If you’re one of the millions of Americans who is either unemployed or underemployed, then reducing your grocery bill is just one way to stretch your already limited budget. While the thought of shaving money off your monthly grocery bill may sound like a daunting task, it is easier than you would imagine. Try one or all of these five tips and see how much money you can save.

1. Coupons

Coupons, coupons, coupons! For an extreme couponer, shopping is all about the coupons, but for everyday shoppers like you and I, coupons don’t have to take hours of prep work and they can really make a difference to the bottom line. Check out your Sunday paper for coupons but don’t forget to check your store’s shopping rewards program for digital coupons. Often times these coupons can be digitally loaded onto your rewards card. You can also go to your favorite brand’s website and print your own coupons and sign up for brand rewards programs. One example is the myStonyfield Rewards Program.

2. Buy in-season produce

If you’re craving strawberries and it is January, you are going to pay more for that crate of berries than you would during the summer when they are in season. Sure, it's strawberry season somewhere in the world in January ,but these goods are often shipped from abroad and come with a heftier price tag as well as a larger carbon footprint. Depending on the time of the year, you can also save money by buying your produce at a farmers market. In-season produce may even be less expensive at the local farmers market. You not only save money on produce but you also support your local farmers.

3. Meal planning

Everyone knows that going to the grocery store with a shopping list helps you stay on budget, but going to the store with a weekly meal plan can also help your bottom line. Pick a day to plan the coming week’s meals and create your shopping list from that. If you know that you’re making eggplant parmigiana on Tuesday and homemade soup on Thursday, then you can pick up all your ingredients when you go to the store on Monday morning. Meal planning not only helps guide your shopping but it also prevents needless extra trips to the store. That reduces your fuel bill and in turn reduces your monthly grocery-related costs.

4. Feed the freezer

What is feeding the freezer? It is simple, really — you just make extra of what you’re cooking and freeze it for later consumption. For example, if you find a great deal on vegetables for your Thursday night soup, just make extra and freeze it in single-serving packages. If you’re in a hurry but want to avoid the added cost of eating out, grab a container and reheat it — an inexpensive, healthy and homemade dinner in minutes. The same goes for fruit; buy a bunch of in-season fruit when it is on sale, freeze it and then you can use it later in smoothies or other fruit-filled dishes.

5. Plant a garden

I do not have a green thumb, but I have always wanted to plant a garden. Why? Fresh and inexpensive produce just a few feet away. I vividly remember walking out of my grandmother’s front door and picking fresh strawberries from an old wine barrel. This was on the way to her garden where I could pick fresh corn, tomatoes, carrots and more. Once you get your garden up and running, your homegrown produce will certainly be less expensive than even in-season produce at the local farmers market. To help get you started, check out Farmer D’s video: Edible garden installation.

If you’re a master at saving money at the grocery store, what are your favorite tips?

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5 tips for reducing your grocery bill
It is easier than you think to save money on your monthly grocery bill.