A Word from the GM
In this month's newsletter I would like to address one of the questions that came up at the FinMoO in regards to the highest levels of inflation that we have seen since 1981. (Food inflation was nearly 8% for the month of February and March is expected to be up similarly.)
The question was about what can be done to mitigate the effect of inflation for customers at Common Ground. This is a highly relevant question considering that no one really knows when inflation will slow down. I have a few tips I would like to share with customers, most of which are common sense but some are things you may not be aware of, especially if you are a newer owner. Also, I am sure that most of you are aware that some are predicting food shortages in the coming months.
Assuming that food inflation will continue for at least several months, now is the time that food prices will be at their lowest point for quite a while. In that regard, stocking up on the food items (and many non food items) that you use most is something that I would recommend strongly. If you think shortages will occur then remember what happened when COVID panic buying hit in early 2020 and stock up a little bit on those things. There were several items that were nearly impossible to get such as toilet paper, pasta, rice, beans, flour, and yeast among others. Many stores had major issues with meat and produce items being out of stock also. Please understand, I am not encouraging panic buying; I am just recommending being prudent and picking up a few extra items with each shopping trip to save some money as prices continue to rise.
Second, be on the lookout for sales on the items you use most. If you see something in our sales flyer, or a sale sign on an item at the Co-op that you like, maybe think about asking us to special order a case for you. If an item you need is not on sale, remember that our owners get a 10% discount on most case purchases.
Consider adjusting your purchases to incorporate different brands. Field Day pasta sauce, for example, is much more affordable than Muir Glen. We are also constantly working to bring in alternate brands to fill in for items that are becoming difficult to get. Please be flexible regarding the usual items that you buy because they may become unavailable for a time.
The absolute best time for stocking up is during Owner Appreciation Days. You get our best possible price on many popular items and a 10% discount on most regular items for one shopping trip. Our next OAD week is from May 4th - May 10th so the best time to shop is coming soon!
Producing your own food is a great way to save money! Our annual plant sale (which also supports our Food For All Program) coincides with OAD so pick up a few plants that have already been started or buy some seeds from the rack in our produce department. If you have room, think about increasing the size of your garden this year and canning or freezing your extra vegetables.
Finally, please remember that many folks are already falling on hard times. Wages are just not keeping up with inflation so more and more people are heading to local food banks for essentials before going to the store. If you can, please think about donating food or cash to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank to help those who are already struggling. We are a community and need to do the best we can to look out for each other.
If you have any other great tips for saving money on your food bill please feel free to share them with us!
Thanks for reading!