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Seven ways to save money on your groceries

Coupons only get you so far. TODAY consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman has some tips for the savvy supermarket shopper.
/ Source: Weekend Today

I think I live at the supermarket. Running back and forth several times a week for items I forgot or have run low on.

I see the coupons in the Sunday circulars and newspapers and then forget to cut them out. Or if I am ambitious enough to cut them out, I leave them at home. There has to be a better way to get the most out of my grocery buck!

After doing some research, I was amazed to find out how easy, organized and sensible saving money at the supermarket can be. So here are some of my tips:

1. Plan ahead
Surveys say 40 percent of our purchases at the grocery are impulse buys. That’s a lot of wasted money on products you probably don’t need. So write a list and stick to it.

2. LoginHere’s something you probably didn’t know. You can get a jump-start on your supermarket’s upcoming sales by logging onto their websites. They post their circulars a week in advance.  Jot down a few items you can stock up on the following week.

3. Club card
Use it, it’s free and it’s fun to see how much you saved at the bottom of your receipt. If you forget your card, ask the cashier to use hers. Also bonus points can add up and get you a free turkey around thanksgiving or dollars off on your next purchase.

4. Coupon saving websitesHate to sit on a Sunday and clip newspapers? Let these services do it for you. For a nominal fee (maybe around $10 year) plus shipping and handling costs, these services will clip for you.  You log in and search by subject to see what manufacturer’s coupons they have in their database. You order them online and they are sent to you nicely clipped for your convenience.

5. Read signs carefullyThe supermarkets get your attention by saying something like 2 for $5. If you read the sign closely it may be that you can buy just one and get the sale price.

6. Store brandsOpt for the store brand if you are really not loyal to a specific manufacturer. They are usually the cheapest choice.

7. Double, triple couponsTry to find markets that will double or triple your coupons. You could end up getting the item for free!  I got pasta sauce for nothing.

It’s much more rewarding to shop when you are in charge. With a little planning and a few minutes on your computer, you can save tons at the market.

Here are two websites. Be sure to find out how much they charge annually and per order (which would include shipping and handling).

www.grocerycoupons.com

www.centsoff.com

Janice Lieberman is the “Today” show’s consumer correspondent. She joined NBC News as a consumer reporter in 1999. She is author of “Tricks of the Trade: A Consumer Survival Guide.” She is a graduate of Rutgers University.