10 Strategies for smarter grocery shopping

Clean-up on aisle 10: We’re spilling our favourite ways to save time and money (and your sanity) at the supermarket.
Published December 22, 2021

Maze-like aisles. Long lines. A dizzying amount of alternative milks. Shopping for groceries can sometimes feel like a real-life version of Supermarket Sweep. (Minus the fun and prizes.) So we're ringing up our 10 favourite tips for making it less stressful and more fruitful—for your wallet and your well-being.

Before You Shop

Make a meal plan

We’ve all gone to Target for one thing...and come home with 10. To reduce your risk of rolling home with five bags of Peeps and veggies, make a list ahead of time—and make it strategic by basing it on a meal plan. Think about what you're going to cook for the week ahead, then take inventory of what you already have and what you actually need to buy. This way, you’ll shop more efficiently and be less likely to impulse-buy, explains Leslie Fink, MS, RD, nutritionist and recipe editor at WeightWatchers.

Scope out the specials

Who doesn’t love a great deal? But buying something just because it’s on sale could steer you off track. Instead, look at your store’s weekly specials while you meal plan. And if you’re not sure how you might incorporate certain on-sale items, use the “What’s in Your Fridge?” feature in the WeightWatchers app. Select the ingredients and you’ll see all the tasty recipes you can make with them.

Build your list based on layout

Try organizing your list by where items are located in your grocery store. This will shave time off your trip (no more doubling back to the produce section for a lone avocado) and help you stick with your planned meals and snacks.

Have a backup

One thing your fridge should always be stocked with? An easy, fuss-free meal you can turn to on nights you're tired, stressed, overwhelmed, or all of the above. It’s that much easier to stick to your plan when you have the ingredients to back you up.

Don’t go hungry

You might feel tempted to grab all of the baked goods if it’s been a while since your last bite. To prevent your grumbling stomach from leading you off-script, Fink recommends scheduling your next trip after lunch or stashing a protein bar in your bag.

Get rewarded

To max out on savings, enroll in your go-to store’s rewards program before you shop. While the perks differ based on where you go, you may be able to earn points for every dollar you spend, access special pricing, and more.

When You’re at the Store

Use the WeightWatchers barcode scanner

If you want to try a new food but you’re not sure how it’ll fit within your Budget, open the WeightWatchers app and take advantage of the barcode scanner. This is a great way to see the Points® value of any packaged food in seconds and help you decide what works best for you.

Check yourself out

Chocolate bars in the checkout lane calling your name? Opt for self-checkout, Fink says. While the sweets may still be displayed near the register, you’ll be too busy scanning and bagging to think about them.