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You can save money on your food bill by planning before you go to the store.  Planning includes keeping in mind your family's needs. The basic needs to remember are:

  • What does my family like?

  • How many of us will be eating?

  • What do the kids or older people need?

  • Is it too hard to make?

  • How much money do I have for food?

  • Will we be eating away from home, so that I should buy less food?

  • Will friends and relatives come over for meals?

Another important part of food shopping is planning the menus for your family meals. Here are some tips to follow when planning a menu:

  • Your family needs

  • Good nutritious foods

  • Variety of foods keeping in mind texture, color, flavor, and temperature

  • Consider wise use of leftovers.

  • Weekly specials and seasonal food, such as fruits and vegetables.

Using a shopping list saves you time. It helps you control your spending. It also helps you remember all the items you need. Here are some helpful hints for making a shopping list:

  • Keep paper and pencil in the kitchen. You can write down things you need when you think of them.

  • Check your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator as you make your list.

  • Organize the list the same way the grocery store sections are laid out. You will save time and avoid forgetting items when you shop.

  • Look at the newspaper and ads for sales and coupons.

Here are some other helpful tips to get you through the grocery store without going broke:

  • Eat before shopping for food. Hungry people tend to buy more food than they planned on.

  • Know the current prices of the foods you buy most often.

  • Read food labels to learn about: contents, nutrition, quantity, number of servings, steps to prepare, serving and storage tips, and other useful facts.

  • Buy the amount of food that fits your family's needs and your storage space.

  • Buy larger sizes of items that won't spoil. It may be cheaper.

  • Buy the quality and size of food that fits how you will use it.

Compare your costs seven different ways.

  • Prices of different brands.

  • Cost of frozen, canned, fresh, and dried items of the same food.

  • Number of servings in each food package.

  • Prices at different stores.

  • Prices of similar foods, such as fresh peaches and pears.

  • Larger packages and two smaller ones of the same product to get the better value.

  • The cost of convenience foods vs. the cost of making it from scratch.

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