Chicago Bankruptcy Attorneys Tips for Saving Money on Grocery Shopping

Do you ever get the feeling that you're eating up your paycheck faster than you can spend it? You're not just imagining things, according to Chicago bankruptcy attorneys.

Prices of grocery items like bread, milk and meat are rising faster than most salaries. The average American family of four spends about $600 a month on groceries -- or about $7200 annually. If you make $40,000, it's like you're devouring one-fifth of your paycheck - probably closer to one-quarter if you count all those restaurant meals.

Food obviously isn't something you can cut out of your budget, but that doesn't mean you can't save money on groceries. The kind of food you buy, when you buy it and where you buy it can potentially save you thousands of dollars a year and even improve your health, which could in turn lower your medical bills.

Think of foods you can either cut back on or switch with cheaper alternatives. Can you forgo meat more often? Substituting a protein source like beans a couple nights a week can save big bucks, not to mention lower your cholesterol and calorie intake. How about brand names? Many goods are made from exactly the same ingredients and process, no matter whose name is on the label. Switch to store brands whenever you can to save a few dollars every shopping trip. One more tip: Avoid any food in the end-of-aisle displays. Stores don't set up foods in pretty pyramids so they look good, they do it encourage impulse buys. Write out a grocery list, take it with you when you shop and stick to it.

Advocates of local, organic foods are always talking about eating seasonally, but you don't have to buy into their food dogma to appreciate its benefits. Tomatoes that are expensive in winter are a bargain come summer, while the oranges that are a luxury in June can be dirt cheap in December. Try picking out your produce based on when it's in season - and affordable. Now, unless you live somewhere like California or Mexico, there might not be much selection of fresh produce in grocery stores during certain times - i.e. the dead of winter. But you can still save by buying in bulk at stores like Costco, where out-of-season fruits and veggies are typically cheaper. Many fruits you don't use up can be frozen. Even easier, buy already frozen (or canned) produce.

Lastly, try shopping at discount stores - for instance, Costco or Wal-Mart Supercenters. But also seek out local small farmers. Often times, you can save money by shopping for produce at farmers' markets - or buying directly from farm stands - since you're not paying for transportation of food to the grocery store.

Since food is such a big part of our budgets, a few changes can go a long way. But if you're already on a bare-bones diet, it might be time to get some extra help. No one should have to starve to pay the bills - or choose food over the mortgage. Bankruptcy can be one of the most effective - and affordable - ways out of debt. Find out for yourself with a free personal debt analysis courtesy of a Chicago bankruptcy attorney from DebtStoppers.

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