BOSTON (CBS) – Groceries are not a discretionary item in your budget. We all have to buy food. But you do have some flexibility as to how and where you spend your grocery money.

According to the Natural Resources Council, an average family of four spends about $1,500 a year on food they don’t eat. We shop for the groceries, we bring them home and we put them away but we don’t use them for a variety of reasons. Too tired to cook, you eat out, etc.

But with some pre-planning and some discipline (yes you need to eat up the leftovers in the frig) you may be able to pay much less for your groceries.

What do you buy every week? Make a list. Wal-Mart and Target are good places to shop for those staples. And both stores sell fresh produce. They have the cheapest prices I have found for raspberries and blackberries.

Create a weekly shopping list. What is your family going to eat this week? What are you going to cook? Do review the weekly grocery flyers. They have sales to get you in the door so you will do all of your shopping in one place.

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 only what you know your family will eat.

Do you find yourself singing along to the music in the grocery store? 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 goodies displayed so nicely to entice you. That roasted chicken is usually a loss leader and a good deal.

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! Trust me on this one. We have a bag of Cheetos in our pantry.


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.


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