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Store coupons are not the only way to save money when food shopping. The following are tips from the May, 2009 Consumer Reports.
1. SLOTTING FEES. Manufacturers often pay stores extra to get products placed prominently. Check for lower pricing of similar items above and below the prime eye level area.
2. EYE END CAPS. Do not assume that products on aisle ends are on sale. Such placement can boost sales of soon-to-expire items without lowering prices. Also watch for product where one item is discounted and the other is not.
3. COMPARE UNIT PRICES. Best way to determine lowest price.
4. CONSIDER ORGANICS. For foods that harbor pesticides, like: strawberries, peaches, bell peppers, organics are healthier. Meats and dairy could also be worthwhile but not seafood as there are no standards in place.
5. WEIGH THE COST OF CONVENIENCE. For example, compare the price of a bag of shredded cheese versus doing it yourself
6. BAGGED PRODUCE. If the product has a long shelf life it is usually a better buy.
7. AVOID CHECK-OUT TEMPTATIONS. These items are invariably over priced and often can be found for less elsewhere in the store.
8. GO DEEP TO GET THE LONGEST SHELF LIFE. Burrow to the rear of the shelf, refrigerator, or freezer.
9. READ SUPERMARKET FLIERS OR CIRCULARS CAREFULLY. Manufacturers pay for ad placement, do not assume featured products are on sale.
10. WATCH FOR SNEAKY SIGNS. Promoting “five” items for a sale price does not mean you must buy all “five” to get the discount.
11. CHECK LOCATIONS. Different locations can offer different prices for the same item.
12. CHECK OUT THE BAKERY. Store-made goods are often less expensive than the commercial alternatives.
13. CHECK THE RECEIPT. Even scanners can make errors. In this event many stores will give you the item for free but you have to point out the error.