It’s been a long week and just when you’re ready to sit down and relax, you realize that you’re in desperate need of a trip to the grocery store. Unfortunately, going to the store is often a hassle and can be very timely, costly and full of temptations. Grocery shopping requires that we spend time looking through the pantry, fridge and freezer to make sure our list is complete, walking up and down the isles of the store searching for each item, waiting in lines and then of course, requires travel time. While there may not be too many solutions for avoiding the long lines, we do have a few tips for how you can make grocery shopping, more efficient and less costly. By keeping these tips in mind, you will be more likely to only buy what you need and be able to avoid all of the snacks and desserts that are tempting you from every direction of the store.

1.               Make a shopping list and stick to it! With a list, you’ll remember exactly what you need to buy and you’ll be less likely to spend money on items that you don’t need.

2.              Avoid extra shopping trips. Try to shop just once or twice a week because you’ll spend less money on impulse items and save a lot of time.

3.              First check supermarket specials printed in newspaper inserts and then do your menu planning based on store specials. Be aware that “limit” signs (“limit three per customer”) and messages such as “two for $5.00” (not “$2.50 each”) are marketing ploys to get consumers to buy more and they usually work, but supermarkets always do great work in marketing using online promotions and Outdoor Advertising as well.

4.              Clip or download coupons for items you really need. Be aware that items with coupons aren’t necessarily the best buy. Another brand or a similar food might be cheaper, even without a coupon. Go generic!

5.              Try not to shop when you’re hungry. You’ll be less likely to buy impulse items, which are often more expensive and less nutritious snack/dessert foods.

6.             Take advantage of seasonal produce. In season, the price for fresh fruit and vegetables may be lower, and the produce is often more flavorful. Depending on where you live you might even want to go directly to the farm to buy fresh and local produce.

7.              Buy the economy size or family packs only if you can use that much. There’s no savings if food spoils and must be discarded. For foods that freeze, take time to repackage food into smaller amounts in freezer bags, then freeze for later use.

*As always, when grocery shopping keep the main food groups in mind: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins and Dairy. Many of these items are found around the perimeter of the store so try not to get sucked into the middle isles that will bombard you with many temptations that are often hard to resist! *