Seven tips to save you money at the checkout counter

1. Shop alone if you can. You will easily see the effects of impulsive buying habits by watching a child.

2. Buy store brands. Quality and taste will vary, of course, so test products until you find the ones your family will welcome at mealtime.

3. Plan meals around grocery store promotions or sales. February is always Italian month and presents consumers with specials on pastas. Now is the time to try those recipes from the old country.

4. Calculate the cost of ingredients by price per serving, not price per pound. Grocery shelf tags commonly list cost per unit (e.g. ounces) for easy comparison.

5. Buy products in larger quantities when possible. If you have one nearby, shop at a Costco, Sam's Club or other wholesale store for frequently used items.

6. Print out online grocery coupons from ValuPage.

7. Save more money with these free offers