How to Grocery Shop Effectively

Did you know that the way you grocery shop can impact your diet? Effectively navigating the grocery store can help you stay on track and spend less money. Grocery stores are designed to make you spend more time inside, spend more money inside, and buy things you may not necessarily need. Whenever I start with a new client, I teach them ways to improve the way that they shop, which in turn helps them save money, save time, and always has a positive impact on their intake.
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1) Plan Ahead 

First things first, ALWAYS go to the store with a list. If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up to just wander blindly around. Stick to your list when you shop. I find that making a “master list” is extremely helpful-if you tend to buy similar things every time you shop, create your master list and then just add to it each time you go. This way you’re not wasting time writing lsits from scratch every week. Lastly, try to organize your list based on the layout of the store. Think about it….what’s the first section when you walk in the door? If it’s produce, put that at the top of the list.
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Here’s my master list, which I keep saved as a note on my phone!
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2) Stick to the Perimeter

The perimeter of the store is typically where all the fresh food is-produce, meat/fish, dairy, and bakery. The aisles are where all the snacks and processed foods are kept. Avoid going down those aisles unless you specifically need something (this is where that list comes in handy!). Here’s a tip: spices and condiments are typically located at the ends of the aisles, so there’s no need to go down the entire aisle to get what you need!
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3) Buy Store Brand

Most grocery stores these days have their own store brand version of practically everything. These are often the cheapest often and are just as, if not better than, name brand. You can save a lot of money in the long run buying store brand products. Wegman’s store brand items are really really good!!
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Just a few examples!
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4) Look for “Low/No” Options

This is especially true for condiments, dressings, and marinades. Look for low/no sugar, salt, calorie, and fat versions. You can save a lot of calories this way. Condiments, dressings, and marinades are most often where people sneak extra calories in without realizing it. Buying the low fat or low cal version can protect you from those sneaky calories.
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5) Don’t Shop Hungry

You’ve heard this one before! If you shop on an empty stomach you’re more likely to buy things you don’t necessarily need. usually when you are starving, you’ll want to grab some type of snack food that is not on your list and that you don’t typically buy., If possible, have a meal or snack before hitting the store to avoid that impulsive purchasing.
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6) Look for Sales, Cautiously

Definitely grab the store’s circular on the way in, but be careful about buying things you don’t need just because they’re on sale. Scan the coupons and see if anything you typically buy is on sale that week. If it is, great! You’re saving money! But just because a certain item is on sale but you never buy it, doesn’t mean you should start now! Use sales to your advantage, but cautiously.
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Using these tips can vastly improve your grocery shopping experience. A lot of people say they hate shopping, but when you do it right, it can be enjoyable and relaxing! Using these tips will not only save you money, but it will also save you time in the store. You’ll do less aimless wandering and be able to get in and out quicker. I’ve got my routine down to about 10 minutes! Have you tried any of these strategies before? Let me know in the comments!!
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