Lower Your Shopping Bill in 5 Steps

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Step 1: Plan ahead for meals at home.
Americans toss out 40 percent of their food, which means nearly half of your food budget might be going to waste. Cut back on these losses by writing up a shopping list based on what you're realistically able to eat at home. Pining for roast chicken? Then cut taco night from this week's menu — and all its perishable ingredients from your shopping list — and save it for next week.

Step 2: Eat less meat.
Perishables like chicken, meat and seafood typically cost more than vegetables, so lighten up your meals for both your health and wallet by eating vegetarian a few nights a week.

Step 3: Shop for what's in season.
Prices for out-of-season produce tend to be steep, in addition to out-of-season produce tasting less flavorful than its in-season counterparts. Stick to seasonal produce for the best deals for your wallet.

Step 4: Buy in bulk.
Households with room for storage should capitalize on deals made available for bulk purchases of nonperishables like cereal, paper products or canned goods. For perishable items, be honest with yourself: Will your household finish four cartons of milk by the time the sell-by date passes? If not, skip the bulk buy to avoid trashing wasted groceries.

Step 5: Stick to a list.
Impulse shopping is the nemesis of budgets everywhere, so mind your list and stay focused to avoid any budget traps. If resisting isn't in the cards, place all items not on your shopping list in a separate section of your shopping cart and revisit the items just before checkout — set a limit for what you can purchase and return the remaining items to their shelves.

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This post originally appeared on Food Network: Lower Your Shopping Bill in 5 Steps.

Image Credit: Food Network

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