Step 1: Have a snack. If you hit the grocery story on an empty stomach, there is a grave danger that by aisle 4, you’ll be hungry enough to think that those glow-in-the-dark Hostess Sno Balls (yes, they actually exist) look like something you’d want to swallow. Save yourself! Eat an apple first.
Step 2: Make a list and stick to it. Impulse buys rarely include good-for-you foods. Honestly, which would you be more likely to toss into your cart on a whim: a bag of potato chips or a bag of potatoes? Right, thought so. Which is more expensive? Yep, doubly thought so.
Step 3: Shop the perimeter. Think of the grocery store the same way you’d think of a male model. Everything you should be putting in your mouth is on the outside, and there’s hardly anything of substance on the inside. You’ll generally find veggies on one end, meat in the back, and dairy on the other end. Everything in between is more skippable (and expensive).
Step 4: Buy seasonally. The farther fruits and veggies have to travel to get to you, the more expensive (and less tasty) they’ll be. Opt for locally grown produce, which will be nicer on your wallet and your taste buds.
More Nifty Tips
• Markups on prepared-for-you foods are sky-high, so to save money, buy a block of cheese instead of the shredded stuff; a whole chicken, instead of boneless breasts; a bunch of spinach, rather than prewashed leaves.
• Opt for store brands over name brands; they generally have the same nutritional content.