Heli J. Roy | 5/22/2008 6:39:52 PM
Now that food costs more and fuel prices are higher than ever, cost-cutting strategies are important to households across most income levels. LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Heli Roy offers ways to save money when heading to the grocery store.
“One of the most important things to do is to take a look at store circulars that are sent to homes weekly,” Roy says. She explains that the store circulars have their sale items listed and, if you plan your weekly menus based on what is on sale, you can save money. Use the sale items in planning menus and, if possible, prepare a large quantity of food that can be frozen for future use.
Roy also recommends buying food in quantity when possible. Many times stores place limits on the quantity that you can buy on sale, but you still can maximize your benefit by getting the amount allowed.
“Sometimes you have to buy a large quantity to take advantage of a sale, but if you don’t have enough storage space, recruit some family members or neighbors to share in the purchase,” Roy suggests.
Fresh produce is usually cheaper at fruit and vegetable stands and at farmers markets. Seasonal fresh produce at farmers markets is the best deal.
“But be aware of many of the specialty items. They can be pricey,” Roy cautions.
The nutritionist says to look for sales to buy items in quantity for canning or freezing. Buy only what you can use, however, because if you buy in excess and you have to throw some food away, you have wasted money.
If nonfood items are on your shopping list, such as shampoo, napkins and the like, think about going to a discount or dollar store instead of the market. You can get better deals there for paper goods and household cleaners. Dollar stores also carry seasonal items for general household use at much lower price than department stores.
For additional information on stretching food dollars, contact an LSU AgCenter Extension family and consumer science agent, or visit the food and health section on the LSU AgCenter Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com.