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Buy frozen! 6 ways to save at the supermarket

Everyone loves to save money, and since the average American goes grocery shopping a little more than twice a week, there is no better place to start looking for those extra dollars. Phil Lempert offers tips to turn your shopping trip into a windfall.
/ Source: TODAY

Everyone loves to save money, and since the average American goes grocery shopping a little more than twice a week, there is no better place to start looking for those extra dollars.

You already know that you should have a list prepared before you head to the store (those shoppers save an estimated 25 percent on their shopping bill by eliminating impulse purchases) and bring those coupons (which now have an average face value of almost a dollar), but what you may not know is that WHERE in the store you shop may also make a difference.

Today every retailer seems to be selling groceries, and why not? We buy foodstuffs more often than any other category of goods, and so there is the likelihood of our visiting a particular store more often. And when we are there … if the merchandising is doing its job, we will buy more items than we planned to, and that leads to extra profits for the store. As a result, there is a battle going on between warehouse clubs, supercenters, drug chains and our traditional supermarkets to entice us to their stores and to purchase our groceries at their check stand.

So here are a few tips that can turn your next shopping trip into a windfall!

Frozen produce vs. fresh When produce like berries (blueberries and strawberries) are out of season, you can save a lot of money going to the frozen foods case. For example, when blueberries are out of season, they are flown in from thousands of miles away and picked before they are ripe to not get blemished while traveling; on top of that they can cost $5 for just a half a pint. To get better taste, nutrition and value, try the berries in the frozen foods case. They can cost you less than half the price of fresh. This also holds true for veggies such as broccoli, green beans, edamame, corn, etc.

Frozen fish vs. seafood counter The fish in the frozen aisle is cheaper than the ones that “seem” to be fresh on the seafood counter, and most of the time is better in taste and texture for you. If you read the labeling carefully at the seafood counter, most of the time it says "previously frozen shrimp" or whatever it may be. The seafood counter seafood is frozen more than once on the way to the counter as opposed to the frozen packaged fish, which has only been frozen once.

Dairy case cheese vs. cheese table Natural cheeses are regulated by federal law, no matter what brand you buy. So whether it’s from the dairy case or from the fancy cheese table, it's pretty much the same exact Cheddar. It's just the packaging you are paying for.

Pasta sauce vs. canned tomatoes Any brand of high-quality pasta sauce is about $7-plus and has sugars or high fructose corn syrup, tomato paste and water in its ingredients. If you buy canned tomatoes (namely Hunt's, because they are grown and packed in California instead of other places with safety issues), you're buying cheaper, fresher tomatoes that actually taste better and are 100 percent tomatoes. The downfall here is that you'll have to blend your own flavoring in to make your sauce; but for me, that is a good thing.

Canned pasta vs. fresh pasta With canned Chef Boyardee ravioli, you think you're getting preservatives and things that are bad for you. Not really ... most of the canned foods like Chef Boyardee are now prepared with real foods and ingredients and have healthy options. Compare the canned goods to fresh refrigerated pasta and sauce; you'll be saving a lot of money and won’t have to worry about an expiration date.

Organic milk vs. store brand Most store brands, as you know, are a whole lot cheaper than name brands. But remember that something specific like Oreo cookies won't taste the same if you buy a store brand because of secret recipes. However, most main staples in the kitchen, like milk, butter, eggs, sugar and flour, are identical. Most store brand milk today is BST (bovine somatotropin, or bovine growth hormone)-free, so you can easily save 20 percent by switching from the organic milk brand to the store brand.

For more money saving tips, visit Phil’s Web site .