Creative ways to save on groceries

We asked readers for their most creative, real-world ways to save on groceries. Here's what fits the bill.

I hire a babysitter when I go shopping. I come home with a lot less junk food and impulse buys, and saving on the bill totally offsets the cost of the sitter.
-Jennifer Parsons, Winfield, WI

I take out one or two groceries from my cart right before checkout and put them back. I'm often about to buy things I don't need.
-Paulette Schreiner, Eugene, OR

I have a soup swap with my sisters-in-law: We take turns making a huge pot of soup and share between families. We get a lot of variety that way, and it doesn't take much more money or effort to make a bigger batch.
-Julie Banken, Puyallup, WA

I've been a butcher for over 20 years. Mom-and-pop butcher shops will often pack up 10-pound combo packages of cuts they're trying to move-say, a small roast, a few chops and some stew meat.
-Norman Nipper, Saint Clair, MI

I found my money-saving secret in the ethnic foods aisle. Many spices and canned goods stocked elsewhere in the store are available from alternate brands at cheaper prices.
-Beth Lollis, Belton, SC

I have three boys who love cold cereal, which often runs close to $5 a box. So I've made this one shopping rule: Each box can't cost more than $1.50. This takes a lot of creativity and coupons, but it's made a huge impact on the bill.
-Dionne Spaw, Golden, CO

Instead of going out and buying steaks for a barbecue, I use what I already have in the freezer. On a recent weekend, hot links, chicken and some pre-marinated beef skewers made a fun mixed grill. All I had to buy were hot dog buns!
-Sara Hart, West Sacramento, CA

My family lives close by, so my mother and I shop together and split the bill. This works beautifully for a small household.
-Rebecca Powell, Charlotte, NC

Each week I have "leftovers night," when I serve a combination dinner-a pork chop, some pasta, half a steak and a chicken breast-with some fresh vegetables. It's like being at a prepaid buffet!
-Donna Pope, Portsmouth, VA

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