Keep grocery bills down as the kids head back to school

Save this week and into the school year

CLEVELAND - Now that your kids are heading back to school that means you'll be heading to the grocery store buying all kinds of things for their appetites. Here are some ways to take a bite out of the food bills when classes start again.

Vickie Dick, and her two sons Joshua and Brandon, from North Ridgeville were looking for back-to-school food at their local Giant Eagle. "My kids are junk food eaters so I try very hard to stay away from that," said Vickie.

Well, there's good news for moms just like Vickie. "There are so many back to school deals," said Rachel Krych who runs the money-saving blog .

Don't ignore organics, like the baby carrots at Giant Eagle. "These end up being $1.79 and (the organic version is) only $1.50. So, in this instance you can get organic carrots for cheaper than just the regular," said Krych.

Another On Your Side tip to save: Instead of buying pre-packaged items, buy bigger bags and do it yourself.  "You take these (carrots) home and put them in a small little snack-sized Ziplocks, which hopefully you get on sale. And as a time saver, make a whole bunch of them for the whole week and you can just throw them into the lunches," suggested Krych.

Speaking of bags, Krych told us to look for the bagged bananas at Giant Eagle that are only a buck. You can pack them right away, or here's another idea. “(Maybe they’re) just a little too ripe for your liking; you can still take them home and freeze them and make banana bread which makes a perfect back to school breakfast," said Krych.

When you find lunch staples on sale, buy a bunch of them. And this week Giant Eagle, buy four Jiff jars of peanut butter and get one free, all for 10 bucks. You can even mix and match that with Smuckers jelly up to the big 32 ounce jars.

And don't forget your coupons! Some up to 99 cents will be doubled, like for lunch-friendly Go-Gurts already on sale. "There's a coupon on for 50 cents off one box of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle specific brand ones. And that means you can get a whole (8 count) box for 50 cents," she explained.

Do your research. Krych blogs all the time about finding deals at grocery stores. "The sale prices...I type them all up and match them all up with the coupons available that week whether they're printables or they're in inserts," said Krych.

For Vickie, that's music to her back to school ears. "Coupons definitely help," laughed Vickie.

Finally, find the "price lock" deals where items are not just on sale for that week but for an extended period of time.

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