Sunday, March 29, 2009

Save Money on Groceries

Your grocery bill with these money-saving tips.
1. We won't ask you to set aside your Saturday nights for coupon clipping, but most major supermarket chains will list their weekly sales online, so log on before you do your food shopping. Tweak your menu and shopping list according to what's on sale, or compare the sales at a few different stores, if you have more than one nearby to choose from.

2. Ordering takeout? If you're ordering from a major chain like Domino's, look up promo and coupon codes. Sites likes retailmenot.comeven sort coupon codes by their success rate, as reported by customers on the site.

3. Replace meat with an extra serving of greens to save some green — go vegetarian for a few meals every week. Stock up on your favorite veggies, and experiment with different recipes and seasonings.

4. A slow cooker can be the most useful kitchen tool for those short on money and time. Throw in ingredients in the morning, and by the time you come home for dinner, you'll have meals ready to eat plus extra portions to freeze for those days when you don't feel like cooking and can't afford to eat out.

5. Trim your waistline while you pad your wallet — order an appetizer as your main course when you go out to eat. The portion will still likely be more than enough to satisfy, and once you get in the habit, the calories and cash you'll save will really add up.

6. For meals you have every day, like your breakfast yogurt and granola or favorite sandwich for lunch, don't buy prepackaged meals. Make it yourself. Nutrition expert and registered dietitian Sharon Richter suggests making sure you buy foods that are in season — they're less expensive and taste better.

7. Sign up for a credit card with rewards points and use the card for monthly expenses that you've budgeted for and are confident you can pay off in full, like groceries and restaurant meals.

8. Sign up for your grocery store's savings card. In some stores, discount prices and sales are only offered to cardholders, so don't lose out — sign up for a savings card and you could be saving a lot of money each time you shop.

9. Buy in bulk — but choose carefully so you don't end up throwing away money. Sales are a great time to stock up on basics like pasta and cereal, but reign in the impulse to buy 10 cartons of yogurt just because they're buy-one-get-one-free.

10. Save cash and change up your routine by going out for lunch instead of dinner once in a while. Lunch-special prices are cheaper than dinner prices, so meet up with your guy for a midday catch-up, or call your friends for a late lunch on the weekend instead of meeting for dinner.

11. Big on baking? Things like chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and even spices all go on sale around the holidays, so stock up then on these expensive items.

Save Money on Your Energy Bill..

1. As long as plugs are inserted into an outlet, they're drawing electricity--unplug your phone and laptop chargers when you're not using them.

2. Everyday appliances such as computers, game consoles, plasma televisions and DVD/VCR players burn up energy—about 40-percent of your total bill—even when you're not using them. Instead of leaving them on standby or sleep mode, turn them off.

3.Attach appliances and battery chargers to a power strip, and get in the habit of unplugging or switching it off when you leave the house for the day.

4. We won't ask you to take cold showers, but you can wash your clothes in cold water, which expends about half as much energy as hot rinses. To save even more, make sure to clean out the lint tray before starting the dryer.

5. Showers account for most of a household's hot-water use. Cutting showers from 30 minutes to 10 could slash water-heating costs by 50-percent.

6. Lower your thermostat to 58 degrees if you’re away from home for a chunk of the day. You use much less energy to heat the house up when you return than to keep it heated while you’re away.

7. Keep your refrigerator full. It'll operate more efficiently.

8. You still need to wash your dishes, but now you have a great reason to stop hand-washing and invest in a dishwasher. According to Consumer Reports, just pre-rinsing your dirty dishes uses roughly 20 gallons of heated water a day. Just scrape the food off and drop them in the washer.

9. Alliance to Save Energy claims a one-degree thermostat reduction can save 3 percent on your heating bill.

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