It’s Money $mart Week in Chicago this week, and there are 250 free money management seminars being offered around the metro area. Check out for details. To help promote the week, I’ve been hanging out at WGN-TV to view my segments online). It’s been a lot of fun.

Today, I talked about how to save money. Check out these tips for saving at the grocery store:

  • Don’t shop when hungry.
  • Don’t shop late at night or when you’re bored.
  • Do use a list — if you just wander the aisles you’ll spend an extra few hundred bucks every time.
  • Do time yourself — the longer you hang out at the store, the more you spend.
  • Instead of buying pre-prepared foods or prepacked meats, cook your own. Buy a whole turkey for 11 to 25 percent per pound and freeze excess meat for another use.
  • Don’t look eye-level — all the really expensive stuff is there.
  • Join a warehouse club to take advantage of the prices, but get a Costco or Sam’s Club shopping buddy and figure out ahead of time what you’re going to buy. You don’t want to wander aimlessly or you’ll walk out hundreds of bucks poorer.
  • Obviously, eating less take out and eating at home rather than at restaurants will save you big bucks over time. Aim to trade eating at home for eating out 2 to 3 times a month, depending on how often you do it. You should save about $100. Think of all the debt you can pay down with that extra cash.

Here are some tips for saving on vacations:

  • Consider vacationing at home or in your local metro area.
  • Try exchanging your house or renting a condo instead of staying at a hotel (you’ll save money on the food, too, if you can cook at home or at least eat breakfast and lunch in).
  • Take a no-drive vacation — fly somewhere and then bike or walk. Don’t drive across the country this summer.
  • Check for airfare sales. We’re putting up a number of good stories on saving on travel at Be sure to check them out.

There are plenty of ways to save on energy costs. I’ve got loads of information up at

May 4, 2006.