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5. Shop at off-peak hours.

When I was in high school, I loved going midnight grocery shopping with my mom because the aisles would be full of box boys busy stacking the shelves. As an adult, I still try to avoid peak hours, but not to gawk at boys. Grocery shopping can feel much easier when it doesn’t feel like the rest of your town is also there grocery shopping with you. Avoid bumper carts by shopping at off-peak times, which are Mondays and Tuesdays (although Wednesdays and Thursdays are not significantly busier. Just try to avoid Friday – Sunday). On weekdays, most shoppers arrive between 4:00 and 5:00pm, compared to weekends when half of all shoppers arrive to start their shopping by 12:30pm.

6. Map your route.

If you have a pinball machine shopping style, it’s time to map your route and efficiently move through the store without zigzagging or back tracking. Most people have an idea of where they will head first when entering the grocery store. Using a grocery list that’s divided into store departments will really help you map your route well.

7. Choose your convenience.

Deciding ahead of time which convenience foods you are willing to pay more for will help prevent over purchasing of convenience foods (which tend to go bad more quickly), and it will help prevent overspending on these items, which tend to be more expensive. If the head of broccoli will rot in your fridge while a bag of cut broccoli is more likely to be eaten, plan on spending more here and saving in other areas. Knowing in advance where you are willing to pay for convenience will help save time and money during your grocery store visit.

8. Use the food group approach.

No list? No problem. Sometimes we find ourselves at the market without a list. When this happens, consider using the food group approach: before checking out, make sure you have grains, proteins (meats, seafood, beans, eggs, or nut butters), dairy, and produce. This will help prevent you from arriving home with only snack items and no real staples for making meals.

9. Shop in your pajamas (grocery delivery).

According to the consumer statistics organization, statista, 18.4% of consumers do most of their grocery shopping online. This saves commuting time and can be a great option for those who prefer not to fight the after work crowd at the grocery store.

10. Beware of marketing tricks

The milk is in the back for a reason (as the most common grocery item requiring a quick trip to the grocery store, placing it in the rear of the store forces us to travel past other items, increasing the likelihood we’ll buy more than just milk). The cartoon covered cereal boxes are placed low at child eye-level for a reason. Relaxing and upbeat music is played for a reason. The goal is to get us to spend more time sauntering around the aisles so that we buy more. Sticking to your list will help you avoid getting suckered into buying more than you planned on.

Click here for meal planning tips that will help take the stress out of dinner.

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