Big savings come from growing our own produce. We have a small herb garden outside our kitchen door. It is amazing what a few herbs can do to spruce up an inexpensive pot of beans, fish or other vegetables. Most everything we need to make a fresh salad can be found in our small patio vegetable garden. -- Joanne Drake, St. Petersburg
We have meatless meals once or twice a week, using beans and eggs. -- Ron and Helen Prince, St. Petersburg
I take advantage of coupons, but only those that offer a reasonable savings. If I need to buy two or more items to save 25 cents, it's probably not worth it. Obviously, 50 cents or $1 off a single item is a good deal. -- Tom Rizzo, Largo
We shop at local farmers markets, buying produce at one-tenth to one-half the cost of grocery store offerings.
-- Billy Ball, Pinellas Park
I make soup once a week. Very nutritious and inexpensive. I could make a whole pot for what those canned "healthy" soups cost. -- Elinor Wencka, Tampa
I bought a device called "Green's Extra Life" at Bed Bath & Beyond that neutralizes ethylene gas in the refrigerator crisper drawer and makes produce last longer. It costs about $7 and lasts for 3 months. It paid for itself the first week. (Go to www.dennisgreenltd.com for more information.)
-- Amy Robison, St. Petersburg
I go through all the grocery fliers and highlight the items I want to buy, then purchase them at Super Wal-Mart. You show the cashiers the fliers and they match that price.
-- Soovje McDonald, Oldsmar
I always try the store brands, since with most products you can't tell the difference. I shop with a list and generally stick to it, but I switch out the vegetables based on what's on sale that week. -- Maura White, Tampa
When you buy ice cream, lift the carton to see how heavy it is and compare the weight to other brands. The heavier the better because it has less air. Ice cream is sold by volume, not weight (pint, half-gallon, etc).
-- Marjorie Dahl, St. Petersburg
I invested in a bread machine to help us avoid processed food and it has been years since we bought a loaf of bread. We have fresh gourmet loaves for very little effort that costs pennies.
-- Linda Hinton, Riverview
Before we shop, we go online and check the sales at all the stores. One of them will have a deal on either beef, chicken, pork or seafood. We buy when they are two-for-one. Within a few weeks, you can have a stocked freezer with all your favorites for basically half-price.
-- Larry McAdoo, Tarpon Springs
I save money by diluting dish soap. I buy the 64-ounce bottle and then dilute it by 3-to-1 or even 4-to-1. I keep a small bottle near the sink. I can't remember when I bought this big bottle — at least a year ago!
-- Jan McCann, St. Petersburg