As the primary shopper for groceries in my family, I’ve learned some handy tips over the years that have helped me make the most of my trip to the supermarket while spending the least.

Follow these recommendations, and you’ll be a savvier supermarket shopper too!

1. Know Before you Go. Either find your store’s weekly circular online or, better yet, download your store’s app. You’ll find digital coupons you can click for instant savings at the register and you never had to clip a single coupon!

2. Make your list, and check it twice. By listing out the items you actually need, you’ll be on a mission in the store to check them off without being tempted by all the strategically placed items on end-caps and in the aisles.

3. BYOB. When you Bring Your Own Bags, you won’t find tons of those plastic bags littering a kitchen drawer or haunting your pantry. Bonus Tip: as soon as you unload your groceries, stick your reusable tote bags back in your trunk for your next shopping trip.

4. Safety first. There’s a reason why most grocery chains provide antibacterial wipes near the cart storage area. You might want to grab one of those and give the cart handle a good wipe-down. Why? A recent study by Food Protection Trends found that a whopping 50% of cart handles contain traces of E. Coli bacteria.

5. Let your eyes wander. Brands pay big bucks to get their product at eye level on the shelves. You might find comparable products at better prices on the higher and lower shelves.

6. Explore store brands. Do you think that Kroger has a special facility somewhere to create their cans of kidney beans? Definitely not. They’re buying them in bulk from a major brand and repurposing them under their store label. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports study of 57 store brands found that 33 of them were as good or even better than the name brand item!

7. Freeze prices. How can you control the price you pay for items like fresh fruit? Buy during peak season and freeze it! When you thaw out those frozen blueberries in February, you’ll avoid paying five bucks per pint for the fresh variety.

8. Keep your eyes on the size. Think the larger product must be a better deal? Think again. Most grocers put the “per ounce” price on shelf labels, and it’s worth checking the details. Why buy the 32 ounce heavy whipping cream when you’ll save over 25% buying two of the 16 ounce packages of the exact same product? This applies to so many products ranging from salsa to peanut butter, jams, jellies & more.

9. Age pays. I know many seniors that enjoy an automatic 5-10% off their grocery bill simply by shopping on their store’s weekly “Senior Day.” Watch for military, educator and first responder discounts too.

10. Be charitable. Use your rewards payback cards for your favorite charity when you check out. Our school has collected thousands of dollars each year by families simply remembering to use their key chain tag.

Bonus Tip: Check, please! If your store is out of an item that’s on sale or “Buy One Get One,” be sure to ask for a rain check at Customer Service. They’ll gladly give you a voucher for the item at the sales price, which you can use when it’s back in stock.

I hope you find these grocery store tips to be a good resource that saves your family time and money. Happy Shopping!

– Suzanne

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