- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It’s all about cutting expenses these days, and the grocery bill is no exception. Wouldn’t you say yes to cutting your family’s food bill by more than a $1,000 a year?

Thought so.

The latest issue of Washington Consumers’ Checkbook has some ideas for you, as it compares area grocery store prices and finds huge differences.

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The luckiest among us - in this respect - live in the outer suburbs, such as Gaithersburg, and have access to Bottom Dollar Food, where prices are about 17 percent lower than the average prices at Giant and Safeway.

For a family that spends $150 per week at the supermarket, a 17 percent price difference means about $1,300 in savings over the course of a year, according to Washington Consumers’ Checkbook.

Price differences between Safeway and Giant, the area’s two biggest chains, are small.

If you can’t make it to the outer ‘burbs, try these tips for saving on the food bill: Plan meals, make a list and stick to it, shop specials, go online for coupons (for example www.smartsource.com), try store brands instead of national brands, and plan your menus and purchases by the calendar. (For example, eat citrus in the winter and tomatoes in the summer.)

- Gabriella Boston

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