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(Columbia) November 17, 2005 - Savvy shoppers can save a lot of money at the grocery store. Katie Paxton, our newsroom assistant, went to a local Publix with Troubleshooter Judi Gatson to test out some shopping wisdom.
The first stop on their trip was the produce aisle. Katie grabbed a bag of pre-cut broccoli, Judi snagged a fresh bunch, "$2.49 for a bag of lettuce."
The price difference was already beginning to show.
Part of Judi's game plan was to use a savings strategy from a website called thegrocerygame.com . Here's how it works: you sign up online and check the site each week to see what's on sale, they also tell you which sale items have coupons in the paper so you can maximize your savings.
Take Pillsbury cookie dough. The regular price is $3.09 each, thegrocerygame.com site says it's on sale at two for $4, and there's a coupon for 50 cents off, so the final price, $1.50 each, is a 51% discount.
Judi used some other coupons to cash in on the grocery game and get discounts on Betty Crocker cake mix and frosting, even dog food. If you think buying in bulk always save you money, you need to start checking the price per unit on the label.
"For example," explains Troubleshooter Judi Gatson , "this big box of Tide is 9.34 cents an ounce, the smaller box, just 9.18 cents an ounce. We also buy milk and eggs. Katie grabs name brands, but I go for the store brands, they can save you up to 40% and lots of the big companies actually make the store brand products."
You also need to avoid those impulse buys.
When the shopping spree is done, Katie's bill ended up at a total of $49.67. With the smart shopper tips, Judi's total is just $41.64! (View the receipts) Judi and Katie only bought 14 items, so an eight dollar savings is pretty good.
There is a nominal fee to sign up for thegrocerygame.com . It is about eight dollars a quarter.