It's getting tougher to make ends meet these days, and ABC7 On Your Side is a campaign to help you save money. Watch Eyewitness News for money-saving tips and freebies to help stretch your dollar.
A supermarket flier can be a good starting point for bargains, but Tod Marks from Consumer Reports says you have to know how to spot the sale items.
"Supermarket fliers are powerful selling tools. The items featured prominently on the front page are almost always on sale, but you've got to be really careful about the prices of goods on the interior pages," explains Marks. "That's because manufacturers sometimes simply pay for the privilege of advertising, and there's no sale price involved."
Here's how to navigate to save -- don't assume items at the end of aisles are always on sale. They're put there to get shoppers to buy more of them. And while single-serving packages are usually more expensive, keep in mind that buying bigger quantities isn't always cheaper.
"In fact, a study showed that 25 percent of the time, the smaller size actually cost less. Let's take this example of tuna fish. The larger size cost $5.50 a pound, but the smaller size actually cost only $4.25 a pound," said Marks.
And depending on where you find an item, it can cost more or less. For example, cheese at the deli counter might be pricier than cheese in the dairy case one week, then less expensive the next.
"You'll almost always pay more for convenience," said Marks.
For example, a chunk of watermelon costs 99 cents a pound compared to the cut-up variety, which cost $2.99 a pound.
You can use preferred shopper store cards in order to get discounts automatically with no coupons needed.
With the cost of food going up and up and up, a little extra effort could take your food dollars a lot further.
If you like to get your coupons online, make sure you double check with your grocery store that they accept those coupons, as there have been problems with fraudulent ones. And make sure to read the printing instructions carefully, because if you do it wrong, the online coupons won't save you a thing.
For more information on online coupons:
A Web site where you can select and print grocery store coupons.
Get free coupons and deals at CoolSavngs.