Smart ways to save on your grocery bill - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Smart ways to save on your grocery bill

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Data forecasts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture predict that beef and veal prices are expected to increase three to four percent over prices from 2013.

Why? Mother Nature appears to be to blame. Many ranchers blame the drought, saying no green grass means it's hard to feed the cows.

That shortage of grass also means farmers are buying more corn for feed which is why corn prices are also up.

The USDA predicts if the drought in California continues, prices of other vegetables, fruit, dairy and eggs could also rise because we get a lot of what we eat from that part of the country.

However, later this year prices are expected to get back to normal. Until that happens, there are ways to save.

We found ways you can save up to 50 percent without a lot of stress.

First, money management experts suggest meal planning to eliminate impulse shopping and also wasteful items. Consider this: experts estimate most families throw away 15 percent of the food they buy and that's a lot of money. They also suggest planning a night to dedicate to the use of leftovers.

Next, with that planning, buy the fruits and vegetables that are in season. You still eat healthy and save on the out-of-season items that will cost more. For instance, in February and early March, shoppers will find broccoli and carrots at a better price than tomatoes and peppers.

Many also suggest buying in bulk, but not everything. Top items: meat to freeze and toiletries to stock. You can also save by purchasing generic items: many of the ingredients from household goods to grocery items are nearly identical.

For coupon lovers, you can also save big bucks to get started. First, pick a source like the Sunday paper or your favorite store's site. Then, get organized. You can do that with simply a binder or a system to separate different sections of the store.

Only clip coupons for what you need. Don't just throw away more money because you have a coupon in hand.

For more advanced coupon clippers, when you know what you're after, google that item, and type in the name of the product or store and then the words 'printable coupon'.

You can also make sure you know store policies.

Finally, sometimes bulk is good but with coupons buying less can save you more. For instance, a dollar off on something at the smallest size allowed by the product will stretch farther.

If no size is specified you might actually get that product free! With coupons it can happen according to some store policies.

Many coupon apps are also popular. Some feature a certain store's ads and cashiers can scan the coupon or type in a code.

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