WASHINGTON - Food shopping can eat more of the budget than some people realize, but there are sneaky ways to save.
The weight of fluffy heads of lettuce can vary greatly, for example. When produce is priced by item, compare the weight.
A list of money-saving grocery strategies from Washington Consumers' CHECKBOOK includes buying whole roasts, instead of more expensive steaks and chops. Most butchers don't mind cutting up roasts for free.
Adventurous cooks save money learning new recipes that use cheaper cuts of meat and or focus predominantly on vegetables.
To get the best price on fruit and vegetables compare the prices of fresh, frozen and canned options and realize those prices can vary depending what's in season.
Some other ideas:
- Try using a smart phone grocery app;
- Look for about to expire manager markdowns;
- Shop on Wednesday looking for just announced deals;
- Shop on a full stomach;
- Stock up on sale items;
- Be more diligent about eating leftovers;
- Use sale advertisements to plan weekly meals;
- Stick to a shopping list for planned weekly meals to cut down on impulse purchases.
Tests by Consumer Reports show store brand products can taste as good or better than more expensive national brands.
The largest grocery store chains in the region, Safeway and Giant, tend to be more expensive than other chains, according to Washington Consumers' CHECKBOOK. People who don't live near less expensive grocery stores should consider swinging by them to periodically to stock up on staples.
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