Grocery Shopping Tips: A Guide To Saving Time & Money At The Grocery Store

Grocery Shopping Tips

As you can imagine, we go through a lot of food in our house.  From the YouTube recipe videos to the food blog, testing new recipes, and just being a family of five (who eats a lot), we allocate a good amount of our time and money on groceries.

Over the past several years, Dustin and I have learned a lot of helpful grocery shopping tips and tricks for how to save time and money at the grocery store.  My guess is nobody really enjoys grocery shopping all that much.  Despite this, it’s something we all have to do on a regular basis.  Hopefully, you’ll find these tips as useful as we have the next time you go shopping 🙂

Grocery Shopping Tips

Planning Ahead

  • Organize your grocery list by section.  Once you have your grocery items listed, take the time to divide them into the appropriate sections that match your grocery store. Include a meats, produce, dairy, breads, deli, and so on so you get everything you need in each section and don’t have to backtrack.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time.  Before you leave for the grocery store, plan ahead enough meals to get you through your next planned trip.  Make sure you’ll be able to fully prepare 4-5 meals with what you’re buying.  If you’d like to get help with meal planning, click here.
  • Don’t shop for food on an empty stomach.  Eat before you go to the grocery store or you won’t be able to make smart decisions when shopping.  All of a sudden, random things will sound delicious and you’ll wind up not following your list, spending more money, and wasting time.
  • Reuse similar ingredients.  If you know a recipe you’re using only requires half a head of lettuce, for example, plan a different meal to use the other half.  Think about what groceries you’re buying and how left-overs can be re-used in something els to avoid wasting food.

Tip #1

Organizing your grocery list by location is the single most important thing you can do for saving time and money in the grocery store.

When You’re At The Store

  • Always bring a list.  The last thing you want is to show up at the grocery store unprepared.  Doing so will result in aimlessly walking around every aisle, buying food you don’t need, not buying the right items for what you do need, and wasting your precious time and money.
  • Only buy what you need.  This is a big one.  Really rely on your grocery list and what you decided you needed before you arrived at the store.  Don’t fall into traps at the store for items you just don’t need.   Pay attention to the amount of what you’re buying as well.  Meal planning makes this easier.
  • Buy meats on sale and store in freezer.  The exception to the tip above is if there is a sale.  But only if there is a sale AND it’s something that you will need in the near future. A good example of this is meat which can easily be frozen and used later.
  • Make extra portions for lunches.  One way to make your money, time, and groceries stretch farther is to make extra portions of your meals to use as lunches.
  • Stock the basics for quick, go-to meals.  We always have a set of a few go-to meals that we can use in case we are low on groceries and can’t make it to the store.  That typically means we have things like garlic, noodles, rice, chicken broth, spaghetti sauce, bread, and onions in the pantry, and some frozen meat in the freezer.  These items are non-perishable, relatively cheap, and can make a ton of different meals if needed.
  • Buy produce in season.  In-season produce is significantly cheaper than when it’s out of season.  Pay attention to what is in season in your area and buy accordingly.
  • Stick to a budget.  If you’re trying to pinch pennies, you can set a budget for how much money you’re allowed to spend when shopping.  This helps force you into making the tough decisions for what you really need versus what you just kinda want and helps save money in the process.
  • Watch every item as it gets scanned.  When checking out, watch the cash register as your items are scanned.  You’d be surprised at how often the cashier doesn’t know the right code for the produce or something scans incorrectly and charges you the wrong amount.  This also helps you really get a feel for what it is you’re spending your money on.

Tip #2

Only buy what’s on your list when you’re at the store. Give it a try.  Your budget will thank you.

During The Week

  • Take an inventory of what’s in your pantry and refrigerator.  Before you leave your house and make your list, take the time to go through your refrigerator and pantry to see what you have and what you need.  This will help you re-stock on what’s missing or getting low and will also help you avoid buying extra stuff you don’t need.
  • Keep an ongoing list for items you are low on.  Keep a running list of what items are getting low so you can quickly add them to your grocery list when it’s time to get to the store.  I keep my list on my phone, but you could also keep a notepad next to the fridge so it’s nice and handy.

Tip #3

Make sure to keep your list up to date. This will help in the store so you don’t wonder, “Do I need that?”

Time Management

  • Pay attention to your time.  In addition to budgeting your money, budget your time and set a limit for how long you will be at the grocery store.  Typically, 45 minutes to an hour to buy a weeks worth of meals should be sufficient.  The longer you’re in there, the more money you’ll spend and the more time you’ll waste.
  • Follow a pattern.  Get to know your grocery store, the layout, peak hours, and sales.  Follow the same pattern every time you go to maximize your efficiency.  For example, if you start with the produce, then meat, then deli, and so on every time you go, you’ll be able to move quicker and quicker each time you shop.

Tip #4

Really understanding your grocery store is crucial to saving time. Make sure to follow the same path in the store and keep your list in the same order.

Did I miss anything?  Share your tips in the comments below.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

10 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping Tips: A Guide To Saving Time & Money At The Grocery Store

  1. Thank you so much for the Grocery Shopping Tips that will really make the right decisions. This blog is extremely useful. Keep sharing informational posts. We care about the satisfaction of our consumers. To know more about grocerybabu. visit us at https://www.grocerybabu.com/

  2. I like the tip that you gave to eat before you go shopping. My wife and I have been talking about shopping more for different collectors quilts as a hobby of ours, and it would be important for us to know that we can do so comfortably. If we choose to go shopping more, I will be sure to always eat before we go out.

  3. I appreciate you mentioning creating a budget and sticking to it so that I have something to help me when making tough decisions. I will not just have a budget, I will make sure to take only the exact amount with me when I go out shopping. This is because I really want to save money for the holidays, but I cannot ignore my urge to shop. This is the best way to play safe.

  4. scrive:actually? they both weren’t Klebold asked Valeen Schnurr after she began to cry out, “Oh, God help me!” Klebold approached her and asked her if she believed in God. Schnurr floundered in her answer; first replying “no” and then “yes” switching back and forth (Valeen is still alive btw) . Cassie and her killer didn’t exchange words at all.

  5. Thanks for continuing to show us what’s possible Ray. If Garmin could add the necessary firmware to allow myself and my wife to transfer files ANT+ transfer files from our Edge 500 and 800:-)Increasingly we are trying to get buy with just an iPad on trips so being able to upload via an iPad/iPhone would be very helpful. I was thinking about a Garmin 210, but seeing this new way to upload my data I’ll need to seriously consider a 610 instead.

  6. Where do you get things like chick pea flour? I live on the Mississippi Gulf coast and have not seen anything like that in the stores here. We are typically limited to Rouses, Walmart, and Winn Dixie.

    1. Hmm..do you ever see a selection of flours from like Bob’s Red Mill? It is also called garbanzo bean flour. While it’s easy to find in more health-type stores, like Whole Foods, I have also seen it at larger, non health stores as well. You could also order it on amazon at a discount, too 🙂

  7. Thank you for these grocery shopping tips. I am 62 years old and have been organizing my grocery list by ‘departments’ for ages. A huge help! I hate when I forget my list- like scanning the beach for sea glass, when you turn around to come back you always see ”more’! When I backtrack in the grocery store I always see things that I wasn’t aware of before!! Great for beach glass – not so much in the grocery store!
    Wish I still had your energy! You are doing a wonderful job for the rest of us. Thank you!

    1. You’re so welcome, Carolyn. I’m glad these tips are helpful for you. I totally agree – we’ve learned that if we don’t have a list, we don’t even walk into the store – it’s just a bad idea haha.

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