Ideas to cutting down your grocery bill

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PHOENIX - Grocery shopping can really drain your wallet if you don't plan ahead so to cut down on your food bill, consumer advocates say try going meatless. 

Meat is one of the priciest things you can buy. Cutting out one meat meal a week, experts say, can save hundreds of dollars a year.

Stocking up on the basics is another recommendation. Rice, beans and pasta not only last longer but they are likely to be sold in bulk.

Try doing your own preparation work also. In other words, buy block cheese and shred it yourself at home. It's a lot cheaper than buying packaged cheese that is already shredded.

Also, try shopping ahead. This means if you find a product you normally use on sale, grab it. That's because many items that go on sale won't be on sale again for another two to three months. This isn't true on all grocery items like soda for example, but it is true on other products.

Keep your coupons and try to use them when the item is actually on sale.  This way you get more “bang for your buck.”

Try store brands. You may not know, but some store labels are made by big name brands but under a different packaging.

Finally, don't assume a bigger package or bottle is better. You need to check "unit pricing" next to the price. It should say something like 8 cents an ounce or something like that so compare the unit pricing and you'll make sure you're getting the most for you money.