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Save Unexpectedly on Your Groceries

Save Unexpectedly on Your Groceries

USA Today

November 11, 2009

Tricky ‘promotions’

Beware the placement of products that may make them appear to be on sale — such as those at the end of an aisle on so-called end caps. Just like the items in grocery store newspaper circulars, they aren’t always on sale, reminds Marks. So don’t fall for big — or small — signs that look like they’re promoting a markdown when it’s just the usual price in a more prime location.

“A lot of times, it’s just the flash and panache of signage,” Marks says.

Homegrown foods

Nearly 20% more people report they’re planting fruit or veggie gardens this year over 2008, the National Gardening Association says. Some were no doubt encouraged by first lady Michelle Obama’s new White House garden, which she reported cost little to plant.

But Marks warns, “You’ll never save money growing your own vegetables.” Maintaining a vegetable garden that could truly sustain a family is a time-consuming and often costly task, when all the weeding, watering and fertilizer are considered. He recommends them for families looking to supplement what they get at the grocery store, perhaps with better-tasting tomatoes when they’re in season.

Cooking at home is typically less expensive than eating out, says Leslie Sarasin, CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, but there are other reasons to lean that way.

“Consumers believe the food they eat at home is healthier and better for them,” Sarasin says. “Kids in families that eat together also tend to perform better at school and use alcohol and drugs less. So there are some side benefits along with reducing the grocery bill.”

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