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Grocery shopping 101

  1. Eat before you go grocery shopping to avoid impulse buying.
  2. Plan your meals. Make a list before going shopping, and stick to it!
  3. Shop the discount basket, and buy store brands or generic products. Use coupons. Register for stores' savings cards, such as the one at Pick 'n Save.
  4. Read nutrition labels, paying close attention to serving sizes. Choose items with unsaturated (good) fats over saturated fats.
  5. Buy fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. They contain the most vitamins and minerals. Frozen fruits and veggies are good, as well. Avoid fruits canned in heavy syrup.
  6. Choose breads, rice and cereal containing with high fiber contents and whole grains.
  7. When purchasing meat, stay away from prime meats and choose lean cuts, including tenderloins, sirloins and other "loins."
  8. Buy 100 percent fruit juices over fruit cocktails. Fruit cocktails contain high fructose corn syrup and only 40 percent real fruit juice. Frozen concentrated juice is healthy and up to 60 percent cheaper.
  9. Buy healthier snacks, such as bagel chips, baby carrots, rice cakes, trail mix, cereal, popcorn, sunflower seeds, graham crackers, pudding and pretzels.
  10. Buy herbs and spices to complement your cooking. They add real flavor and no fat.
  11. Buy in bulk. Store non-perishable items under beds, in closets, etc. Use your freezer to deep freeze the meats and other frozen items you buy on sale. This will increase your spending power and save you an extra trip to the store.
  12. Do not buy toiletries at grocery stores. They are priced 25 percent higher than at drug stores.
  13. Eat leftovers for lunch, and make soups, stews, potpies and casseroles out of them.
  14. Make a "price book" out of a binder and paper to track item prices. Label several columns: date, store, item, size, price, unit price and sale. Pay attention to the unit price when buying in bulk.
  15. Eating at restaurants adds up. Avoid convenience stores. Many of your favorite restaurant recipes can be found online.
  16. Bring drinks with you to prevent spending money on vending machine or fast-food beverages.
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