In sticker-shock over prices at your local supermarket? Rely on these money-saving strategies.
1. Pick products on the top and bottom shelves. Bigger sizes of items, which tend to offer a lower price per unit, are usually placed on the highest and lowest shelves at the grocery store. Smaller sizes, with a higher price per unit, are often given prime placement at eye level.
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Skip the Name Brands
2. Buy store brands instead. Store brands are usually close to the market leader in quality yet less costly. In fact, the same manufacturer that makes the branded product often manufactures the house brand.
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Think Outside the Package
3. Avoid buying prepared and packaged goods. You’ll pay a premium for convenience. Consumer Reports once found that two pounds of carrots cost $1.29, compared with $7.16 for the same amount of precut sticks.
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Become a Club Member
4. These free programs entitle cardholders to members-only savings on selected products, a benefit that could shave about 18 percent off your total grocery bill. The catch: The stores keep tabs on what customers are buying to study different segments of the shopping population.
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Clip Coupons to Save
5. Download coupons. Check coolsavings.com for deals on frequently purchased items and shop on double-coupon days if your grocer has them.
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6. Join a warehouse club. Bulk retailers such as BJ’s Wholesale Club and Costco can be 20 to 50 percent cheaper than regular grocery stores when it comes to products like condiments, coffee, bottled water, and canned beans and vegetables. (The supermarket has better deals on items like produce, chips, and cookies.) Visit the websites of clubs like BJ’s (bjs.com; $45 annual fee), Costco (costco.com; $50), and Sam’s Club (samsclub.com; $40) to determine which has the best location and product mix for you, then join online.