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5 ways to lower your grocery bill right now as costs continue rising

Staying home more means we're eating at home more -- and spending even more money at the grocery store.

CLEVELAND — The USDA predicts about a 3 percent increase in the price of groceries this year. Ugh. But there are some ways you can start saving money on your grocery bill now.

3News talked to the experts at mobile banking platform N26, who gave us five tips:

  1. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Eating produce that’s in-season not only tastes better, but also is much less expensive.
  2. Try store brand for your staples. Skipping mainstream products and choosing the store’s brand will save you money.
  3. Shop frequently. It may seem counter-intuitive, but regular visits to the supermarket can actually help reduce your expenses because you know that you’ll be back at the store in a few days. Also, plan your food cheat days. Simply plan ahead for days you order in or eat at a restaurant so that they don’t derail your budget.
  4. Pay attention to your grocery expenses. To trim your grocery budget, it helps to know how much money you’re spending on food in the first place. Use apps to automatically track your spending on various categories.
  5. Start small and go step-by-step. Budgeting for groceries can be challenging if you’ve never done it before, so it’s best to take it step-by-step. Choose one tip from the list above and try it out to see how things go. Once you’ve mastered it, try another one!

Amy Landino, best-selling author shopping guru, tells us it’s important to not only save your receipts, but actually go back and look at them.

“Look to see where you're spending your money. Where do you think maybe you spent a little bit too much and it was wasted. It's really interesting to look at a receipt a week or two weeks after you took that grocery trip and say, ‘OK, whatever happened to this? We never made that recipe that we said we were going to.’ Pay attention to those things.”

We also wanted to get her thoughts about shopping around and going to separate stores that might have a few items at a better price.

She says, it’s not just about saving money, but also about saving time.

“I think you need to look at the importance of the item,” says Landino. “Evaluate that cost. Because you buy it a lot or you eat a lot of it, is that going to outweigh the amount of time that you lose?”

Landino also pointed out that people may not want to shop around right now, because they're trying to limit their time out in public due of COVID-19.

We also wanted to know if she thinks warehouse stores that require a membership, like Costco, BJs Wholesale Club and Sam's Club are worth it. Landino says warehouse stores are great, when you know you use a lot of something.

“Try not to get too hung up on, let's buy a lot of things in bulk because you tend to overspend. I don't know about other people, but I end up having a storage issue,” she says. “I would really focus on the things you know for a fact you use up, no matter how long it takes.”

Amy Landino is the author of ‘Good Morning, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life’ and produces a YouTube show called ‘Amy TV.’