saving money on groceriesAccording to the USDA, the price of groceries will go up between 3 and 4 percent in 2013. The reason? A drought that drove up the cost of animal feed. For now, the increase will likely be limited to milk, eggs, and many meats. Fruits, veggies and processed foods are likely to remain unaffected.

Before you switch to a vegan lifestyle to beat the increase, try a few tips to lower your grocery bill first. Actually, theses are better than tips. They’re dirty little secrets. Rules of the road (or aisle). Guidelines you can’t ignore. In other words, just do them and you’ll save a whole lot of money.

AVOID TOILETRIES – No, I’m not suggesting you stop buying toiletries entirely, just stop buying them at the grocery store. In most cases, you’ll find better deals on toiletries at stores like CVS or Rite-Aid.

AVOID PREPARED FOODS – Sure, the deli’s potato salad is deee-lish, but it’s also expensive. Steer clear of these conveniences and make your own potato salad (and other prepared sides) from scratch for a fraction of the cost. And guess what? It’ll probably be just as deee-lish as the deli’s dish.

AVOID THE MIDDLE SHELVES – Grocery stores place the more expensive options at eye level, where we’re more likely to see them and grab them without thinking. Beat them at their own game by shopping for similar goods on the top and bottom shelves, where the deals are usually better.

AVOID PRE-CUT FOODS – Packaged cheese, pre-cut fruit, and bags of lettuce are convenient, no doubt about it, but they’re way more expensive than buying the cheese/fruit/lettuce and cutting it yourself.

AVOID BOTTLED WATER – You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Bottled water is waste of money. Okay, maybe it’s not a waste of money, but you can definitely save money by investing in a filtration system – either a container with a filter built in or a filter installed on your sink tap.

So there you have it, five ways to beat the rise in grocery costs in 2013. There are a lot more tips where these came from, so look for part two of this entry tomorrow!

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