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Ways to trim your bill at grocery store

By Andrea K. Walker | andrea.walker@baltsun.com

March 1, 2009

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There's a lot of things you can cut out of your budget in cash-strapped times: cable, movies, nights out on the town.

Other things you can't give up. After all, you're not going to stop eating just because there's a recession.

But there are ways to trim the grocery bill and save a few dollars.

Plan your meals around what's on sale. If chicken is on sale this week, then it might be time for you to try that new potpie recipe. Watch the sales, but don't buy it just because it's in the weekly circular. Sure, the peanut butter is two for $5, but do you really need that much when it's cheaper to buy just one jar? If it's not something you'd normally buy, leave it on the shelf.

Be sure to clip your coupons. Many stores are starting to double coupons again as they compete for customers. Look for those who do.

Do you tend to stray from your grocery list? Why not have your groceries delivered so you stay within budget? If you prefer to do your own shopping, be aware of how supermarkets stock their shelves. The more expensive items are often placed at eye-level. Cheaper items and store brands are usually lower or higher.

Don't always look to your neighborhood supermarket for the best deals. Dollar stores can be gold mines for cheap paper towels, napkins and other staples. Milk can sometimes be cheaper at the drugstore. Target and Wal-Mart are competitive on the price of dry foods such as cereal and canned foods such as soup.

Local farmers' markets, the Pennyslvania Dutch Market in Cockeysville and ethnic supermarkets throughout the area can have great prices on produce, meats and baked goods.

With patience and planning, you'll have your grocery bill down in no time.