A trip to the supermarket is an increasingly pricey proposition. Experts expect food prices to jump by at least 5% this year, if not more as floods ruin corn and soybean crops in the Midwest. A simple way to save? Ditch the supermarket!
Try buying groceries at drugstores and pharmacies. Over-the-counter medications, personal-care items and milk are great deals here. At CVS and Walgreen's, a gallon of skim milk is routinely 50 cents to a dollar cheaper than at grocery stores.
Also, take a look at surplus stores like Amerlia's, SharpShopper and Grocery Outlet. Chains like these often cut prices by up to 70% on damaged and near-expired obtained directly from the manufacturer. The deals are excellent, but check the quality before buying.
Shopping online can save you a bundle too. Amazon.com is gaining traction as a grocer, thanks to its free shipping policy. You'll get discounts of 5% to 10%, but keep in mind that you're buying in bulk.
You might also want to consider joining a warehouse club like Costco or Sams Club. Alcohol, prescription medications and pantry staples like rice, eggs and cheese can run as much as 30% cheaper. You can easily recoup the annual membership fee.
Also look around for discount grocers. Aldi and Save-A-Lot primarily sell products bearing their own label, instead of brand names. There's less selection, but prices are at least 20% lower than at the supermarket.
Lastly, don't forget about local farmers' markets. It's tough to beat fresh produce prices at the farmers' market, especially if you want to go organic. You'll find competitive prices often 50 cents cheaper per pound.
For more information on saving money on groceries, as well as additional personal financial advice, click here to visit www.SmartMoney.com.
By Kelli Grant