To save on groceries, start with a plan

Swapping meat for legumes or eggs cuts meal costs

From milk to bread to hamburger meat, the prices we’re paying for groceries keep creeping up. It’s a trend that’s expected to continue in the next few months.

But, taking time to plan and budget can help manage the family food dollars.

Stephany Domingos said savings starts with having a plan.

“Meal planning definitely helps me save money because I’m being conscious about what I’m eating and what I’m going to be purchasing, so I do not over-buy,” she said.

There are some other tried and proven ways to save, too. Consumer Reports said a well-thought-out list can help prevent impulse buys.

They suggest replacing some meats with dried beans, peas and lentils, which are far cheaper than animal proteins and they’re packed with nutrients.

“Beans are a source of fiber, a nutrient most adult Americans don’t get enough of,” said Amy Keating, Consumer Reports’ nutritionist. “Getting protein from beans rather than red or processed meat can protect against certain cancers and other chronic diseases.”

Even though the price of eggs has risen, they are still another protein option that costs less than meat. And, they don’t have to be just for breakfast.

Buying generic or store brands can cost 20-25% less than name-brand versions.

And, don’t forget to check the unit prices. The fine print tells you the price per ounce or per pound. Sometimes buying the bigger package can mean significant savings over the long term.

Store loyalty programs can mean offers for coupons and specials. And some cards and programs give you gas rewards.

Make use of your freezer. A family of four can save about $2,000 a year by freezing large quantities of foods when they are on sale and then building meals around them.

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About the Author

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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