After a million terrible shopping trips and so many that ended in disaster, I’ve finally learned a few tips and tricks that make my shopping trips more effective, less expensive, and just overall a better experience. Here are 30 ways that help me.

When I was first married one of the best skills I learned was to meal plan. I remember a neighbor friend who had been married for years came over and taught me about meal planning and gave me a few recipes. Before I was married I didn’t live on my own so learning to consistently meal plan was such a helpful skill!

Once I started popping out kids I dreaded going to grocery store. I used to be a couponer. I’d find all the sales and go prepared with my file folder of coupons. This made my trips go longer. To make it harder, my husband worked long hours which meant I had to take the kids with me.

My kids would fight, ask for EVERYTHING, and spill anything possible. I’d give them string cheese and somehow they would manage to make mess of it. I’ve lost kids in the aisles *gasp* and started bawling in public because my kids were throwing tantrums.

With all of these factors, I’ve been stoked to be able to find a service like Macey’s Anywhere. Macey’s Anywhere is a online shopping service available at all 12 locations. You can shop and pick out your food online and they will collect all the items and have them bagged and waiting when you come to the store. AMAZING!! They can also bring it out to the car. Use ‘CANARY’ to try it out and get $10 off any $30 purchase.

These kinds of services and tips have saved me many headaches. So here is a list of ways to make it through the store that I’ve put together that can save you money and your sanity.

HOW TO MAKE SURVIVE YOUR GROCERY SHOPPING TRIP

1. Online Pickup such as Macey’s Anywhere
2. Coupons.com allows you to print out manufacturers coupons or load them to a loyalty card
3. Make a meal plan for the next two weeks and try to get everything from the list.
4. FavorCart is an app that allows you to exchange errands and favors with your friends
5. Check for coupon and sale matchups
6. Don’t shop on an empty stomach!
7. Eat produce that’s in season
8. Categorize your shopping list by type and location within the store
9. Some grocery stores offer a free piece of fruit/cookies at the bakery for your kids to eat while you shop.
10. Allow your kids to help you make shopping decisions.
11. Check specials and sales before shopping.
12. Bring colored cards or paint chips to let your kids find items matching the color
13. Let your kids count cereal, bananas, or soup cans once you place them in the cart.
14. Always eat snack before shopping and likewise make sure your kids have eaten too.
15. Bring some water while you shop.
16. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
17. Buy yourself a treat at the beginning so you have something to munch on. Shopping is hard work. Plus if you are munching on a treat you’ll be less likely to buy other junk food.
18. For kids bring an ipad or large toys that cannot fit through the cart.
19. Listen to calm music with headphones. Make your shopping trip a little more relaxing.
20. Ibotta is an awesome app that lets you earn online rebates just by scanning your receipt
21. Avoid the toy aisle
22. Think about timing. Weekends and evenings are usually busier. Think about when is the best time for you to shop. If you’re a morning person, shop then. If you love late nights, go after the kids go to bed. Or, if it’s easiest, go when the kids are in school.
23. Buy discounted/expired items that you can use within a day or two. Sometimes this date is just suggested by the FDA and the food is still good to eat. Look the guidelines up online
24. If you are shopping with kids, be ok to go home in the mid-trip. Nothing is more frustrating than kids acting out and mommy upset, leaving everyone upset afterward.
25. Keep track as much as possible of how much your groceries are going to cost so it isn’t a shocker at the register. It’s easy to do this on a smartphone!
26. Watch the register as you check out. You never know when something will ring up with the wrong price or twice.
27. Know when your store restocks produce so you always get it when it is fresh. You can call them to find out when that is.
28. If you are bringing children, always brings lots of diapers and wipes (not just for changing diapers, but for spills and snack messes)
29. Check the dairy counters. Sometimes fresh cheese is cheaper than cheese from the refrigerator section.
30. Find a rhythm that works for you. If you like to do a big shopping trip, go for it. If it’s easier, do small trips throughout the week. But make a plan and stick to it so you have everything you need and can enjoy your trips!

I hope one of these tips helps you when you need to go grocery shopping. Comment with any tricks you have or questions you have for me. And, as always, have the very best week!