Grocery Store Savvy

When it comes to saving at the grocery store we know the main rule is go with a list. But, keeping an open mind as you stroll the aisles and shop for sales can prove beneficial. The supermarket is packed with deals that can't always be found in the circulars. Sue Perry, Deputy Editor for ShopSmart Magazine shares tips on how to save at the grocery store.

Shop according to the sale cycle. Staples hit their lowest prices once every 12 weeks. So, browse often and you'll know when to snap up the bargains. Once you spot the bargain load up with enough to last three months, until the price plummets again. It takes about one 12 week cycle to master the game.

Give more store brands a try. Store-label items are often as good as brand-name products and cost 27 percent less on average. And 99 percent of the time store brands come with a money-back guarantee.

Don't forget to use your store rewards card. You can save 15 to 20 percent, and many of them are now tied to food-recall information. So if you've purchased a product that is recalled, the store can contact you.

Buy items in bags when possible. Buying bags of apples, potatoes or onions rather than loose items will save you 25 to 50 percent.

Buy frozen fish. Just about all seafood has been previously frozen, so stay away from the "fresh" counter. To save 40 to 50 percent head to the frozen-seafood case.

Buy cheese from the dairy case. Cheese prices can vary widely throughout the store. A block of feta in the fancy-foods section can cost 45 percent more than a mainstream brand in the dairy case. Crumbled goat cheese can cost 30 percent more and vermont cheddar 50 percent. Also remember, despite packaging there's a standard of identification for cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack cheeses. So, they are processed the same way.

Do wait for post-holiday sales. After December 25th there are all kinds of bargains. Some items such as vanilla and vinegar never expire because they're fermented which means that after Christmas $7.99 bottles of vanilla will be going for 99 cents. Cans are often dated almost two years out.

Don't dismiss the day-old-bread rack. Most loaves go for half off. If the bread ends up stale, use it for French toast or bread pudding where freshness isn't a factor.

Skip deli-counter lunch meat. It can cost 20 percent more than the packaged kin. Save more and buy a whole cooked ham or turkey brest for 10 to 20 percent of the price. Then ask the butcher if he will slice it for free.

Sock up on dinners such as lasagna and pizzas. They're a good investment because it keeps you from eating out when you're busy.

For more information on how to save money at the grocery store and other consumer topics, click here.
Sue Perry & Erika Wortham