Restaurant Savings: 11 Ways to Dine Out and Save

Dine out on a budget

Dine out on a budget

While shopping at the supermarket and cooking at home is the best way to keep your food costs low, we all know there are times when we just want (or need) to dine out, whether it’s at a fast food joint or a nice restaurant. Saving money while dining out can be a real challenge, but it is possible. Here are some easy ways to save: Continue reading

Supermarket Savings: 10 Do’s and Don’ts to Save Money on Groceries

Do's and don'ts to save money on groceries

Follow these do’s and don’ts for more savings

While good planning, and following that plan, is the key to saving money on groceries, there are still things you can do to limit your spending while you’re shopping at the store. Whether it’s avoiding the influence of the supermarket as they try to coax you into spending more, or simply asking for what you want, here are 10 do’s and don’ts to save while grocery shopping:

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Supermarket Savings: Your Grocery Budget – How to Make it and Stick to it

Grocery budget chart

Setting a budget goal for food will help you save money

Do you have a monthly grocery budget that’s working for you? Too many people head to the supermarket, start shopping and know that they are finished when their cart is “full”. Without a workable budget to guide your shopping, you’re probably spending more than you need every month with much of it going to waste.

Unfortunately, for lots of people the idea of budgeting is either scary (will I need to know spreadsheets?) or restrictive (I just want to buy what I want). It doesn’t have to be either one. A grocery budget is simply a goal to help you plan for what’s really important. You can treat it like a game where the object is to see how little you can spend while still providing nourishing and tasty meals and snacks for your family and the prize is putting that extra money toward another goal. Continue reading

Supermarket Savings: How to Buy Fresh Seafood

Fresh fish and seafood

Know when to buy fresh seafood and what to look for

A lot of people suggest buying from the local fish market, but you can get fresh seafood at the supermarket more conveniently and for less. We all know that eating fish is a part of healthy diet. It’s easy to prepare and readily available at your local supermarket. But it’s important to know what to look to get the best taste and insure your money is well spent.  How should it smell? Should it be shiny or matte? What should you look for if the fish is already wrapped and not on ice? Because it can be confusing, almost half of all Americans seldom eat fish at home! Here are my tips for buying fresh:

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Supermarket Savings: Should You Shop the Dollar Stores?

Dollar stores

Do dollar stores really offer a good price?

My mom always told me to steer clear of the dollar stores, and that was back when there weren’t many of them and they were not really a player in the grocery business. Wow, has that changed in the 21st century! In the past several years alone, the number of shoppers in these stores has grown by 500%. Dollar stores have added plenty of food items from milk to eggs, cereals to brand-named package goods, and the chains have grown to be household names in every neighborhood.

More shoppers mean manufacturers are now selling directly to dollar stores, including companies like General Mills and trendy start-up companies like Hampton Creek. They’re even becoming suppliers to the stores’ own “private label” (store brand) products. Continue reading

Supermarket Savings: Tips for Healthy Choices on a Budget

Healthy choices: salad with chicken

Planning healthy meals in advance makes your shopping easier

Shopping for healthy choices can be a real challenge. The supermarket’s goal is to get you to spend more and the selections of glamour packaging and promotion often makes finding healthy choices difficult on a budget. Factor in your time and energy to inspect labels and contents and you will see that it can lead to “easy” choices which may be poor ones. In the long run, it costs more money if your health is impacted and your spending on medical care increases.

A few months ago, my wife and I began making changes to our diet to improve our health without making a dent in our budget. Buying fewer processed foods, more whole grains, leaner proteins and more fresh produce has helped us to lose weight and feel better. Do you have the right ingredients for a healthy diet on a healthy budget? Continue reading

Supermarket Savings: The Art of Buying Fruit in Season

Basket of fruit in season: peaches, strawberries and grapes

Buying fruit in season saves money and provides better quality

Buying fruit in season, even more so than vegetables, allows you to save money based on the increased supply as well as obtain better taste. The selection of fruit in the supermarket has changed over the past few years and in most cases this has lead to a better variety, selection and freshness factor. The fruit is available from places around the world and now caters to the diverse nature of our population featuring items that weren’t available locally just a short time ago. Local produce is featured in season at your supermarket, and that insures top freshness and lower prices if you take advantage. Here are some hints that can save you money and make your fruit selections top notch.

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Supermarket Savings: Buying Vegetables in Season

Tomatoes, Zucchini, Onions

Buy vegetables in season for the best value and taste

Selecting the right produce is a challenging shopping endeavor that can mean great value and health for you and your family. Buying your fruits and vegetables in season is an important way to save money, eliminate waste, and obtain the best flavor. The keys are knowing when are the best times to buy a particular item and what qualities to look for.

In this day and age, most fruits and vegetables are available all year long now that produce is available from various parts of the world. However, there are peak seasons that insure the best quality and value. Here are a few tips that can insure your satisfaction:

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Supermarket Savings: Are Shop at Home Services Right for You?

Ordering groceries online

Order groceries right from your computer

A new phenomenon has swept the country in the past few years and continues to grow and grow. The ability to “shop at home” (SAH), to order your groceries online or through mobile apps, has been an incredible time saver and in some cases a cost saver as well. It’s generally the same prices you pay at the store, including all of the weekly sale and special pricing (although some stores have different pricing, it may even be more advantageous depending on which items you buy). You still use your savings/loyalty card to obtain the best deals, and you can use all applicable coupons as well to maximize your savings. Of course there is a service charge, but even those charges can be a savings in terms of your busy time, energy and convenience. Imagine being able to order your groceries while at work on a lunch break, and then picking them up on the way home saving time, money, and even gasoline!
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Supermarket Savings: Price of a Half Gallon of Ice Cream?

Ice cream

How much does your ice cream really cost?

About 24 months ago, the first manufacturers began to reduce the size of a half gallon of ice cream from its historical 64 oz. package to just 56 oz., without reducing the price, and barely anyone even noticed it! With retail pricing being kept at the same level, it didn’t seem like much of a hardship for anyone to have to pay for less ice cream, and manufacturers saw this opportunity to fight cost overruns and maintain or even increase their profit margin. This minor change in size can actually produce an additional 12.5% profit (and expense for you and your family). The prices of some brands and packages have continued to climb, and many are now selling their “half gallons” as 48 or even 45 oz. packages. Another loss for consumers of 11-14% from even the 56 oz. shrinkage.

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