Is grocery shopping ‘frustrating and stressful’? Here are ways to stretch your dollars

May 13, 2024, 10:32 PM | Updated: May 15, 2024, 3:25 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY — High food prices are squeezing Utah families, and going to the grocery store can be a frustrating experience.

Tina Hermansen knows all about that. She’s a wife, mother, and substitute teacher from West Valley City.

“It’s very frustrating and stressful,” Hermansen said. “I get anxious going to the grocery store because of how much I’m spending.”

Her family of six has just one child still living at home, but her other kids come over to eat often.

Every month – all told – she spends between $800 and $1,000 on food.

“That money doesn’t go as far as it used to,” Hermansen pointed out.

Every month, Tina Hermansen spends between $800 and $1,000 on food. (KSL TV)

She’s not alone in feeling that way.

“The need for programming or assistance to getting food access has gone up,” said Lea Palmer, a dietitian who sees firsthand the impact of rising food prices on Utah families. “I think that inflation rate has hit everybody.”

Tips for families

This has many families trying different ways to stretch their dollars even further. Palmer has a lot of tips for that.

“Go shopping once,” Palmer said. “Reduce the time that you’re in the store.”

On top of that, she said, go to the store with a menu plan – and a list.

Additionally, “cook once, eat twice,” Palmer said, and try “to cook in bulk because when you purchase in bulk, it’s usually a lower cost overall.”

Hermansen has her own tricks for saving money on food.

“For instance, if I were to bake a whole chicken, then I’d take those bones and boil it and make my own bone broth and can it,” she said. “Then I don’t have to buy broth or whatever for recipes.”

Tina Hermansen has her own tricks for saving money on food. “For instance, if I were to bake a whole chicken, then I’d take those bones and boil it and make my own bone broth and can it,” she said. “Then I don’t have to buy broth or whatever for recipes.” (KSL TV)

She also freezes any leftovers her family has.

“Then we have a meal all ready to throw in the oven when we’re ready to eat it,” said Hermansen.

It’s also important to make sure you’re getting enough healthy foods. The federal government actually tracks how much it costs to eat nutritiously, laying out different budgets by size – low, moderate, and liberal.

Hermansen’s budget – for her household size – hovers between low and moderate.

“It would be nice if we could get little extras here and there,” Hermansen said, “but with how the prices of food have gone up, I can’t buy extras anymore like I used to.”

Others find buying enough nutritious food nearly impossible. If you’re in that group, Palmer said, don’t be shy.

“There’s nothing shameful about going and asking for help,” she said. “There’s a lot of programs out there who are very invested in supporting our communities.”

For now, Hermansen works hard to stay on track with her budget while hoping her grocery bill might someday be a little less painful.

“It would be nice if food were more affordable,” she said, “so people could get what they need.”

Additional resources

If you need help buying food, check out the following programs and resources:

The following websites can be helpful with meal planning and nutrition tracking:

KSL 5 TV Live

Unaffordable Utah

(FILE) Two signs advertising bedrooms for rent....

Daniel Woodruff

Rent costs are up nationally, but what about Utah?

While some aspects of inflation are cooling down, the cost of renting has continued rising.

12 hours ago

KSL’s Matt Gephardt price shopped several items at traditional grocery stores and specialty food ...

Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Will shopping specialty food markets save you money?

To save money on your groceries, a specialty food market might not come to mind. But KSL Consumer Investigator Matt Gephardt found branching out to specialty food markets might help you bust some grocery inflation.

3 days ago

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 31: A Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house for sale o...

Alex Veiga, AP Business Writer

Redfin agrees to pay $9.25 million to settle real estate broker commission lawsuits

Redfin has agreed to pay $9.25 million to settle federal lawsuits that claim U.S. homeowners were saddled with artificially inflated broker commissions when they sold their homes.

11 days ago

(KSL TV)...

Eliza Pace

Study finds nearly 40% of homeowners don’t believe they could afford their home if buying today

A new study shows 40% of U.S. homebuyers don't believe they could afford their home if they bought it today.

15 days ago

New homes on a street lined with new homes built by DR Horton in Lehi. (Greg Anderson, KSL TV)...

Lindsay Aerts

Utahns are ‘fed up and priced out,’ new Utah survey finds

The study conducted by the Utah Foundation reveals that housing affordability and politicians ignoring voters are the top two concerns among Utahns.

17 days ago

FILE — Automobile traffic jams Route 93 South, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Cha...

Daniel Woodruff

Simple ways to fight back against rising insurance costs

It’s one of the most painful parts of inflation right now – rising insurance costs.

22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Is grocery shopping ‘frustrating and stressful’? Here are ways to stretch your dollars