Shopping can be difficult in today’s tough economy. Whether shopping for necessities like clothes and food or shopping for leisure items such as video games or vacations, we are all striving to be financially responsible, as none of us know what the future has in store.

Food shopping may be the most difficult area in which to cut costs. No matter how bare the budget become, purchasing food will always be a necessity. There are however some tips and tricks to saving money while shopping for consumables.

Prior to beginning your food shopping, make a list of everything you need and vow to not stray from that list for any impulse buys or last minute cravings. If possible, make a menu for your household for an entire week or longer so that you know exactly which foods are necessary and which ones can stay on the supermarket shelf. This is particularly important for perishable items: one surefire shopping savings stopper is buying fresh produce or dairy items that go bad before they can be used. Though fresh foods are often the most healthy, you can get excellent nutrition and savings from purchasing frozen foods, and as long as you have adequate freezer space, the foods will keep for a very long time if need be. Canned goods are the best source for keeping items for long amounts of time, but be sure to read ingredient lists prior to purchasing as canned foods can contain very high amounts of sodium.

Consider shopping not just for items with a long shelf life, but also for items that have longevity inside the human body. Food stuffs that are high in sugar have a tendency to make the body feel hungrier, causing your family to eat more. Make sure that you include in your meals items that are high in both protein and fiber, and remember, you do not have to sacrifice nutrition for savings.

Coupons can be an excellent source for savings, but only if used wisely. The best method for clipping coupons is to make your list before you seek out the savings. Coupons can be destructive to the pocketbook as they may cause you to purchase items you normally wouldn’t; so while you are saving on that particular item, you are spending more than you originally intended. By only clipping coupons of the items that are already on your list, you guarantee yourself that you will not sabotage your shopping savings experience. Be vigilant at the supermarket as well: you may find that a different brand of food is less expensive than the item for which you have the coupon, even after the savings. Do not feel compelled to purchase an item just because you possess a coupon when you could save more otherwise.