Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Experts Offer Tips on Resisting Siren Call of Supermarket Prices

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Experts Offer Tips on Resisting Siren Call of Supermarket Prices

Article excerpt

TEMPTATIONS BECKON from every corner. Soft music and enticing aromas fill the air. Before you know it, you've done it again - spent more than you should have and gotten less than you should have.

Sound like your favorite department store? Wrong. The scene - acted out at least once a week for millions of Americans - is your supermarket, where more than 10,000 items compete for your food dollars.

Many shoppers practice tried-and-true methods to cut back on spending, like clipping coupons and using a list. (Nearly half of all the consumers in a recent Food Marketing Institute survey say they use coupons.)

But the best route to saving money may be the simplest:s Buy what's in season and follow the USDA's Food Guide pyramid, which emphasizes complex carbohydrates like grains and beans (read: cheap).

Stop serving "big hunks of meat at every meal," says Pat Edwards, author of "Cheap Eating: How to Feed Your Family Well and Spend Less" (Upper Access Books. $9.95). "Even a lifelong habit of sirloins can be broken if the alternatives taste good. Eat more rice and pasta and potatoes."

"Buy food in its `original' form and you'll save money," says Amy Dacyczyn, author of "The Tightwad Gazette" (Villard Books. $9.99) and the monthly newsletter of the same name. Adds this mother of six: "I'm not convinced coupons save you money. People who use coupons tend to stress what they are saving, not what they're spending, and they buy more convenience foods because these are what coupons are issued for. You'd be better off changing your diet and eating meals made from scratch."

Finally, be flexible when you shop, advises Melanie Barnard, co-author of "Cheap Eats" (HarperPerennial. $9.95). "We've all been told to go to the store with a list. But the biggest mistake people make - and this sounds like an old adage, but it's true - is not to wing it at all. If your list says asparagus, and that's expensive, you have to be flexible enough to switch to another vegetable."

Resisting the siren call of the supermarket can be tough, especially for time-pressed shoppers who tend to rely heavily on convenience foods. But you don't have to be a slave to the kitchen to shrink your weekly food tab. …

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