8 Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a family, food is probably one of your largest household expenses. Grocery shopping is also one of the most common places that people make impulse buys beyond the budget (usually in a spirit of good health). It’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless those chia seeds sit in your cupboard for weeks until you toss them just to make space for quinoa...which then sits. And the cycle repeats itself. On average, American toss 25% of the groceries they purchase (yikes!).

Luckily, there are some fairly easy things you can integrate into your grocery shopping that can save money. Like, hundreds of dollars over the course of the year (according to Time). And don’t worry, you don’t need to be an extreme couponer!

Pre-Trip Checklist

1.    Inventory your current stock
Once a month, go through your cabinets, pantry, freezer, and fridge (although you probably have an idea of what’s in there). You’ll have a sense for what’s low and what you can skip over for this trip.

2.    Plan meals by what’s in the ads and clip those coupons
By planning meals by sales, you’ll save money because the items are cheaper and not full price. Clipping coupons isn’t a must (especially since many retailers, like Cub and Target, have apps which do the work for you), but manufacturer coupons usually offer additional discounts.

3.    Make a list
It’s the most fundamental rule of grocery shopping: make a list, and stick to it. If list-making isn’t quite in your wheelhouse, use an app like Out of Milk or Any.Do to just add things from your phone as you think of them.

4.    Eat before you go
Or bring some gum or mints to nosh on while you shop. Mint overwhelms the scent of other foods - like rotisserie chicken, for one fragrant example - and

In-Store Checklist

1.    Be wary of sales that offer multiple items for one price
Think of those 10 for $10 *deals* you often see on endcaps. These are usually just clever signage and don’t necessarily save you anything (as in they already cost $1, or even less). And if it is an actual discount, check the ‘best by’ dates to make sure it won’t expire before you use them.

2.    Plan your route
Try shopping at just one grocery store so you get to know their sales cycles (items tend to go on sale every 10 weeks or so), their normal prices, and to make your shopping more efficient. Studies have shown the fewer aisles shoppers peruse, the fewer impulse items they purchase.

3.    Use a basket, not a cart
If you can get away with it, use a smaller container, like a basket, instead of a cart. Studies show that the larger the cart, the more shoppers try to fill it up.

4.    Use the self-checkout option
Checking out yourself means less time staring at merchandise you don’t need as well as more focus on what you picked up.

What tips do you have to save money at the grocery store?