12 Money-Saving Ways To Outsmart Your Grocery Store

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

There are sadly only a few times when I walk out of the grocery store feeling like I’ve gotten everything that I wanted.

Sure, I may have picked up all the essential items, like milk, eggs, and bread, but I usually also end up having just wasted loads of time browsing through aisles and aisles of items I don’t need.

If you’re like me, and you’re racking your brain for ideas on how to shop way more efficiently, then we’ve got just the right tips for you in this exclusive guide below.

Just like how there are key ways to save money and reduce waste by organizing your fridge, there are several incredible ways you can outsmart the grocery store, and save both time and money while you shop.

Scroll further to find out how you can shop smarter in the future, and let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

Tip #1: Look Up And Down

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Think about this: the items the supermarket really is trying to sell to you are all placed on shelves that are at eye-level.

These items are usually the most popularly marketed foods, with higher prices than, say, foods that have store brands.

Next time you go through an aisle, really scan all over — go from top to bottom.

Stores also target kids, and place items at their eye level, hoping that you’ll be more tempted to buy them.

Tip #2: Walk Past The Flowers

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There’s a reason why stores place items like fresh, beautiful flowers, delicious, aromatic rotisserie chickens, and fresh, baked goods at the front.

They want to tempt you to buy these things, and to make you feel happier about buying more things once you actually step inside the store, according to Reader’s Digest.

Tip #3: Plan Your Personal Shopping Route

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Most grocery stores are designed in a very specific pattern.

Their map is laid out in a way that will encourage you to walk past aisles and aisles of products that you had no intention on buying. Essential items, like bread, dairy products, and meat, are often located at the opposite end from the entrance, in far-flung corners.

Next time you go shopping, try sticking to a list of items, and plan a route that is most efficient for you to reach all those essential things on your list.

Tip #4: Let The Butcher Do The Work

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Many smart shoppers know exactly how to buy and portion their meat.

“We’ve had people buy one big roast and have us remove the bone for soup, run half of it through the grinder for hamburgers, and cut the rest into a pot roast,” a supermarket butcher told the Kitchn.

“That can save you about 30 percent, compared with buying everything cut.”

So next time you’re buying meat, consider buying a large cut of what you want, and have the butcher trim it for you.

Tip #5: Thaw Seafood At Home

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You can save a little money on thawing seafood by yourself at home.

According to the Kitchn, the items displayed at the seafood counter are usually the exact same products that you’ll find in the freezer aisle. They’ve just been thawed, and marked up around 40 percent.

To save money, buy your seafood frozen, and try to find some time to thaw it at home.

Tip #6: Buy Cheese From The Dairy Case

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But seafood isn’t the only kind of product that grocery stores use to mark up prices.

They often also take products like cheeses from the dairy case, repackage them, and sell them for higher prices at the deli counter, according to Reader’s Digest.

Tip #7: Buy Party Baked Goods In Advance

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Many stores will hold sales in their bakery sections.

Ask to see if they’ll let you buy these items in advance (sometimes as far as one month in advance), and pick it up at a date closer to an event you’re planning.

This will allow you to plan ahead, and pay a lower price for something you’ve placed an order on.

Tip #8: Scan For Damaged Items

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Grocery stores can be sneaky. Instead of throwing away bruised or otherwise damaged foods (these can be veggies, fruits, meat, and even dairy), they’ll toss them right in with the packages to be sold.

Next time you’re buying something pre-packaged, carefully inspect the products to avoid taking home rotten food.

Tip #9: Do The Math Before Buying In Bulk

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Buying in bulk can turn out to be a bigger commitment than you would think.

Stores usually want you to think that you’re spending less when you’re buying in bulk, but the truth is, buying items by the piece can often end up being cheaper than when you buy in multiple packs.

Next time, before you spend money on bulk items, consider doing some math to see if it really is the best option.

Tip #10: Compare Unit Prices

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If you’re worried about doing calculations right there on the spot, fear not.

Everything is laid out very clearly for you — just check out the pricing labels!

The best way to make sure you’re making the right decision is to compare unit prices, as well as sale prices. This is the cost of the item per unit.

You may think that something that sells for a lower price may always be better. But if the slightly higher-priced item has a smaller unit price, then there’s your bargain.

Tip #11: Watch Out For Discount Cards

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Many stores will lure you in with “shopper’s club” discount cards.

According to Business Insider, these cards only offer you actual discounts once in a while. The scary fact is that they’re a kind of microchip that stores and retailers put on you.

Buy owning such a card, they can keep information on your purchasing habits and other tracking data.

Discount cards also keep you going back to the same store, to do all your shopping there.

Tip #12: Ditch The Shopping Cart

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Lastly, be wary of the shopping carts.

Reader’s Digest and many other sources all blame the ever-growing shopping cart for making customers buy more than they actually should.

The bigger the cart, the likelier you’ll feel comfortable with filling it up. This will cause you to spend more.

Research has shown that when the size of the shopping cart doubled, shoppers bought 40 percent more products than they usually would have.

Please SHARE these amazing grocery shopping hacks with all family and friends who want to be money-smart!