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Ten tips to save $10 (or more)

Coupons and coinsThe best food for you often seems like the most expensive, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Follow these 10 tips on how to save money while shopping for nutritious food.

  1. Plan meals for a week, and then make your shopping list. You can find grocery store specials in the newspaper and online, and let those drive your planning. Even if you leave some of the smaller meals to chance, plan the larger ones with more food involved. Stick to the list!
  2. Use coupons only to purchase nutritious foods. Foods full of salt, fat and sugar are not bargains. Pay attention, as some stores send personalized coupons if you use their savings card– buy healthy food, get coupons for similar, healthy food in turn.
  3. Shop alone, and when you are NOT hungry. Impulse buying, by yourself or others on your grocery trip, inflates your bill.
  4. Convenience costs more. Those frozen dinners and pre-cut, raw vegetables cost more. Why? You’re paying for the convenience of simply heating up a pre-prepared meal or to skip the cutting of the vegetable. Prepare your food from scratch as much as possible.
  5. Shop quickly and effectively. After 30 minutes in the grocery store, the cost of your trip increases between 50 cents and $1 every minute. That’s as much as $15 extra for a 45-minute trip to the grocery store.
  6. Buy food that’s in season. Growers have more to provide to produce grown out of season, and that cost is passed on to the consumer. Watch advertisements to find low-cost, in-season food. Farmer’s markets and produce stands are also stocked with in-season foods, and some will even take EBT or food stamp cards.
  7. Shop the store’s perimeter. Think about the layout of your grocery store. Aren’t most nutritious foods kept along the store’s walls? That’s where you want to be. Beware: The deli is also typically along the store’s perimeter. Pass by it quickly!
  8. Use unit pricing. To do an accurate cost comparison between products, check the price per unit. It’s located on the shelf directly under each food item, and the price per unit (the unit will be something like ounces or pounds) will allow you to compare similar products of different sizes.
  9. Buy the store brand. It’s not all about the name brands. Oftentimes the store brand’s quality is comparable to the name brand, but the store brand costs much less.
  10. Cook once, and then eat all week. Plan to be busy? Make one or two recipes in larger amounts than usual and freeze servings in individual containers. Pull them out and heat then up to eat when you don’t have time to cook.