I shop around the perimeter of the grocery store the majority of the time, venturing into the aisles only for necessary pantry items. If you follow this rule, you will buy fresher, healthier food automatically. Whether its produce, meat from the butcher, fish, dairy, or even baked goods, you’ll find them around the fringe of the store. The middle of the store is often the belly of the beast for processed, prepared foods that are often over priced, low quality, and unhealthy. Although this rule may seem simple to mention, it’s a good mentality to be in while shopping, and I’ve found that I actually save a lot of money by not buying processed, packaged food.
Taking the time to write up a detailed grocery list beforehand is the best way to avoid buying items you don’t need, or won’t use. If everything you buy is a part of a few recipes you know you will make, nothing will go to waste and you’ll spend a lot less time deciding if you need some particular thing. I like to shop once a week, sometimes every two weeks, and on Sundays I’ll take the time to cook lunches and dinners for myself for that week. Tupperware and the freezer are my best friends.
Shopping hungry is probably the worst thing for your grocery savvy because your eyes are a lot bigger than your stomach- and your budget. They’ll try to get you with sale markdowns and coupons, and shopping on a full stomach is your best defense against this, along with your list.
Of course there are other things I try to keep in mind as well, like buy local when possible, buy in bulk, etc. but these top three are universal in my experience and have been the most helpful to me. I don’t succeed all the time with all of these rules, but keeping them in mind will save time and money, and prevent food waste in the long run.