8 Grocery Store Hacks That'll Save You So Much Money & Time While You're Shopping

by Caroline Burke

Adulting can be hard. You have to do all of these errands all the time, you barely have time for them, and the last thing you want to do anyways after a long day of work is to go to an overcrowded grocery store and wait in a long line with a bunch of uncooked ingredients. But if you have a few grocery store hacks up your sleeve, you might just make it through the week with a stocked (enough) fridge, and no late night food orders.

It's not just the act of getting to the grocery store, though; it's figuring out how to get what you actually need, rather than a hodge-podge of well-advertised cookies and exotic vegetables that look more like cartoon characters than anything you'd want to eat. The art of grocery shopping is all about efficiency and vision — you can quote me on that.

Once you know a few basic staples to the proper grocery lifestyle, shopping for food will be way less miserable, way less expensive, and you'll spend way less time overall in that massive fluorescent warehouse stuffed with rotisserie chickens. Here are eight easy hacks to save you time and money at the grocery store.

Write A List (Before You Leave The Apartment!)

Before you're in the grocery store, write down a list of what you need for the week, and try to ensure that the list is complete before you go shopping. That way, you'll have a plan, and you'll end up with a series of meals, rather than a bunch of fragmented ingredients that catch your eye.

Buy Your Cheese From The Dairy Aisle, Not The Deli

Some grocery stores are actually sketchy enough to take cheese from the big dairy section and mark it up to a higher price in the deli section.

So, now that you know how truly evil your grocery store is, make it a point to buy your cheese from the dairy aisle, where you'll be able to make the best comparisons for reasonably priced slices of heaven — I mean, cheese.

Go For What's In Season

This is a great grocery shopping hack, but also an awesome decision for your overall health: Buying your fruits and veggies based off of a seasonal rotation is the best way to ensure that you're paying for products that are both reasonably priced (since they weren't shipped thousands of miles... I'm looking at you, avocados) and not drenched in potentially harmful pesticides.

Buy Your Chicken In Family Packs

If you buy your chicken in bulk, you can freeze the chicken you're not going to eat immediately and store it in plastic baggies filled with marinade. That way, when you're ready for your next dose of protein, you'll be working with some pre-marinated deliciousness that you can thaw quickly and throw onto the pan.

Shop The Perimeter Aisles Of The Grocery Store

This is the ultimate rule of thumb when grocery shopping: Try to shop the outside of the store as much as possible without venturing into the middle aisles.

There are two reasons for this. First, the outside aisles that frame a grocery store are traditionally where fruits, veggies, meats, and fresh grains are kept — aka the healthiest ingredients, which should ideally make up the majority of your list anyway. Secondly, it's a marketing ploy: Grocery stores are literally designed to funnel you into the middle aisles so that you wander up and down, buying things you don't necessarily want or need. Fight the power, and stick to the perimeter.

Avoid Pre-Chopped Fruits And Veggies

I know, I know. That package of pre-halved and seasoned Brussels sprouts looks yummy as hell. But it's also going to be way more expensive than if you were to buy the same amount of sprouts and cut them up yourself at home, which would take you just a few minutes more of your time.

Pre-cut fruits and veggies are not only more expensive, they're a waste of plastic packaging when you could just be getting the fruits whole and chopping them at home. I promise, chopping up your own food isn't as hard as you think it is.

Store Your Herbs Properly

There's nothing more annoying than buying a big handful of cilantro, using a sprinkle of it for dinner, then opening the fridge two days later to find it totally withered and useless.

To keep your herbs fresh, store them in cups of water, cover them with plastic wrap, and tie an elastic band around the cup. This will allow you to use that cilantro again and again, without having to buy it at the store for the umpteenth time in one week.

Waste Less

Sometimes, the best way to save money has nothing to do with what you're purchasing, and way more to do with how you're using what you already have.

Try to cut down your food waste by paying attention to serving sizes and making a point not to overcook. Most recipes suggest serving sizes that can feed up to four people, so before you start cooking, actually think about how much will be consumed and how much will end up being thrown away.