There is more variety on today's grocery store shelves than ever before. With so many choices, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
- Don't shop when you're hungry. It may be more tempting to make impulse purchases, especially on less nutritious items that cost more, when shopping on an empty stomach.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. Plan in advance and make a menu of meals for the week — check what you have at home first so you know what you need and don't overbuy. A list can also help you avoid buying more than you plan to eat and wasting food that may spoil.
- Organize your list into sections according to the layout of the supermarket. This can help cut down on the time and the number of passes you need to make through the aisles.
- Check for supermarket specials. Check the weekly store circulars for sales and coupons for items you regularly purchase or are on your grocery list for the week. Also, try company websites and apps for coupons. Check for in-store deals like "manager's specials" of day-old bread or foods close to their expiration date.
- Shop the bulk foods aisle. Many stores offer bulk herbs, spices, nuts, dried fruits, whole grains, dried beans and other items at discounted prices. Sometimes these are foods in a less processed form, which means you are getting an added bonus of healthy options for less money.
- Stock up on staples when they go on sale. Browse your grocery aisles or weekly flyers for sale items and stock up on foods you can keep in the pantry and freezer. Look for non-perishables such as canned and bottled goods; dried beans and peas; whole-grain pastas, crackers and cereals; brown rice; tomato sauces and nut butters.
- Think canned and frozen. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables often are less expensive than their fresh counterparts. Plus, they're great to have on hand when you're short on fresh options. Fruits and veggies are canned at their peak of nutrition and quality. Be sure to choose no-salt-added, no-sugar-added or less sodium varieties.
- Use a slow cooker. This handy kitchen appliance uses a moist heat method of cooking which helps tenderize less expensive but tougher cuts of meat. Stretch that meal dollar further by adding frozen vegetables or beans to your slow cooker recipes. Meals from a slow cooker are hearty and filling, and they make the house smell good!
- Cook meals in large batches, then freeze for later. Batch cook and freeze meals over the weekend when you have more time. On weekdays, all you have to do is take a meal out of the freezer and simply reheat. You also can use leftovers from a roast or chicken to make a stir-fry, tacos or soup other days of the week.
- Take advantage of loyalty cards, store brands, coupons and specials. If you haven't signed up for your grocery store's loyalty card, do it now. Sometimes sale prices are only valid with the loyalty card and you could miss out on big savings. Consider purchasing the store brand of packaged foods — they usually are a better value than commercially branded items.
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