When you shop wisely, you'll save money.  When you save wisely, you'll be left with a surplus you can share with others.  Good financial management will bless you and other people continuously if you make it a habit.


Here are some ways you can shop wisely:


* Resist impulse buying in the grocery store.  Eat before you go shopping so you won't be hungry.  Remember that grocers place the most expensive items on the middle shelves; look for bargains on the upper and lower shelves.  Make a list of specific items to buy, and stick to it.  Leave your checkbook and debit and credit cards at home; shop with cash instead.  Try not to go to the grocery store more than once per week.


* Determine if the price is right on the items you're considering purchasing.  Take a calculator along with you to help compare prices.  Check how much you'll save off the regular price by buying something on sale or with a coupon.  Compare items to similar products of larger or smaller size, paying attention to the unit price of each product.  Don't assume that buying in bulk will automatically yield the best bargains.  Look for overstocked and discontinued items.  Buy produce in season whenever possible.


* Locate lots of coupons to use.  Look in places like Sunday newspaper inserts, the Internet, product packages, and magazines.  Get on store and manufacturer mailing lists.


* Clip just about every coupon you see.  If you can't use a particular coupon, you can swap it with a friend for one you do plan to use, give it away, or use to obtain a free item that you can give to someone in need.


* Be flexible about the types of brand name products your family will use.  Figure out how much money your family spends on average each month, and compare that figure to the average per capita cost of food at home for a U.S. family of your family's same size (go to www.usda.gov for current figures).  Using that information, compute a projected savings plan for groceries.


* Enlist help from each member of the family to clip and organize coupons.  Highlight each coupon's expiration date.  File the coupons in alphabetical order (not by categories) in a sturdy coupon box for quick reference.  When filing in alphabetical order, use the name that's most prominently displayed on the coupon.  Pull expired coupons every month.


* After each shopping trip, calculate how much money you've saved.  Then write a check into your savings account for that exact amount immediately.