"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
Virginia Woolf

When to Scrimp, When to Splurge at the Supermarket | Consumer Reports

  1. Shop at least expensive markets
  2. Make a list (use weekly flyer)
  3. Use coupons
  4. Buy store brands or generic brands
  5. Compare unit prices
  6. Buy bagged products
  7. Use free store bonus-cards for two-for-one sales, members only specials and reward points toward future purchases 
  8. Use the Bakery
  9. Check your receipt
  10. Buy products with longest shelf life
  11. Shop late at night on Wednesdays

1) Shop at least expensive markets: You can save hundreds even thousands of dollars a year if you shop at supermarkets  offering low prices. The best places to go and help stretch your grocery dollar are Trader Joe's, Costco, Market Basket, WinCo, Aldi, Save-a-Lot and Wal-Mart.

2) Make a list (use weekly flyer): prepare your meals around those weekly circulars and buy only what's on sale.

3) Use coupons: here are some that are worth a try....,,,

4) Buy store brands or generic brands: Store brands sell for 25% less on average because they don't have to carry heavy product development and promotion costs. Over the years Consumer Reports' tests have found many store brands to be at least as good as national brands. Most consumers are highly satisfied with the quality of store brands they had purchased according to Consumer Reports.

5) Compare unit prices

6) Buy bagged products: some produce is cheaper by the bag than by the pound

7) Use free store bonus-cards for two-for-one sales, members only specials and reward points toward future purchases 

8) Use the Bakery: the store-made baked goods are fresher and cheaper (25% cheaper) than those commercial pre-packaged alternative ones.

9) Check your receipt

10) Buy products with longest shelf life: the oldest milk, cereal, cold cuts, bread and other packaged goods are stocked first. Go to the rear of the shelf, refrigerator or freezer to get products with longest shelf life.

11) Shop late at night and/or on Wednesdays: You will find extra markdowns because new sales start on Wednesdays while still having the previous week's sales. Shopping later like at 8pm might get you extra markdowns on bakery items, meat, produce and other perishables.  Price might be slashed by as much as half as a last ditch effort to sell it rather that toss it out.


Supermarket buying guide from Consumer Reports

Buy at cheap stores. According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports the best overall prices were found at Aldi, Costco, Market Basket, Slater Bros., Shoppers Food Warehouse, Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart. Of all of them Aldi is the cheapest…so start your grocery shopping

 there first.


  When Your Food Budget Is Critical

Book: Good & Cheap... eat well on $4/day


No food waste menu planner

My 8th Annual Cost Survey of 10 Popular Brown Bag Sandwiches ...

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Sign up for a community supported agriculture program for a onetime fee and you can get a weekly share of the crops from a local farm. Find one at

Support local farmers. By buying from local farmers you can get the freshest food possible and you save energy. To find farmers nationwide and the US Department of Agriculture at .


If you are an impulse buyer when you go to the supermarket ordering groceries online may help cut back on unnecessary spending. Try,, Buy groceries on line at  which offers more that 14,000 non perishable grocery items with free super saver shipping on orders over $25.

Many local supermarkets including Safeway provide delivery or pickup for online orders. It is tougher to browse on a website than to grab an item off a store shelf so you are much less likely to overspend. Some stores offer free delivery for purchases over $150.


Use leftovers creatively: with a left over pot roast you can make beef stroganoff, barbecue beef and hot beef sandwiches. Other delicious dishes that can be made with leftovers are fried rice, stir fry dishes, casseroles, stews, soups, sandwiches, salad toppings (use any leftover meat), tacos and wraps. Looking for recipes that will use up your leftovers? Allrecipes has more than 800 trusted recipes for leftovers complete with ratings, reviews and much more.



Why buy a cookbook when you can get thousands of recipes on line? Here are some of the sites with the most and best recipes: ,, , ,  . Other sites with great recipes:,  and ….



Go to or ..if you're trying to reduce your grocery bill, you'll want to pay them a visit. They will show the current week’s sale ads of major supermarkets. Buy only what’s on sale and stock up on what you use a lot.


