MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Shopping for holiday meals can get very expensive if you don’t have a plan, according to WVU Extension Service nutrition outreach instructor Melissa Painter.

Painter said before you go to the store take a good inventory of what you have at home and only buy the things you need.

“Make a store list. But first, look in your cabinets and refrigerator to see what you already have,” Painter said. “By making an organized list, knowing what you need and what you have at home, you are not going to buy extra things you don’t need.”

Painter said using store cards, digital coupons and checking unit prices can add up to big savings.

“Use store cards and digital coupon. A lot of people don’t understand or know about those. Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, Dollar General, Family Dollar—almost every grocery store has its own program,” Painter said. “Pay attention to unit pricing. It’s on everything you buy. It shows you how much food you’re getting for your money, and you can compare that with other brands. Just because something might seem cheaper, doesn’t mean it is.”

She said leftovers are an opportunity to add variety, be creative get the most out of your food dollar. .

“When you have all that excess turkey and things of that nature you can always freeze it for later,” Painter said. “Or you can turn it into different meals, you can make cream of turkey or turkey and noodles and you won’t get so tired of eating leftovers.”

WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program’s work is supported by the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.