79
      Saturday
      85 / 63
      Sunday
      89 / 65
      Monday
      89 / 67

      Meal planning tips that will cut your next grocery bill in half

      Money saving tactics include buying in bulk and freezing what you don't use right away.

      To find the savings in the supermarket shop in season, but that doesn't mean just picking up strawberries in Spring.

      Lauren Greutman, savings expert and blogger for Iamthatlady.com, says often times you'll find the best deals three months before the items are in season.

      "So right now, think of June. What are we going to be using in June? Cookout items, soda, soft drinks, crystal light, drink mixes, chips, hotdogs, all those kind of things are going on sale now," says Greutman.

      That strategy isn't limited to food. You see the same pattern with the paper plates, which are essential for your summer barbeque and the stain removers you need to clean up afterwards.

      "People's kids are out playing baseball, they're playing outside more, getting grass stains so companies know that so they put these on sale more frequently," says Greutman, referring to stain remover specials.

      Some of the best steak deals are on Memorial Day and since meat will last three months after the "sell by" date, you can buy it in bulk, freeze it, and it will last you the entire summer. It's a trick you can use with more than just meat.

      "You're always paying for convenience at a grocery store. You're always paying for things packaged a certain way, for things cut up. Cut your own and package your own and you'll save a ton of money," says Greutman.

      Whether you have a big family or you're living alone, buying in bulk and freezing what you don't use right away is the most cost effective way to shop. For instance, to get your cheese cheap, buy a couple big blocks, shred it up yourself and freeze what you don't use.

      You also have to be smarter than the store. Sometimes the yellow signs at Wegmans red flag coupons and sales, while other times, they're just alerting you to a new item. Also, don't fall for the center displays.

      "Some people think end caps are a great place to save, but usually it's just a product placement so people see oh s ' mores, that's a good idea I'm gong to get them," says Greutman.

      Stopping by to get a sample isn't just an opportunity to curb your appetite while shopping or advertise a product. It's also an opportunity to save money. Usually people don't realize coupons are sitting right next to the sample.

      However, i f you're not a coupon cutter, the store brand is usually your cheapest bet.

      "Wegmans is a place where you won't go wrong getting the store brand. Some stores you have to try it out, but I love the Wegmans brand," says Greutman.

      To summarize, you can save a lot of money on your next grocery bill if you come ready with a list, stock up on sale items, and avoid pre-packaged, pre-chopped, and prepared foods.