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My sense in listening to readers over the past couple of years is that the rising cost of groceries is one of their biggest financial stresses. That's why I'm always on the lookout for useful ideas on how to cut the cost of stocking up on food and other supplies. The test I apply: Are there any ideas that I would find useful in my own life?

This week, I found a list of grocery shopping tips that meets that requirement. It's immodestly – but justifiably – titled 24 highly clever tricks to save money at the grocery store. Five worthwhile suggestions from this list:

- Buy low, buy high: The most expensive items are at eye level.
- Work the edges: Aim to spend at least half your shopping time on the perimeter of the store, where fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy are found. These are the best value foods.
- Chew gum: Cuts the temptation for hungry shoppers to buy food on impulse.
- Shop rarely: Once a week should be your max – the more often you visit a store, the more chance there is you'll make impulse purchases.
- Double-check bulk items: We expect them to be the best value, but that's not always true.

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The overall inflation rate in Canada came in at 1.7 per cent as of the most recent tally. The 2018 version of Canada's Food Price Report from Dalhousie University projects food inflation of 1 to 3 per cent this year. That's an increase of $348 over 2017 for a family of four, with total spending estimated at $11,948.

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Rob's personal finance reading list…

Online mattress-buying, anyone?
A personal finance blogger tests three mattresses that you can order online and have sent to your house. The "mattress in a box" trend is getting a lot of attention these days as a lower cost, more convenient way to buy a mattress.

Help for the tired-looking kitchen
Nine inexpensive ways to jazz up your kitchen, including the addition of plants, and adding display art.

The cost of attending a 100th birthday party
A Winnipeg woman writes about spending $692 to attend her great-aunt's 100th birthday in Toronto. Some honest thoughts here about whether such expenditures are worth it.

Travelling? You're doing it wrong
Tips from TV personality and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain on how to get the most out of your travels.

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Today's featured financial tool
To mark Fraud Prevention Month, the Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights offers these five rules for avoiding investment fraud. Here are six warning signs of fraud, also from FAIR.

Ask Rob
The question:
"I turn 65 in May. I will take my pension, but might work a couple of years longer. Do you have any advice on how to survive a down market's impact on retirement savings? I just laddered my GICs for a five-year period."

The answer: "Financial planners commonly suggest retirees keep one to three years' worth of living expenses in cash or liquid investments that can be drawn upon in falling markets so that hard-hit stocks and equity funds don't need to be sold. That GIC ladder you set up will give you a certain amount of money per year that is protected from the stock market (from one-year GICs coming up for renewal). Consider adding additional money into a high-rate savings account to build your cushion against having to sell stocks at a bad time."

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

Featured Video
Personal finance blogger Jessica Moorhouse, 31, talks about why you should care about money in your twenties.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories
- Couple saving feverishly after spending time in a bohemian lifestyle
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- The TSX's biggest gainers of the past nine years will probably surprise you (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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