How to save money on groceries

If you’re searching for ways to cut back on monthly expenses so you can afford the newest “Barbie Dream House” this holiday season, slashing your food budget is a great place to start. Strategically buying groceries is an important skill when you’re looking to save money. Research suggests it’s time to leave the fast food lines behind and incorporate more home-cooked meals. An ABC News investigation found cooking meals at home is not only significantly cheaper, but it can also be faster than a trip to the drive-thru.

Purchasing groceries instead of paying for fast food or dine-in restaurant meals is an appropriate first step, but conquering the aisles of your local supermarket can seem daunting. The following simple tools will help you save money on groceries without adding stress to an already-hectic season.

Coupons:

 Clipping coupons sounds burdensome, and like a major time suck when you’re already scrambling to check items on Christmas lists, plan dinner for in-laws, and vacuum the pine needles shedding from the freshly-decorated tree. Just a few minutes on a Sunday evening devoted to

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Dry pasta, provided via Flickr Creative Commons

a little searching and snipping, however, can save you serious money. Coupons can be found in most Sunday papers, on websites like thekrazycouponlady.com and your favorite supermarket sites, like kroger.com. Don’t forget to check the websites of your favorite product manufacturers, too. Many grocery stores will allow you to combine store and manufacturer coupons for maximum savings.

Smart Phone Apps:

If you need to save money on groceries and can’t spare even a minute to clip a coupon, smart phone apps for Apple and Android devices may be the perfect solution. A quick search through your phone’s app store will yield a multitude of coupon app choices. If you’re a frequent Kroger shopper, downloading the Kroger app will let you search for coupons as you shop and sync them your Kroger Plus Card digitally. Other apps, like Cellfire and Grocery IQ, have received endorsements from Consumer Reports.

Buying in Bulk:

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Dry pasta, provided via Flickr Creative Commons

The holidays are a perfect time to stock up on many things, and groceries are no exception. With relatives visiting, neighborhood food pantries hosting large drives and grocery stores rolling out Black Friday sales, buying in bulk makes sense. Often bulk groceries are cheaper than buying several units of a particular item, which helps you save money effortlessly. Items like dry pasta, trash bags, and light bulbs are great for bulk purchases. Be careful, though: perishable items, items you don’t truly need, and items you don’t have room to store can result in major bulk-buying failure, according to a U.S. News & World Report article.

To make this holiday season as budget-friendly as possible, consider using coupons, smart phone apps, or a bulk-buying strategy. These tools will keep grocery costs low, and help you save money when it matters most.

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