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. You're more likely to make impulse purchases on less nutritious items that cost more.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. Plan in advance and make a menu of meals for the week — don't overbuy and end up wasting food because it went bad before you had time to eat it.
- Organize your list into sections according to the layout of the supermarket.This cuts down on 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. Also, try company websites and apps for coupons. Check for in-store deals like "manager's specials" of day-old baked goods 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 whole foods, 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 for sale items and stock up on foods you can store in the pantry and freezer. Load your cart with 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. 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 meat 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, private labels, coupons and specials. If you haven't signed up for your grocery store's loyalty card, do it now. Sometimes sale prices only are valid with the loyalty card and you could miss out on big savings. Consider purchasing the private label (the kind with the store's name) version of packaged foods — they usually are a better value than commercially branded items.
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