Published: Jan. 28, 2020

Taking some time to plan and research before you head to the grocery store can help you stay within your budget. Before you go shopping, here are five tips to help you save money and maximize your time.

People shopping for produce in a grocery storeMake a plan

Planning your meals and snacks for the week can help you put together your grocery list. It can also help you be more efficient with your time at the store and minimize impulse purchases.

If you don’t have much room in your schedule to cook on a daily basis, you could block one to two hours on a weekend to make a few larger meals to eat throughout the week. Search food blogs or Pinterest for some simple meal ideas to to get started.

Check out sales and coupons

Most stores, such as King Soopers, Target, Sprouts and Whole Foods, have mobile apps that feature weekly ads and coupons. As you’re making your plan and shopping list, check out what’s on sale. Planning your meals and snacks around sale items and coupons is a great way to save money.

Have a snack before grocery shopping

Grocery shopping on an empty stomach can sometimes lead to impulse purchases. Grabbing a quick snack beforehand is a great way to help you stick to your grocery list and your budget.

Shop the perimeter

The perimeter of the grocery store is where you’ll find the freshest ingredients that won’t break the bank:

  • Fruits and vegetables are a healthy, and often cheap, addition to any meal. Keep in mind that fruits and vegetables are the least expensive when they are in-season.
  • Meat can be on the more expensive side, but you can usually find items on sale in the grocery store’s weekly ad. If you find a good deal and have room in your budget, consider buying extra meat and freeze what you don’t need right away to use later. 
  • The bakery department is the place for fresh and inexpensive bread, rolls and buns. Often the price of day-old items is marked down. To help your bread items last longer, freeze what you don’t use right away.
  • Eggs and Greek yogurt in the dairy aisle are often on sale and can be good sources of protein and calcium.

Try generic/store brands

Store brand items are typically the same quality as name brand items, but with a cheaper price. Store brand and generic items can usually be found on the lower shelves at the store.