10 Strategies for Smarter Grocery Shopping

Clean-up on aisle 10: We’re spilling our favorite ways to save time and money (and your sanity) at the supermarket.
Published November 9, 2021

Clean-up on aisle 10: We’re spilling our favorite ways to save time and money (and your sanity) at the supermarket.

Maze-like aisles. Long lines. A dizzying amount of alternative mylks. 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 favorite 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. Not sure where to start? This shopping list covers the basics.

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. For more pre-shopping snack inspo, check out 25 of our favorite healthier snack ideas.

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 Points 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.

Can’t stock up in person?

Get groceries delivered

Who says you have to shop IRL? Services like Amazon Fresh, Peapod, Instacart, and FreshDirect bring groceries right to your front door, and certain national chains, including Walmart and Aldi, offer curbside pickup. You can also opt for a recurring delivery of certain items each month like fresh produce or meat.

Try a meal kit

Sometimes you don’t have time to think about what to cook for dinner, let alone make it to the store. We get it. In that case, consider outsourcing all planning and shopping with a meal delivery service—all you need to do is follow the instructions and supply the kitchen gear.

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