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How to Save on Groceries

Plan ahead. Think about what you and your family will be eating for the next week or two and make a grocery list of the ingredients you’ll need. Before hitting the store, check your cupboards and plan a few meals around food items you already have.

Stick to your list. Once you hit the store, resist the temptation to buy items not found on your list. Impulse purchases can really stack up, and if you plan your meals ahead of time, you’ll know the food on your list is enough to get you through the week.

Brand name vs. generic. Save the brand names for products where you can really taste and see the difference. For everything else, generic or store-brand products are fine and cost much less.

Buy seasonal. The best-priced fruits and vegetables are those that are in season. Consider buying locally-grown produce as well. It is often cheaper than items shipped from far-off places.

Look up and down. Stores often stock their most expensive items at eye-level. For example, brand-name cereals are typically placed on middle shelves, while healthier options are at the top and cheaper cereals are at the bottom. Look at the top and bottom rows for similar food items, often at a cheaper price.

Paying for convenience. Convenience comes at a premium price. Avoid pre-washed and pre-cut fruits and vegetables, shredded cheese and other overpriced foods. Instead, purchase the items whole and save money by doing the prep work yourself.

Go vegetarian. Cooking a few meatless meals every week is a good way to save money. Keep protein in your diet by adding beans, nuts and dairy to your meals.

Love your leftovers. Find ways to create new meals out of your leftovers. Use brown rice from a stir fry for a casserole later in the week. Also, consider freezing portions of large dishes, such as chili, for re-heating at a later time.

Bulk sales. The promotion of bulk pricing can entice you to buy more product than you need, at prices that aren’t necessarily cheaper. If you really do need more, be sure to compare unit and volume prices to see if you are actually saving.

Coupon clip your way to savings!

Check for store or product coupons ahead of time to save major bucks.

• Groceries cost American households $312.75 a month.
• An average family using coupons can save $38.40 a month.
• That’s a potential savings of $460.80 a year.

Next-level couponing!

• Samples: Always sign up for a free sample. In most cases, your freebie will also come with coupons for significant savings and discounts on other related products.
• Social: Like your favorite brands on Facebook and follow merchants on Twitter. Many brands reward their loyal customers with exclusive offers, so you’ll stay up to date on contests and giveaways.
• Homework: Hard work pays off when it comes to couponing and saving money. Do online searches for the best price and search for coupons from grocery stores as well as from product companies.
• Comparison: Not sure if you’re looking at the best price? Use an online shopping app or your web browser to compare prices before buying.
 

Sources: CouponCabin.com, Food Marketing Institute, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics