Spend less on the groceries you love: Part I

In recent years, the phrase "extreme couponing" has become more common, especially given the success of the network television show with the same name.

There are many stories of consumers walking away from a grocery store with several carts full of items while only paying a few dollars or at times nothing. Consequently, you might want to find some strategies to spend less of what's in your checking account on groceries. Although you may not be ready to become an extreme couponer, there are some less intense ways to save on your shopping list.

Clip coupons
This is one of the more time-consuming steps you can take, but it can be worthwhile. Grab a Sunday paper and check for coupons at the stores at which you like to shop for groceries. Additionally, there are certain apps that help you save money by sending coupons to your smartphone.

Before you head to the store with a stack of coupons, read the fine print and understand your store's policies about using them. There may be special promotions that increase the coupon's value or limits on how many coupons you can use per transaction.

There are also manufacturer coupons and special websites that you can join for access to exclusive coupons.

Buy in bulk
Consider items that you use often. If you regularly cook chicken, for instance, it may make more sense to buy it in bulk.

Head over to a warehouse store that sells groceries and purchase large quantities of items that will last for some time. Meat can be frozen for a while, and nonperishables are good to go for a few months. You can also stock up on household and hygiene items, such as toothpaste, laundry detergent and dish soap. Although you're paying for more now, the price is often less expensive compared to buying the same items at the regular grocery to last a similar amount of time.

Don't turn down store brands
Many stores make their own versions of your favorite items with similar or near-similar qualities and taste. For items such as cereal and hand lotion, save a few cents or dollars by going with the store brand.

Avoid prepared items
Cleaning vegetables takes time, and it isn't fun picking over tons of broccoli, peppers and cauliflower to find ones that are fresh. However, the time you save buying prepared foods increases your grocery bill, as these items that are ready to go and wrapped in plastic are usually more expensive.

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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