• Look for true sales. Many grocery "sales" are more marketing oriented than bargain oriented. But, if you pay attention, you can find good deals -- especially on perishable products like produce and expiration-dated meats. One note on this: Don't be obsessive. Driving from one store to another to save 10 cents on a sale item doesn't make good financial sense.

• Find a bakery outlet in your area. Outlets that sell "day-old" bread products can save big money.

• Clip coupons like mad. One of the true remaining bargains in the world of marketing is the coupon. Manufacturers like them, retailers like them -- and, you should like them, too. Look for stores that give double value coupon deals.

• Go in with a list. Then, once inside, stick to your budget. If you don't start with a plan you plan to fail.

• Read labels carefully. Bigger isn't always cheaper. The per-ounce cost may be less on the smaller size. Check it out!

• Remember, that prepared foods usually cost more. After all, part of the reason you're doing all of this may be to help you stay home with the kids -- right? Why not use some of that time in the kitchen with the kids teaching them how to prepare meals from scratch?

• You might consider starting a buying co-op with some of your friends. Go to discount stores that sell large quantity units at reduced prices. Then divide between the co-op members and pocket the savings.

• Go easy at the deli and bakery counters. These are high profit centers in many grocery stores. Usually, pre-packed luncheon meats in the meat counter in the back of the store are cheaper.

• Don't assume that retail "warehouse" stores are always the best place to buy. Personally, I love the big warehouse stores. They have everything -- and, usually they have free samples, too! But beware! When you go into a big store you tend to buy more. Also, my experience has been that the big warehouse operations tend to feature name brands that often cost more than their generic counterparts. For instance, last week Bonnie and I went to a warehouse store to buy canned soft drinks for a party we were having at our home. We found cases of name brand soft drinks substantially less than they might have cost in a regular grocery store. But they were still $1.00-$1.50 more per case than the generic brand sodas available elsewhere.

• Watch every item as it goes through the checkout to be sure that it rings the correct price. Hint: Sometimes I mark the prices on the products as I pick them up at the shelves to help me remember.

Steve Diggs presents the No Debt No Sweat! Christian Money Management Seminar at churches and other venues nationwide. Visit Steve on the Web at www.stevediggs.com or call 615-834-3063. The author of several books, today Steve serves as a minister for the Antioch Church of Christ in Nashville. For 25 years he was President of the Franklin Group, Inc. Steve and Bonnie have four children whom they have home schooled. The family lives in Brentwood, Tennessee.

A complete financial compendium, 19 chapters
• What you can do today to get out of debt and kill the Debt Monster
• A,B,C's of handling your money God's way
• How to save, invest, and retire wisely
• How mutual funds work
• How to stop fighting over money
• What to teach your kids about money
• Learn how home & car buying, college financing and insurance work.
• How to develop a budget that works --
• Features simple charts, graphs, and easy-to-use forms.

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