1) Never go food shopping on an empty stomach!
If you walk into the supermarket feeling even a little bit hungry, that carton of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream will be even more tempting.
2) Pop a sugarless mint in your mouth before you enter the supermarket.
This is related to the first tip above, but popping a mint in your mouth before entering the store will definitely cause you to be less tempted to grab high calorie impulse items.
3) Shop by yourself, when possible.
Studies show that people tend to buy more when shopping with a buddy or group. Research has found that men are particularly susceptible to begging children and eye-catching displays, so it may be in your waistline’s best interest to take charge of the grocery shopping.
4) To save time, avoid peak shopping hours.
Hit the grocery store between 5 and 9 p.m. and you’ll avoid the crowds. Want the supermarket all to yourself? Less than 4 percent of people grocery shop between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. And Wednesday ranks as the least-crowded day of the week.
5) Compare unit pricing.
Many shoppers incorrectly assume that the biggest package will give them the most bang for their buck. Grocery stores know that customers like the concept of buying in bulk, so they mix it up to maximize their profit. Sometimes the bulk product is cheaper and sometimes it’s more expensive. So how do you know which product will save you the most money? Most supermarkets post unit pricing for all their products, which makes comparing items a snap.
6) Need to save really money? Skip the prepared meats.
You can reap major savings by butchering meat yourself. If pork chops are on the menu, buy the entire pork loin and cut it yourself. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the savings add up.
7) Beware the steep cost of convenience.
Products that provide added convenience (sliced and bagged apples, for example) are often more expensive to manufacture due to the added labor required to produce them. That cost is passed directly to the consumer, so to slash your grocery bill, avoid these top wallet-draining offenders: boxed rice entrees/ side dish mixers, bagged salad, pre-formed meat patties, spice mixes, bottled water, and tomato-based pasta sauces.
8) Look UP and DOWN for better savings.
Big brands pay a big premium to stock their products at eye-level, and those products also tend to be the priciest. To find the best value, look high and low. That’s where you’ll find the less expensive products from smaller manufacturers who can’t afford to place their items at the coveted eye-level spot.
9) Many bulk "specials" don't require you to buy in bulk.
When shoppers see signs with numbers like “7 for $10!” or “Limit 4 per customer” they tend to buy 30 to 100 percent more than they otherwise might have. Remember that in most instances, you’ll still get the 7 for $10 price on the individual items even if you only buy one.
10) To get the best produce, dig deep.
Older merchandise is placed at the front of the bin and spread across the top to ensure that customers buy it first. So take a moment to sift through the top layer to get the freshest fruits and veggies.
11) Skip the center aisles.
Sodas, cookies, and chips are all found in the center aisles. If you keep to the perimeter of the store, you won’t succumb to temptation as you cruise by shelves bursting with junk food.
12) Choose the right cereal.
When selecting a cereal, aim for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. And nix granolas—they almost always have more fat and sugar than other cereals. Bear Naked’s Natural Whole Grain Granola has 140 calories per ¼ cup serving, while a full 1-cup serving of Kashi GoLean has 140 calories (and a bonus 10 grams of fiber).
13) Be a coupon queen.
Shoppers that regularly use coupons save an average of 10-20% on groceries per year. In addition to Sunday paper coupons, you can select and print coupons on eversave.com and coupons.com. And now grocery stores like Vons and Ralph’s allow you to upload coupons directly to your preferred savings card courtesy of shortcuts.com. Just select the coupons you want online and they’re automatically added to your shopper’s card. Cellfire.com even allows you to upload coupons to your cell phone.
It’s never been easier to save!