5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

How much food do you throw out over a year's time? Prepare to be shocked: It is probably worth well over $1,000.

Fully 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. For the typical family of four, that means an estimated average of between $1,350 to $2,275 worth of food is wasted every year.

Saving money on groceries can be critical to your family's budget. Cellfire, a provider of online coupons, offers five ways to do just that.

1. Plan meals and snacks ahead.
By planning meals ahead, you can purchase only the items you need, saving money and giving you time to take advantage of sales and coupons. There are many meal planner mobile phone applications and online options that can help, or you can just use a calendar and make lists the old-fashioned way. Bonus: By planning your dinners for a full week, you'll save time, too. No more wandering the grocery store aisles after work wondering what you should cook that night.

2. Buy in-season produce.
In-season fruits and vegetables are plentiful and close to stores, making them much less expensive than other times of the year. This is why you find deals on asparagus in the spring and berries in the summer.

3. Take advantage of digital coupons.
No time to clip coupons from the newspaper? Digital coupon clipping eliminates the physical cutting of coupons and lets you "clip" the coupons in a mobile application or on a website.

4. Use what you buy
Every time you throw away food, you throw away money, too. Make sure to check expiration dates when you buy food and get the latest date possible so you have longer to use the food. Freeze what you can before it loses its freshness. Meat can last in the freezer for months. Fresh fruits can be frozen for smoothies later on. Be creative with leftovers.

5. Buy in bulk but only when it makes sense.
Buying in bulk can help--or hurt--your budget. Buying non-perishable staples like toilet paper or plastic bags can save money, as long as you have a good place to store these items. Buying perishable items in bulk that go unused, wastes food and your grocery budget.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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