Trimming the excess fat from your budget is not as impossible as you might think. Although you may have little control over your mortgage or day care costs, you can save lots of money on groceries, utilities, cell phone and cable bills, back-to-school supplies, transportation costs, personal care expenses, a new car, bank fees, prescriptions, dental and vision care, seasonal merchandise, entertainment, and much more. This article teaches you 25 painless ways to save money on groceries.

1. Agree to a weekly or monthly grocery budget and stick to it no matter what.

2. Instead of buying pre-cut fruit such as watermelon or pineapple, buy the entire fruit and save money every time. In the same way, don’t buy packaged coleslaw or salads. Why pay $2.19 for a 16 ounce package of coleslaw if you can buy a head of cabbage for as little as 49 cents a pound?

3. Don’t forget to shop at the drugstore. You can find terrific deals on groceries and household supplies at CVS, Walgreens, and RiteAid. If you sign up with SavingStar (next suggestion), you can link your CVS and RiteAid loyalty cards to your SavingStar account for additional savings.

Recently, we saved a lot of money at our neighborhood CVS by combining advertised specials with an in-store coupon. Here’s how it worked:

CVS reduced the price for an 8-pack of brand-name paper towels from $8.79 to $5.00. We bought two packages. They also reduced the price for a 5.5 ounce can of solid white albacore tuna from $2.19 to 88 cents. We bought 10 cans. We also used a $5 in-store coupon that was good on any qualifying purchase of $10 or more.

We ended up paying $14.15 for the paper towels and tuna. If we had purchased everything at the regular prices, we would have paid $40.71. The difference is a whopping $26.56 or 65%.

4. Join over 3 million people who use SavingStar e-coupons at over 25,000 grocery and drug store locations throughout the country. Here’s how it works:

Membership is free and there is no coupon clipping or printing.

Find participating stores near you by entering your zip code into the search box on SavingStar’s homepage. For example, we entered zip code 43952–Steubenville, Ohio–and found 4 participating grocery and drug store chains (CVS, Giant Eagle, Kroger, and RiteAid). We also entered zip code 19148–Philadelphia–and found six participating chains (Acme, CVS, Pathmark, RiteAid, ShopRite, and SuperFresh).

Link all of your qualifying grocery and drug store loyalty cards to your SavingStar account.

On the SavingStar web site, select the e-coupons you want and link them to the grocery and drug store loyalty cards that you have registered with SavingStar.

Use your loyalty card at checkout. The total on your receipt does not change at checkout and the savings are not printed on the receipt. Your money is added to your SavingStar account within 2-22 days depending on the store where you shopped. Saving Star notifies you by email when your account has been credited.

Once your savings reach $5.00, you can choose from these payout options:

– A deposit into your bank or PayPal account

– An Amazon gift card

– A donation to charity

SavingStar adds new e-coupons every week on the brands you love. Here are some of the participating labels:

Classico®, Green Giant®, Pillsbury®, Betty Crocker®, Old El Paso™, Progresso®, Chex®, Cheerios®, Mountain High®, Wheaties®, Right Guard®, Little Debbie®, Purex®, Smart Ones®, BUSH’S®, Truvia®, and Diamond Crystal®.

Here are some of the participating grocery and drug stores:

A&P, ACME Markets, Albertsons, BI-LO, Buehlers, Copps, Country Mart, Country Market, CVS, Dollar General*, Farm Fresh, Food City, Fred Meyer, Giant Eagle, Giant Food Stores, Hy-Vee, Ingles, JustSave, Kennies, King Kullen, King Soopers, Kings Super Markets, K-Mart, Kroger, Nob Hill Foods, Owen’s, Pathmark, Pick n Save, Piggly Wiggly in SC or GA, Piggly Wiggly in WI or Il, Price Chopper (KS and MO), Price Chopper (Northeast), QFC, Rainbow, Ralphs, Rite Aid, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Super Fresh, Target*, The Food Emporium, Tops Markets, Village Market, Waldbaums, Walmart*, Wegmans, and Winn-Dixie.

* This is a receipt-scan store that requires the SavingStar mobile app for iPhone or Android.

5. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less meat. For example, you can buy oranges for as little as 20¢ each when they are in season. Compare that to $4.99 for a pound of 85% lean ground beef.

6. Instead of making a needless trip to the grocery store, use what you have on hand.

7. You do not need to buy the $12.99 bottle of shampoo that your hair stylist recommends. Expensive does not always mean better. You can buy a 15 oz. bottle of brand-name shampoo for as little as 79¢ when it goes on sale.

8. Before you go to the grocery store, be sure to read your supermarket’s advertising circular. Plan your shopping around what is on sale. Always take advantage of “buy one, get one free” offers, especially on big-ticket items like vitamins and meat.

9. Find out how your supermarket calculates “buy one, get one free” offers. Some supermarkets and drug stores require you to buy both items in order to get them at the “buy one, get one free” price. If you buy just one, you automatically pay the regular price instead of 50% off.

For example, if you purchase one unit of a BOGO promotion at Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle®, you will pay 50% of the regular retail price. On the other hand, if you purchase one unit of a BOGO offer at CVS, you will automatically pay regular retail.

10. Shop at supermarkets that have fuel perks programs. You can save 10-20 cents off a gallon of gas for every $50 you spend on groceries, prescriptions, and qualifying gift cards. You can learn more about fuel perks here: How to Get Free Gas at the Supermarket.

11. Buy generic or store brands instead of brand names. For example, the price for a 42 oz. box of generic oatmeal is $2.69 at one Ohio supermarket. Comparably, the store brand is $3.99 and the brand name is a whopping $5.99. Is your calculator available?

12. Buy in-season produce. You can pay as little as 99¢ for a pound of red seedless grapes when they are in season, and as much as $3.99 a pound when they are not.

13. Why pay $4.29 for 10 ounces of potato chips when you can buy a pound of nutritious bananas for as little as 39 cents?

14. Why pay $2.49 for a 6 ounce box of macaroni and cheese when you can buy a comparable size of the store brand for 59 cents?

15. Why pay $1.99 for 9 ounces of dish detergent when you can buy 25 ounces of the same brand for $2.00 when it goes on sale?

16. Why pay $3.99 for a 6 ounce breakfast entrée when you can buy a 42 ounce box of healthy oatmeal for $2.69?

17. Why pay $2.29 for a 20 ounce can of spray starch when you can buy it on sale for 99 cents?

18. Why pay $4.29 for 32 ounces of brand-name window cleaner when you can buy a gallon of windshield wiper fluid for $3.49?

19. Why pay $2.99 for a 16 ounce bottle of salad dressing when you can make it from scratch for much less per serving?

20. Why pay $2.49 for 16 ounces of cottage cheese when you can buy 32 ounces of the same brand for $3.00 or less?

21. Why pay $1.49 for a 15 ounce can of brand-name kidney beans when you can buy a comparable size of the store brand for 79 cents?

22. Why pay $2.19 for a 15 ounce can of chili when you can make it from scratch for much less per serving?

23. Why pay $6.99 for brand-name hydrocortisone cream when you can buy a comparable size of the store brand for $3.04?

24. Why pay $4.99 for 15 ounces of canned coffee when you can buy 35 ounces of the same brand for $6.99 when it goes on sale?

25. Why pay $2.19 for 25 ft. of aluminum foil when you can get on sale for 99 cents?

This article has taught you 25 painless ways to save money on your grocery bill. The next time you are tempted to spend Saturday afternoon at the mall, be sure to remember this timeless quote from Henrik Ibsen: “There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt.”