BOSTON (CBS) – Three consecutive years of drought in California, the Southwest, and the Great Plains have caused grocery prices to increase.

Groceries are not a discretionary item in your budget though. We have to buy food but you do have some flexibility as to how and where you spend your grocery money.

And with some pre-planning and some discipline you may be able to get your groceries on the cheap. Going cheap doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. It means changing how you purchase those goods and services to keep the things that are important to you.

What do you buy every week? Make a list. Walmart and Target are good places to start for staples. Look for sales and stock up when you can.

Create a shopping list. What is your family going to eat this week? What are you going to cook?

Clip coupons. Most of us cannot duplicate the coupon divas that claim they feed their family for $10 a week. You never see coupons for blueberries or broccoli, usually its processed foods. Clip what you know your family will eat.

Do you find yourself singing along to the music? Grocery stores want you to be happy and not in a hurry so you will stay longer and spend more. The grocery carts have increased in size in hopes you will fill it.

Then there are the great smells that come your way. Roasted chicken near the front as you arrive and oh the bakery with samples to entice you.

The beautiful fresh produce again placed right where you will need to walk by to pick up that gallon of milk or loaf of bread in the back of the store. These are just a few of the ways the grocery stores try to keep you longer in their stores and spending more.

And before you set foot in a grocery store make sure you have eaten something. Shopping when we are hungry weakens our willpower!


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