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Stretching Your Dollars at the Supermarket

Americans spend roughly 10 percent of their income on food. So how can you get the most bang for your buck at the supermarket?

Early Show Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen shared some super saving ideas with co-anchor Harry Smith.

Coupons are a good idea, but how you use them is key.

"A 75 cent coupon is better than a dollar coupon in most stores. Most stores double coupons valued at 99 cents or less. So if you have a dollar coupon, it's just a dollar. But if you have a 75 cent coupon and it doubles, it's really $1.50," Koeppen explained.

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She says the next saving is all in the bag -- saving on produce. It's cheaper to buy by the bag. For instance, a bag of potatoes might go for 80 cents a pound, while those same potatoes loose could go for $1.29 a pound.

Conveniece will cost you, Koeppen points out.

"Buying items already chopped up can increase the price as much as 600 percent," she noted.

• Pre-cut cantaloupe, $3.99/lb
• Half a cantaloupe, $1.69/lb
• Whole cantanloupe, $1.33/lb

Don't be duped by signs that say 10 for 10 dollars -- you don't have to spend that much.

"You don't have to buy all 10. Just buy one for a dollar," Koeppen said.

"Supermarket flyers can be your shopping bible," she obswerved, but don't be fooled by everything in the flyer.

"The front page has items for sale usually at cost or below cost. But once you make your way inside the flyer -- companies can buy a spot to put their product, even if it's not on sale. The mere mention of a product in a flyer can send sales soaring 500 percent," she explained.

Lastly, Koeppen says to beware of product placement. Where you find something in the grocery store could mean the difference between a good sale and a bad one.

"The end of the aisle is a great selling spot. Retailers put items there and sales tend to go up a third. But those items aren't always on sale and because it's a good spot, retailers try to put things there that they want out of the store, so alway check freshness date," she said.

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