Everyone has to shop at the grocery store here and there. Even if you eat at restaurants, you have to go to the store sometimes. So, here are some of my favorite grocery shopping tips to make your experience a little easier and to help save some money.

Plan ahead. I cannot stress how important this is! Use the store ads to plan your meals around the sales for the week. Check to see what items you have and what you need for the meals. For example, if large packages of chicken are a good special this week, plan a meal or few meals around chicken. You can even cook it once and refrigerate it until you will use it. Or you can freeze part of it for later.Make a list. The more time you spend in the store wandering around, the more money you will likely spend. A list helps you stay organized, you are less likely to forget items (less trips to the store saves money), and gets you in and out quicker.Use the unit price. Most people just look at the sticker price and completely ignore the unit price. The unit price gives you a price per amount (an ounce or pound for instance) and helps you compare different sizes and brands. There are many times I thought a sale item was a good price, until I used the unit price to compare the different sizes and brands. Focus your attention on the unit price, not the sticker price or sale price.Spend less time in the middle aisles and more time on the perimeter of the store. Most of the healthiest items are on the perimeter - fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and protein (meats and eggs). Shop the middle aisles for frozen and canned fruits/vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Spend very little time in the junk food aisles.Have a snack or meal before shopping. Shopping hungry is our worst energy - we end up with more food than we planned or unhealthy items. Do not be fooled by the end-of-aisle displays. They are not always the best bargain. If you find an item you like, go to the section it would normally be at and compare the unit prices. Be realistic about what you will eat. Food waste is a huge expense for many of us. Maybe you know you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but also know that your family will not eat great amounts of them. You could buy smaller amounts and increase each week to help your family eat more healthy foods, but if you just end up throwing them away, it is not worth the extra expense.While you are at it, park further away from the entrance. A little extra activity is good for all of us.  What other tips do you use at the grocery store?

Everyone has to shop at the grocery store here and there. Even if you eat at restaurants, you have to go to the store sometimes. So, here are some of my favorite grocery shopping tips to make your experience a little easier and to help save some money.

Plan ahead. I cannot stress how important this is! Use the store ads to plan your meals around the sales for the week. Check to see what items you have and what you need for the meals. For example, if large packages of chicken are a good special this week, plan a meal or few meals around chicken. You can even cook it once and refrigerate it until you will use it. Or you can freeze part of it for later.Make a list. The more time you spend in the store wandering around, the more money you will likely spend. A list helps you stay organized, you are less likely to forget items (less trips to the store saves money), and gets you in and out quicker.Use the unit price. Most people just look at the sticker price and completely ignore the unit price. The unit price gives you a price per amount (an ounce or pound for instance) and helps you compare different sizes and brands. There are many times I thought a sale item was a good price, until I used the unit price to compare the different sizes and brands. Focus your attention on the unit price, not the sticker price or sale price.Spend less time in the middle aisles and more time on the perimeter of the store. Most of the healthiest items are on the perimeter - fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and protein (meats and eggs). Shop the middle aisles for frozen and canned fruits/vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Spend very little time in the junk food aisles.Have a snack or meal before shopping. Shopping hungry is our worst energy - we end up with more food than we planned or unhealthy items. Do not be fooled by the end-of-aisle displays. They are not always the best bargain. If you find an item you like, go to the section it would normally be at and compare the unit prices. Be realistic about what you will eat. Food waste is a huge expense for many of us. Maybe you know you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but also know that your family will not eat great amounts of them. You could buy smaller amounts and increase each week to help your family eat more healthy foods, but if you just end up throwing them away, it is not worth the extra expense.While you are at it, park further away from the entrance. A little extra activity is good for all of us.  What other tips do you use at the grocery store?