Finding new, different ways to save on groceries

With coupon values decreasing, “In Good Cents” author, Beth Montgomery, said more consumers are trying out generic products, which in turn, is possibly pushing manufacturers to change course.

“I’m being told that the coupon values are going to start going back up again, so hopefully we’ll be able to save more money again,” Montgomery said.

Her information is according to the “Coupon Information Center”, which also indicates, in the wake of extreme couponing, the practice of “double couponing” being allowed could eventually fade away forever.

So, it is time to find new ways to save.

Montgomery said the big sales of the year are really logical. For example, there are always sales before the big grilling holidays.

“That is a great time to get deals on hot dogs and chips and soda. Around Thanksgiving, the baking items are going to drop in price,” Montgomery said.

Even if you’re not having a big holiday meal, it is worth it to brave the stores to get the sale prices.

As far as produce goes, if you commit to buying what is in season, you’ll always save, said The Produce Mom, Lori Taylor.

“The farmers and the retailers are able to sell that product at a cheaper cost and of course the savings is passed along to the consumer,” Taylor said.

She suggests you let the lowest prices dictate your menu.

“If you’re going to approach the produce department by saying ‘you know what, I’m going to always buy fresh fruits and vegetables and I’m going to always buy what’s on sale’, you will expose yourself and your family to a great variety,” Taylor said.

Also, sometimes fresh isn’t always the least expensive option.

“In my own home, we are eating canned, fresh, frozen, dried, 100 percent juice,” Taylor said.

To really discover the best prices on your family’s staple products, commit to tracking what you pay for them for six months, then time your shopping based on what you learn.

“You can see a trend. The price usually goes down and then back up and you’ll know. Every three weeks my cereal is going to be on sale and I should go buy it,” Montgomery said.

She also suggests trying discount stores like Aldi.

“It has some great deals and they really have great quality food,” Montgomery said.

Also, only stock up on what you’ll actually eat. Never buy just because the price is low.

“There is nothing more frustrating than having your produce rot and throwing it away and thinking, that was $5 and it just went in the trash or the compost or down the disposal,” Taylor said.

Finally, since many companies have decreased the sizes of their products, keep a list of “unit” prices you pay.

“Instead of looking at the overall size and the overall package price, figure out how much you’re paying per unit and set a goal for that,” Montgomery said.

If the unit price is too high, don’t buy it.

For more information on “The Produce Mom,” visit TheProduceMom.com.

Read Beth Montgomery’s blog here.

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