Drought 2012: How Does It Impact You?

You’ve heard so many stories already about the historic drought the heartland of America is suffering this summer. But you don’t have a farm or a ranch, and your livelihood doesn’t rely on rainfall to survive. So I know you’re wondering…will the drought affect you?

In a word, yes. Where will you feel the effects? Your pocketbook. Even though the price hikes aren’t being felt by consumers just yet, trust me, it won’t be long before you begin to understand just how widespread the fallout from the drought really is.

In fact, you’re likely to see a price hike in every aisle of your grocery store. That’s because corn and soy (the crops that have suffered the most damage) are key ingredients in the manufacturing of most processed foods, from cereal to salad dressing—and even paper plates! But you’ll see price increases for animal-based perishables, too.

Don’t panic—here are a few tips and tricks to help you offset grocery store price increases:

  • Shop alone. It cuts down on distractions and impulse buying.
  • Stick to your list.
  • Never shop on an empty stomach. A quick snack before you enter the store will keep you focused on the stuff you need, not on what you crave.
  • Carry your coupons.
  • If you’re a senior citizen, check with your supermarket to see if you qualify for a discount (usually 10 percent) on a certain day of the week.
  • Buy a larger-size item only if the unit price indicates that it’s a better deal than the smaller-size package.
  • Buy generics. “Premium” store brands are comparable to gourmet brands, but at prices that are 25 percent less.
  • Cash is king. Leave your credit and debit cards at home, and you’ll only be able to buy what fits within your budget.
  • Check the circulars and newspaper inserts every week for specials and sales.