You have to eat. But you don't have to spend as much at the grocery store as you have been.

Food prices are on the rise. Groceries gobble up the largest part of a family's household budget.

Some people are spending as much as a mortgage payment. Take a few minutes and add up how much you are spending per month. You probably will be astonished.

Compare your results with the national average. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the typical American family of four spends $8,513 per year on groceries. That averages out to $709 per month.

Now let's go to work on lowering your spending. We start first with 3 big tips from a Sioux Falls, South Dakota store operator.

We visited with Brent Bosch of Sunshine Foods located at 530 South Second Avenue.

"Number one, buy store brand items over national brands. The big name brands spend a large amount on marketing and they offset their cost of that in the price of the product. You can save 10 to 25% in most cases. Maybe only a few cents on a can of corn, but look at an item like laundry detergent, it's huge. And you don't sacrifice quality. The store absolutely won't put their name on it if it's not as good as or even better than the national brand," said Bosch.

"Number two, eating healthy is not cheap. Leading the way are fruits and vegetables. When you buy these items locally when they are out of season, the price is way high due to transportation in getting them here from as far away as Central America. The right thing to do is purchase your fruits and vegetables at the store in season. Then freeze and or can the product for use thru out the year."

"Last, but not least, number three, always buy 'on sale' items. Follow those ads. Most always, if a store is doing a sale on an item, it's because they got a big break on it and they are passing it on to the consumer. It's not trick to get you in the store, instead it's a way for you to take advantage."

After visiting with Brent, we put together a few more tips to offer you. These may look like common sense things, but they are a sure fire way to lower your grocery costs.

  • Shop less frequently. The fewer times you're in the store, the less opportunity you'll have for impulse buying. This could end up saving you $1000 per year or more.
  • Make a list. No more wandering into the grocery store after work and walking up and down the aisles trying to figure out what to eat for dinner that night.
  • Compare prices on everything. Bagged apples may be cheaper than bulk apples. However, the largest size of a product may not always be the cheapest, especially if you buy more than you will use.

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