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"We go out, we buy everything convenient, but just take a few extra minutes at home and you cannot believe how much money you can save doing that," said nutritionist Patricia Greenberg.
Nutritionist and homemaker Patricia Greenberg says the more preparation that's done, the more you pay. Like triple-washed bagged lettuce.
"For example, the bagged, cleaned spinach cost $1.93 more than buying a fresh head," said Greenberg. "It's just a few more minutes to rinse it off, cut the stems, and spin it."
When it comes to cheese, you can save quite a bit by buying block cheese and shredding it yourself. Buying it pre-shredded, you'll pay about $1.19 per serving, versus just 74 cents if you buy a brick and do the work.
"Listen, a quarter here, a dollar there -- it really adds up," said Greenberg.
And whether it comes from a packet or a large tub, it only takes a minute or two to microwave either, but check out the price difference.
"Forty-nine cents for a packet, 12 cents if you just buy the tub and take out a half a cup," said Greenberg.
Then there's the single-serving scenario: You'll pay twice as much per serving if you buy applesauce in a cup versus that in a jar. Twenty-seven cents versus 54 cents. And if you put your own tuna kit together with tuna, crackers and mayo, you'll spend just 68 cents, not $2.19.
This one is a no-brainer. A big tub of yogurt offers six 6-oz. servings at 37 cents each. Yet a single 6-oz. container sells for 80 cents -- for the exact same amount.
Pre-sweetened iced teas can cost a dollar or more each, but make your own tea and add a little sugar, you'll have a healthier version for about 25 cents a glass.
And pasta box dinners cost anywhere from 80 cents to $1.19 per person, yet it takes the same amount of time to boil pasta if you buy a box of dried pasta that offers eight servings, not two or four. Combine with oil and vinegar dressing, you'll still pay less than 50 cents per serving.
"Just take an extra couple of minutes using all these pre-portioned containers. It's good for the environment and it's good for your wallet. So try to do just a little bit more at home," said Greenberg.
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. Click here for more money-saving tips from ABC7 On Your Side