline prices fell, consumer prices remained near 40-year highs, with the cost of groceries and rent offsetting the decline in the energy sector.
Although consumers cannot control rising food prices, they can control how much food they throw away. Consider that Oregon households throw away an average of 6.3 pounds of food per week, according to a 2019 report by Community environmental services, a research and service unit of Portland State University. Of this waste, 71% was once edible.
“From establishing a sustainable meal prep routine to tracking sales and fuel points, customers can use many strategies to create savings in their grocery budget,” said Jeffery Temple, director of general affairs at Fred Meyer Stores. “We are proud to strengthen our partnership with OnPoint and equip our shared communities with tools that will help them put money back in their wallets.”
As the price of food and energy continue to impact family budgets, OnPoint and Fred Meyer have released their 10 tips to save money at checkout and throw away less food:
- Take inventory of your pantry, fridge and freezer, and shop with a list. Create an inventory list that includes expiration dates and quantities of all food and household items you have on hand. Update your list as you use each item, then add them to your grocery list. This will help you avoid buying too much of one item or too little of another, which will save you extra trips to the store that will cost you more.
- Be methodical when buying in bulk. Although buying in bulk may cost more upfront, it can save you money in the long run if you shop strategically. Bulk items can limit trips to the store, saving you time, money and gas. However, bulk items don’t sell if you don’t buy them and store them properly. Non-perishable bulk items like pasta and spices are generally less expensive per unit than non-perishable items like produce, dairy, and meat because they have a longer shelf life. If you buy perishables in bulk, look at the expiration date and be realistic about whether you can consume the product before it expires. If not, think carefully about your purchase or be sure to wash, bag and freeze your items before they spoil.
- Create a sustainable meal prep routine. Spending time each week planning your meals is good for your physical and financial health – a real win-win. Create a sustainable meal plan by starting small, making it enjoyable, and maximizing your ingredients. If you’re new to meal prepping, start by planning a few meals and snacks, then build momentum from there. Make meal planning fun by engaging the whole family, from menu selection to meal preparation. Choose ingredients that can be used in other meals. For example, if you’re making spaghetti one night, save some sauce and make lasagna.
- Pre-portioned snacks for children. Growing children can eat a lot. Prepare your fridge and your budget by cutting out fruits and vegetables, a cheaper and healthier alternative to packaged snacks. Buy value packs of deli meats, cheeses and crackers and make portion pouches. Keep water and healthy non-perishable snacks like trail mix or jerky in your car. Having water and snacks on hand can limit portions and reduce last-minute trips to the drive-thru.
- Use your freezer. Everything from cheese and breakfast meats to nuts and pre-cooked meals has a shelf life in the freezer. Freeze perishables to extend their shelf life. If you’re making a freezable casserole, soup, or other meal, double or triple your recipe and freeze the extra meals for another time.
- Avoid wasting food. Being a good food steward saves you money. Keep your fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid freezing vegetables or under-cooling meats and dairy products. Store vegetables, fruit, meat and butter in their specific compartments. Store items like pasta, coffee, and cereal in a dark, cool, and dry place so they don’t grow mold. Keep bananas, tomatoes, peppers, and other gassing items in your pantry. If a food doesn’t have a long shelf life, only buy it right before you eat it.
- Check the unit price of your item. Check the unit price of the item you are about to buy (it is always indicated on the shelf label or indicated on the online product page). Larger pack size might have smaller unit price.
- Keep an eye on sales and opt-in to digital economies. From weekly deals and savings events to “Must Buy” deals, every Fred Meyer deal is a little different. Check the coupon to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the savings. Stay up to date on all savings and special sale events by ensuring your digital account preferences are set to receive each email. Explore Fred Meyer’s mobile app to discover additional digital savings, then clip coupons directly to your loyalty card for your next store.
- Keep track and earn fuel points. Don’t let those points expire! Using your fuel points to fill up at a local Fred Meyer can save you up to $1.25 per gallon. Discover other ways to save, such as filling prescriptions at Fred Meyer pharmacies, using Kroger Ship for large purchases, joining the Fred Meyer Boost membership program, and taking advantage of additional earning events.
- Establish a thoughtful budget with the help of professionals. With rising costs, knowing where your money is going is crucial. For help creating a sustainable grocery budget, visit one of OnPoint’s 55 locations (including 20 locations at Fred Meyer stores) where branch teams can help you create a financial roadmap realistic plan that includes responsible monthly grocery spending.
The partnership between OnPoint and Fred Meyer began when the 90-year-old credit union announced its opening 20 new branches within grocery storeswho was the largest branch expansion of any credit union in the country in 2021. Since then, OnPoint has helped Members, Fred Meyer Buyers and Employees develop their financial well-being in a practical way. Visit onpointcu.com/locations-atms to view a full list of OnPoint’s 55 branches.
ABOUT ONPOINT COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION
Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union is Oregon’s largest credit union, serving more than 489,000 members and with assets of $9.3 billion. OnPoint membership is available to anyone who lives or works in one of Oregon’s 28 counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and their immediate family members. More information is available at www.onpointcu.com or 800-527-3932.
ABOUT FRED MEYER STORES
Fred Meyer Stores, based in Portland, Oregon, offers one-stop shopping at its 132 multi-department stores in four western states. More than 39,000 Fred Meyer Associates help customers meet their food, clothing and general merchandise needs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Stores range in size from 65,000 to 200,000 square feet and offer over 250,000 products under one roof. In addition, Fred Meyer contributes $5 million annually to Northwest communities through grants from the Fred Meyer Foundation as well as product donations, cash donations and sponsorships. Fred Meyer also donates 5 million pounds of food each year to local food banks through the Food Rescue Program. Fred Meyer Stores is a division of The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR). For more information, please visit our website at www.fredmeyer.com.