1. Trim your food bill by as much as 19 percent simply by shopping at

a couple of different stores.

2.Don't "crisis cook." Shopping after work for the day's dinner gets

expensive. Plan a weekly menu before shopping and watch your grocery

bill shrink.

3. Don't waste money on prepared foods. Instead, prepare meals ahead

of time and freeze them, or double a recipe when cooking, and freeze

the second for a hectic day coming up.

4. Take the farmer's market approach: Buy produce that's fresh,

inexpensive and in season. With less middlemen involved, you get good

buys and your family gets the freshest food.

5. The highest markup items on the shelves are at about chest level.

Reach up or kneel down to select the cheaper house or generic brands.

6. A grocery store's main aisles, like the paths to milk and bread,

are usually strewn with high-priced land mines. Avoiding those pricey

areas will really help.

7.Try to shop when you're alone. Those little helpers can quickly

boost your bill.

8.Shop early in the day. You get through the store faster with your

list and spend less.

9.Avoid shopping for food when you're hungry; you'll buy more.

10. Don't grocery shop when you're tired, you'll buy more sweets, more

high-carbohydrates. When you're angry you go for crunch food, the junk


11. Buy on the markdowns and save as much as 20 percent.

12. Read your newspaper's weekly food section for local grocery sales

and menu ideas.

13. Clip coupons. You'll also find coupons in women's and

general-interest magazines.

14. Scout coupon swap-boxes, generally found at (surprise!)

supermarkets, but also at some public libraries.

15. Take advantage of in-store coupon displays and the machines that

spew them.

16. Log on to your supermarket's online home page for coupons.

17.Call the toll-free numbers on your favorite products' labels and

tell the customer-service rep how much you enjoy them. Some reps will

offer cents-off (or even free) coupons for the product itself; if not,


18. Nab a newsie. Does your newspaper vendor just dump the inserts in

unsold papers at the end of the day? If so, would he mind tossing a

few your way?

19. Check out the wealth of national-brands coupon-offering services

on the Web. They can save you money -- even the ones that charge

nominal fees.

20.Seek out supermarkets that will double -- some super stores even

triple -- the face value of manufacturers' coupons.

21. Try for triple plays. That's when you use a manufacturer's coupon

and a store's own coupon.

22. Some retailers guarantee that if the item doesn't ring up at the

correct price, you get it for free or at a discount. Pay attention to

the details.

23. Avoid purchasing nongrocery items, such as painkillers, contact

lens solution, etc., at a grocery store. You usually pay more.

24. Always get a rain check if a sale item is gone.

25.Know when your store marks down goods that expire, like meat and

bread. The deal: Use them that night or freeze them.

26.Check your store for a small section where they discount products

that aren't as popular as the manufacturer had hoped. This area can be

a gold mine for bargains.

27. Shop with a calculator. That way, you can figure whether the unit

price for a case lot is really cheaper than buying one of the same item.

28.Request price matching. Find a store in your area that will honor

all competitors' ads. You'll save money, time and gas.

29. Beware of "discount store syndrome." Just because you're in a

bargain store doesn't mean you're getting the best price on every item.

30. Check your receipts. No matter how careful you or the store staff

might be, mistakes happen.

31. Always send in for the rebate on a purchase whether it's $2 or

$50. It all adds up.

32. Put your savings to work. Whether it's a trip, a car or a savings

account, have some specific goals for the money you're not spending on