groceries

Most shoppers have heard the advice to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, buying fresh produce, dairy, and meat items to form the basis of your menus. But even if you shop the canned and frozen food aisles, you can come away with sizable bargains if you follow a few guidelines.

Online consumer resource MoneyTalks News offers 12 money-saving strategies:

Make a list – You will save more if you make a list and stick to it. Plan menus according to what's on sale, and if it isn't on your list, don't buy it.

Eat before you shop – Grocery shopping on a full stomach makes you less susceptible to
impulse buying.

Shop alone – You will spend less if you don't have to listen to requests from your kids or your spouse.

Look high and look low – Retailers often shelve the most profitable items at eye level. Look for bargains on canned and packaged foods on high and low shelves.

Grab the generics – Store brands are always cheaper than name-brands, and are often just about as good.

Use coupons wisely – A generic product may cost less than a name-brand product even with a coupon.

Check the ethnic aisles – Some spices, beans, rice, and canned goods may be cheaper in the ethnic section than in other parts of the store.

Skip single-serving foods – Cheese sticks and small bags of chips or cookies make lunch-packing easier. Buy bigger sizes and repackage them.

Make meat the side dish – Plan soups, stews, casseroles and stir-fried entrees – even the
occasional omelet. You can use less meat and appease appetites with nutritious
carbs and veggies.

Make the most of your freezer – Buy meats and bakery items on sale near their sell-by date and freeze them for future use. You can freeze ripe berries in a single layer, then bag them. You can even freeze butter and milk and use it later for baking.

Buy fresh ingredients in season – Fruits and veggies in season are cheaper. Use them as you plan your meals.

Salvage foods about to go bad – At least once a week, scan your fridge and pantry for foods close to going bad. Turn stale bread into crumbs or French toast, extra milk into a pudding, overripe fruit into cobblers or muffins, wilting veggies into soup or stew.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.