For information on how long products stay good enough to eat, go to 


 Use Blue Apple to extend the useful storage life of your produce up to three times longer.


Save on Groceries: Tips from Consumer Reports




Coupon Mom Teaches How to Get Free Groceries


Weekend newspaper inserts are loaded with manufacturer’s coupons. You can also register with an online service such as ,,  , ,   or,,, to get grocery coupons. Don’t collect them for pricey convenience foods or products you don’t normally buy. Instead, make it a habit of using a coupon every time you purchase a staple like ketchup.

Log on to and plug your shopping list and get a matching list of coupons.


This free website  will find coupons for everything from airport parking to flowers to office supplies. It tracks store sales and pairs them with available coupons.

The Grocery Game ( ) will find the best sales at major supermarkets and will figure out which coupons go with the sales and were those coupons are for $1.25 a week.


And  will handpick the items priced lower than the store’s cost (loss leaders) from several stores in your area. You register at the site, select the stores in your neighborhood and watch the sales pop up. As you check an item, the site creates a shopping list for you arranged by store. Also if you type your zip code it will give you free access to local circulars.

Check the websites of the companies that make your favorite products for special coupons or rebates. When the item you like goes on sale you can save even more by using the coupon or rebate.

If the advertised item sells out go to Customer Service and ask for a rain check. That way you will get the sale price when the stock is replenished even if the sale is over. Make sure the rain check specifies how many items you can purchase at the sale price.

Look for an 800-number on the packaging of your favorite product and give the manufacturer a ring or sign in on their website. Many will send you coupons just because you took the time to call or be a website fan.


There are many ways you can set up a coupon swap suggests Bethanie Frank at  “One popular way is through Yahoo Groups. Just plugging in the words "coupon" or "coupons" leads you to a wealth of groups that are exchanging coupons right now. Ask to join one of the many groups that appeal to your needs and interests. There are even ones that devote themselves to baby coupons only. They trade coupons for baby food, diapers, and other products for baby.

Or, there are many that just trade any and every coupon available. Or, if you prefer to "keep it in the family," ask your friends, family and co-workers if they want to join a swap with you. To set up this easy and fun way to save money, you first need to gather the names and addresses of everyone participating. Of course, a website or email list would work well with this idea but isn't necessary. Once the group is assembled, figure out some random order in which the coupon pack will be mailed. For example, maybe when you're done with the pack, you give it to your co-worker who in turns drops it off to her day care provider. That person in turn mails it off to her cousin in another state. The cousin will pass it along, and so on. Just don't let the group get too big, or you'll only get your coupon pack once in awhile and that's not worth it. Getting it back once a month would be a great help with your grocery shopping.

So now the circle is assembled and everyone knows the person they are supposed to give the pack to. The object is to fill the pack with coupons you don't use. Remember to double check expiration dates, as you don't want to be giving out useless expired coupons. Then when you get the pack, you take what you want and replace it with coupons you don't use. Tell everyone to clip any and all coupons they see. That way, you ensure a variety.

Having a group of people from different parts of the city or state can provide you with a variety of coupons you may not see in your local Sunday papers. Even refunds can be included in the swap package. Many people toss refunds when they know they won't be purchasing that particular item ever again. How wonderful to be able to pass along the savings to one of your friends or family members. By broadening this circle, you will be able to meet new people and save money at the same time.

Or, if your group is particularly big, have a few swap packages traveling at the same time. That way, you'll always be able to find savings every couple of weeks.


Have fun with this project and let it grow how it may.

Hopefully, you'll have a fun and active group and be able to save money and try new products all at the same time. Coupon swaps aren't just about stretching that dollar, but they allow us to make friends and receive snail mail while we're keeping that budget on track. Have fun swapping!” states Bethanie.


Read the book “Greatest Secrets of The Coupon Mom” by Stephanie Nelson. Retail $17.99.




Get coupons without buying the newspaper. Many store sale ads and discounts found in newspapers are online too. That include coupons and special offers on national supermarket brands you buy every week Visit or


Join a coupon swapping group (find one at and trade away those coupons you don’t use.

Other coupon sites to try:

Reduced wasted food