At Fiscal Fitness, we’re always looking for ways to help our clients save money. And we know groceries can be a big expense. We’ve seen plenty of clients spend more than they planned on groceries. Those little impulse buys can certainly add up. And we get it. We’re not immune to the allure of buy one get one free Oreos.

But we want to help you make sure your routine trips to the grocery store are derailing some of your bigger financial goals. So here are our top eight tips for saving money at the grocery store:

  1. Combine sales and coupons. With a bit of planning, you can get items for FREE or nearly free. Review the weekly ads to see which of your favorite items are on sale. More than likely, if you’ve been collecting coupons for a few weeks, you will have a matching coupon. We have a client who paid $8 for $56 of groceries. So it is possible and you don’t have to be an extreme couponer to make it happen.

  2. Stock up. Coupons and sales are cyclical, lasting on average every 6-8 weeks or longer. Take advantage of the combined sale and coupon and stock up on your favorite items once they go below their regular retail price.

  3. Customer Loyalty Rewards. Using a grocery store loyalty card offers additional savings beyond coupons or manufacturer sales. 10 items for $10 or buy one, get one are popular sales for cardholders only.

  4. Meat on Sale: Meat is expensive to purchase. Check your local ads for the best deals. For example, Albertson’s often has meat on sale for buy two, get one or buy one, get two for FREE. It’s a great way to stock up on meat at a reasonable price.

  5. Stick to buying food.  Purchase personal items like shampoo and razors at a drug store like Walgreens or CVS. You’re likely to find bigger savings on those products there than you will at your local grocery. We realize it’s probably more convenient to stock up on everything in one place, but unless you can buy those items on sale or with coupons, it’s better for your budget to make a separate trip.

  6. Meal Plan and Go with a List. Meal planning is going to save you time and money at the grocery store. When you hit the grocery store with a meal plan, you’ll have a list to work off of. It will be easier to focus on purchasing only the things on your list and you’ll feel it everytime you throw an item in your cart that isn’t on your list.

  7. Use Cash. C’mon, you knew that one was coming! When you use a debit or credit card for ANY purchase, you spend at least 10% more than if you used cash. And yes, this is true even at the grocery store.

  8. Don’t Go Hungry. If you grocery shop while you’re hungry, you’re more likely to buy items that are unhealthy and that you don’t need. Have a protein packed snack and a bottle of water before you head out to the store.

What are your best grocery shopping savings tips? Let us know in the comments.

And if you feel like your grocery bill is derailing your budget, check out this episode of the Fiscal Fitness Podcast: Are You Eating all Your Money Away?