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Cutting food costs is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help you meet your financial goals. Whether you’re feeding a family or only responsible for yourself, look for ways to cut food costs and use the money you save to help you pay down debt or pad your emergency savings account.

The following tips will help you save money on your food bill – even if you only practice a few of them.     Supermarket-Spending-Traps

Plan a Menu & Shop with a List

These two activities go hand in hand when it comes to saving money on groceries. Take some time every week to plan a basic menu, then review the contents of your pantry and freezer to see what you already have on hand. Create a shopping list based on the missing items and any staples you need like milk, eggs and bread. At the store, focus only on your list and pass up the impulse buys.

Stack Your Savings

Are you taking advantage of all the ways you can save on groceries? Start by signing up for store loyalty programs that offer everyday price breaks. Add to that manufacturer’s coupons, register coupons and on-package coupons to save even more. Be sure to follow the stores you go to most often on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the loop on all promotions and savings opportunities.

Do It Yourself

Packaged and convenience foods are almost always more expensive than buying in bulk. If you can’t live without the grab-n-go convenience of single-serve items, make them yourself! Things like baby carrots, yogurt, cereal and crackers are all easy to portion out into individual servings that take just a few minutes to put together. The time it takes is well worth the money you’ll save.

Adjust Your Diet

Another easy way to slash your food bill is to eat less meat. Try adopting “Meatless Mondays” to get your family used to the idea of eating differently. There are loads of recipes and resources available online to help you make the transition. And because it’s just one day a week, it’s much more likely to become a lasting lifestyle change. When you see the savings add up over time, you’ll want to stick to it.

Find a Farmer’s Market

Now that you’re eating more fruits and vegetables, it’s worth it to look for a farmer’s market or co-op that sells a greater variety of produce for less than regular grocery stores. You’ll beat boredom and burn-out by sampling a wider selection. Plus, you’ll be supporting the local economy and farmers from your own community.

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