Beat the Rising Cost of Groceries

Smart Buying

Beat the Rising Cost of Groceries

Time your purchases and make the most of cyber coupons.

Maya guy, a stay-at-home mom from Stafford, Va., says the price of food these days is ridiculous. So Guy goes to great -- some might say extreme -- lengths in order to shave her grocery bill. But her efforts pay off: She recently left a grocery store with $250 worth of food for which she had paid just $100, thanks to strategic shopping. Guy chooses the cheapest store for items on her list (she favors Costco or Walmart's Supercenter for milk, for instance), buys items on sale, uses coupons -- and even shops early in the morning to snag meat on the sell-by date at 50% off.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting a 2% to 3% uptick in food prices this year, with some goods, such as pork and dairy products, expected to log gains on the order of 4% to 5%. Recent commodity spikes have already prompted grocers, food manufacturers and restaurants to hike prices.

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Plenty of bloggers and Web sites can clue you in on how to shop strategically. At, you'll find printable coupons, a list of grocery deals by state, an interactive database of newspaper-circular coupons, plus a tutorial on how to use coupons effectively. Check out for savings on meals out. Don't see coupons for your favorite products? Follow Guy's example: E-mail the manufacturer and ask for some.