News 11 Report: Saving money at the grocery store

Shopper Diane Miller says, "I do a little research before I go to the store. I don't use coupons but I definitely shop by ads....what's on sale."

Another shopper, Rob Armstrong says, "I use coupons. I read the ads in the paper on Sundays when they come out."

"I'm on disability," says Judy Coleman, "so one time a month iIm paid. So I have to stretch that out."

These days, it seems we're all trying to "stretch out" our food budgets. High gas prices are often passed on to products we see here at the grocery store. So how do we get the most out of our shopping trip?

The first way to save money at the grocery store is really very simple: don't go to the store on an empty stomach. That way, you won't be as inclined to make impulse buys because you're so hungry."

Judy gives the second tip, "I probably would plan my meals around what's on sale."  That's tip number two: plan your meals for a week, or two weeks if you can. Then, make a shopping list.

Store manager Diana Sample reminds you,"Stick to it. We have a lot of samples out trying to entice people to buy more. But if you're trying to save money, you need to avoid the impulse buys most stores have."

But sampling can actually help save you money too. Taste it to figure out if you like it before you pay for it. Then you don't end up throwing it away at home and wasting your money.

Tip number three: Don't pay for convenience.

"If you can make anything yourself you'll spend a lot less money than if you buy something already pre-packaged," Diana says.

Here's one great example: green beans cleaned and trimmed in a package are 4.99 a pound. Unpackaged beans are 99 cents a pound -- a $4 savings just for cleaning and trimming them yourself.

Tip four: Look for savings on bulk items. Some fruits, like oranges and apples, cost much less if you buy them by the bag. It's the same for potatoes and onions. Just make sure to plan them into your meals by the expiration date, so they don't go to waste.

Another big way to save is to buy your meat in bulk when it's on sale and freeze it.

Jeremy Witker of the House of Meats tells News 11, "We wrap everything in a 6-month freezer paper. No matter whether you're going home to freeze it or just throw it right on the grill, it's always ready to go in the freezer."

Tip five: You can save hundreds of dollars a year just by skipping the bottled water.

"Bottled water is a biggie these days because people don't realize that a lot of the water is just as good from the tap in the City of Toledo," Diana tells us. "So you can just put it in a bottle and recycle the bottle. You'll save a lot of money if you don't buy bottled water."

Here's a bonus tip -- experts say don't buy health-care products or paper products at the grocery store. In most cases, the discount stores like Target and Wal-Mart offer those same products at much cheaper prices.

Posted by LS