Essential ingredients are placed at opposite ends of the store so you must pass through the inner aisles to reach the dairy products at one end and produce at the other

Grocery stores are strategically designed to tempt the shopper into spending more money. Try to avoid some of the pitfalls by following these tips:

Essential ingredients are placed at opposite ends of the store so you must pass through the inner aisles to reach the dairy products at one end and produce at the other. Try to focus on what you need and don’t spend unnecessary time in the central aisles.

Don’t shun coupons. You can save serious cash if you are willing to spend a little time and effort to accumulate coupons for items you routinely buy. Watch the store’s ads to magnify the benefit of coupons. Staying current with sales will save you money. Be aware, however, that coupons are most likely to give you a break on brand-name products when there may be cheaper alternatives. Don’t buy something you don’t need because there is a coupon.

Toiletries generally are cheaper at a pharmacy than in the grocery store. Stock up with an occasional trip to the pharmacy.

Don’t become addicted to brand names. Often, a generic or house brand is of comparable quality and costs less. Often, they are the same product under a different label. Check the ingredients to be certain you are not sacrificing anything.

Remember that the eye-level shelves are likely to contain the more expensive items. Grocery store managers know that what the shopper sees at eye-level is most likely to catch their attention. Look up or down before buying the first version you see.

If an item you have seen that is currently discounted, but you can’t find it one the shelves, don’t hesitate to ask for a rain check. Some stores offer the option of getting an extension on sold-out sale items.

Don’t go to the grocery store hungry. You’ve heard it before. After work or before dinner is the worst time to go. If it’s possible, shop on weekends.

Eat with the seasons. Not only will fresh products taste better, they’ll be mulch more reasonable priced. If you opt for fruits and veggies that are out of season, you pay for the transportation costs that get them to your store.

Twila Van Leer

Journalist/writer for more than 50 years. Pulitzer Prize nominee, 1983 for coverage of the first permanent artificial heart. More than 50 national, regional, local awards for news writing. Main writer for a memorial book for Deseret News' 150 th anniversary and for a book recounting the 1997 re-enactment of the pioneer trek from Omaha to Salt Lake City. Co-writer and editor of "True Valor," a book on the history of the artificial heart. Author of the book, Life Is Just A Bowl Of Kumquats, a wonderful story of a house wife and her trials with raising a large family.

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