What's eating up your food budget?

- Food expenses eat up a large part of our budgets.  So, if you're trying to save money, well, it's one of the first places to start.

I know I have been going way over my food budget limit a lot lately. And I'm not sure why. Sloppiness? Rising food costs? A kid who eats more than she used to? I don't know but I want to save more money.

First, let's look at what the USDA says is a typical American food budget. Let's say you are a family of four with two kids ages 6 to 11. A conservative budget comes in at about $143 weekly. A more liberal budget goes up to $243. That's weekly. That takes some work.

Let's go shopping. Publix offers a lot of BOGO deals. And you don't have to buy two to get the deal. Just get one and it's half price. To cut back on meat costs, get the whole chicken and ask the store's butcher to cut it up for you while you shop.

Publix and Kroger offer their own brand name organic labels. Did you know that those items are often cheaper than non-organic big brand names? Yep. It's a great way to save money. Be sure you use the Kroger Plus card for extra deep deals. It's worth it.

Not familiar with Aldi yet? Get familiar. It's a small-scale warehouse store. No frills, but the deals are crazy. And much of their stock is organic, too. But, you bag your own groceries and it'll cost you a quarter to use the cart. Take change. People swear by their prices on staples like milk, eggs, cheese.

Now, if you don't have an Aldi near you, Walmart certainly is.  Not quite as inexpensive, but there's a much wider selection. And for those of you who haven't been to a Walmart in a while, they sell organic groceries, too.

Got a Sprout's near you? Go on a Wednesday. It's cross-over day on the weekly deals flier. The last day of the last weeks and the first day of the new week. Big opportunity for savings.

Now get the apps. I'm slow to do these and that's not very smart of me. Get your favorite store's app. The weekly mailer is on there. Just click on the coupons you're interested in and it will either download to your app or your card which is scanned at check out.

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