NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — You’ve no doubt noticed that you're paying a lot more at the grocery store these days. But what can you do about it?
Prices are higher on just about everything. But there are ways to save money when you go to the supermarket.
"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 overbuy," said Stephany Domingos.
Domingos is focused on making healthy meals for her family. As prices at her local supermarket climb, she's found that planning every meal in advance pays off.
Stretching your dollar at the supermarket is worth the effort. Some approaches to saving will also lead you to eat healthier.
Let’s start in the store. A well-thought-out list will help keep you from impulse buys.
Try replacing some of the meat in your diet. Dried beans, peas and lentils are far cheaper than animal proteins, and they’re packed with nutrients. Legumes are a great base for dips, bowls or salads, hearty stews and veggie burgers.
"Beans are a source of fiber, a nutrient most adult Americans don’t get enough of. And getting protein from beans, rather than red or processed meat can protect against certain cancers, and other chronic diseases," said Amy Keating, a Consumer Reports nutritionist.
Eggs are another nutritious and still relatively inexpensive staple. Use them in breakfast burritos, lunchtime omelets or a savory dinner pancake, and benefit from their vitamin and protein powder.
"Consumer Reports has found that store brands are often comparable in taste and nutrition to name brands," Keating said.
Store-brand foods and beverages can cost 20 to 25% less than name brands of a similar product.
If you don’t already check unit prices, try it. It’s the "per ounce" or "per pound" number next to the full price.
A store loyalty card not only gives you easy access to coupons and specials. Safeway, Stop & Shop, Giant and others let you earn gas rewards, and Amazon Prime members get special discounts at Whole Foods.
Don't forget about your freezer. You can save money with it too. In fact, a family of four can save about $2,000 a year by freezing foods that you find on sale or in-season, and then building meals around those foods.