8 strategies for smarter supermarket shopping

Clean-up on aisle 10: we’re spilling our favourite ways to save time and money (and your sanity!) at the supermarket.
Published 14 November, 2021

Maze-like aisles. Long lines. A dizzying amount of alternative milks. Food shopping can sometimes feel like a real-life version of Supermarket Sweep. (Minus the fun and prizes.) So we're ringing up our ten favourite tips for making it less stressful and more fruitful, for both your wallet and your wellbeing.

Before you shop

1. Make a meal plan

We’ve all gone to the shops for one thing...and come home with ten. To reduce your risk of rolling home with five bags bursting at the seams, 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 (use the WW app and/or cookbooks to plan) 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 WW.

2. 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 supermarket’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 WW app. Select the ingredients and you’ll see all the tasty recipes you can make with them.

3. Build your list based on layout

Try organising your list by where items are located in your local supermarket. This will shave time off your trip (no more doubling back to the fruit and veg aisle for a lone avocado) and help you stick with your planned meals and snacks.

4. Have a backup meal

One thing your fridge should always be stocked with? An easy, fuss-free meal you can turn to on nights when 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.

5. 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.

6. Get rewarded

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

When you’re at the supermarket

7. Use the WW barcode scanner

If you want to try a new food but you’re not sure how it’ll fit with your Budget, open the WW 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.

8. Opt for self-checkout

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.