Keep your food bills in check by picking up tips to spend less on the everyday essentials.

Cut bread bills.

Look for buy-one-get-one-free deals on bakery items at your grocery store. Freeze loaves that you won't use right away; they should keep for up to a year.

Freeze it.

Buy milk and butter when they’re on sale, then put them on ice. Milk can be frozen for up to three months safely; butter lasts for six to nine months.

Stop at the convenient shop.

Gas stores often sell items like milk and soda super-cheap to entice shoppers to buy more than just gas. Drug stores also often have sales on milk.

Grab a dozen―or two.

Eggs can last up to three weeks. If your family eats a lot of them, go ahead and buy a bunch when you see them on sale.

Stock up on cereal.

Most cereal manufacturers offer coupons and run promotions in September and October to coincide with back-to-school. Unopened cereal lasts for months in your pantry (check expiration dates on each box).

Banish brand loyalty.

Instead of throwing away coupons for unfamiliar brands, give them a try to save some money. Store brands are often cheaper and you might find that the peanut butter tastes the same as a higher-priced version.

Save on meat.

Hit the store the morning after a holiday to get big savings (for example, the day after Thanksgiving, turkeys will be on sale). Get to know the butcher at your grocery store and ask him what days he typically puts the “quick sale” items out (the discounted meats that are nearing their expiration date).

Use powdered milk.

“I keep a box of powdered milk on hand," says Julie Corbet, 47 of St. Joseph, Mo. "When needed, I mix a packet and use it for recipes, sauces and gravy. There is no difference in the texture or taste. I keep the more expensive store-bought milk for drinking. If I don’t need it all, I pour it in with my store-bought milk to stretch it a little further. Don’t tell my son―he doesn’t know that secret!”

Shop with neighbors.

“My neighbors and I buy rice, sugar, flour and butter in bulk and split the items and the cost," says Viki Nazarian, 34, of Northridge, Calif. "We also grow items in our gardens and then share our crops with one another. I grow corn, mint, squash, tangerines and watermelon and my neighbors grow raspberries, strawberries, lettuce and spinach.”

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