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Posted: 10:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013

5 Ways You're Wasting Money on Food

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By Crystal Collins, Contributor

ClarkHoward.com


How many times have you unloaded the groceries at home and wondered how you spent so much on so little? You can address these 5 common problem areas to save big bucks.


1. Buying from the bakery. It gets you every time: The sights and smells are there at the front of the store to entice you to buy more. It's so easy to purchase that pack of cookies from the bakery, but it's impulses like that that can affect both your wallet and your waistline. 

2. Shopping without a list. If you're not making a list ahead of time based on the meals you plan to make and the items on sale at the store, chances are you're going to leave with at least an extra hundred dollars in groceries and still not know what to make for dinner tonight (is it just me or have we all done this?)

3. Avoiding the store brand. These days the store brands are usually just as good if not better than the big guys, and most store brands are significantly cheaper than buying the name brands.  However, keep in mind that if you do use coupons regularly, name brands can be significantly cheaper than store brands. In this case, it definitely pays to compare prices. 

4. Not checking the organic foods. Healthier doesn't necessarily mean more expensive these days. A lot of the time it can either be the same or even cheaper to buy the organic version of a product.  I recently found organic ketchup for the same price as the conventional name brand. Same price and it's healthier? Sign me up!

5. Not taking advantage of those store rewards cards. They're free and they give you the sale prices when you scan that rewards card. If you're not using it, you're sending a lot of money down the drain. However, these days I've noticed that a cashier will scan a card on your behalf if you don't have one. So you're probably thinking that you don't need it anyway, right? Wrong! If you have your home address linked to you're card, you will get special coupons mailed to your home. These coupons are usually based on items you normally buy, which makes this an easy way that you could be saving. Plus, Kroger chain stores allow you to save .10 per gallon on gasoline for every $100 you spend in the store. If you're not tracking your spending with that store card, you're missing out on a discount at the pump!

By changing up these five simple things, you'll be keeping more cash in your pocket when you head to the grocery store.

What are some of your tips for saving money at the grocery store?

Crystal Collins, a Savings.com DealPro, is an Atlanta local, adventurer, a health advocate and thrifty as can be. Check her out on her blog at  NaturalThrifty.com.

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