smart spending

5 simple ways to save money in 5 minutes

Create a grocery store spending chart
Create a grocery store spending chart © viviamo/Shutterstock.com

Create a grocery store spending chart

Create a chart of 10 items that you buy at least once per month at the grocery store -- whether it's crackers, laundry detergent or cat litter. On Sunday, when the newspaper arrives, check out the sales flier for at least two grocery stores and look for those items on sale. You'll find patterns to pricing changes and you'll learn how to recognize a real sale, says Carrie Rocha, who blogs at Pocket Your Dollars.

"Armed with this knowledge, you can change up your shopping habits to buy enough of the items you need to get through to the next sale," she says.

Next step: Before you go to the store, take five minutes to put reusable shopping bags in your car to take advantage of bring-your-own-bag deals at grocery stores, Ingram says. Of course, "This is only worth it if you shop at a store that gives you a bag credit for bringing your own," Ingram says, such as Target, Stop and Shop or SuperFresh.

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