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Stretching Your Dollars On Groceries

BOSTON (CBS) - Groceries are not a discretionary item in your budget. We have to buy food, but you do have some flexibility as to how and where you spend your grocery money.

Consecutive years of drought in the west has caused produce and meat prices to increase. And the bird flu is driving up egg prices.

But with some pre-planning and some discipline you may be able to get your groceries on the cheap. Going cheap doesn't mean you have to lower your standards. It means changing how you purchase those goods and services to keep the things that are important to you.

What do you buy every week? Make a list. Walmart and Target are good places to start for staples. Walmart is also a good place for produce. I bought peaches from 3 different sources last week. Paying 99 cents at Walmart, $1.99 at the grocery store and $2.99 at a farm stand. We had a "peach off" and my family liked the Walmart peaches the best.

Create a weekly shopping list. What is your family going to eat this week? What are you going to cook?

Clip coupons. Most of us cannot duplicate the coupon divas that claim they feed their family for $10 a week. You never see coupons for blueberries or broccoli, usually its processed foods. Clip what you know your family will eat.

Do you find yourself singing along to the music in the grocery store? Grocery stores want you to be happy and not in a hurry so you will stay longer and spend more. The grocery carts have increased in size in hopes you will fill it.

Then there are the great smells that come your way. Roasted chicken near the front as you arrive and oh the bakery with samples to entice you. That roasted chicken is usually a lost leader and a good deal.

The beautiful fresh produce again placed right where you will need to walk by to pick up that gallon of milk or loaf of bread in the back of the store. These are just a few of the ways the grocery stores try to keep you longer in their stores and spending more.

And before you set foot in a grocery store make sure you have eaten something. Shopping when hungry weakens our willpower!

One more thing: The average household in America wastes about $2,300 in food each year.       -Huffington Post, August 21, 2012


You can hear Dee Lee's expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee's Money Matters newsletter here.

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