Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

Grocery shopping can feel like a live-action video game sometimes.


There's the same kind of pressure to optimize your time, to grab all the hidden items, to challenge what's lurking behind every corner, and sometimes the floor splits open to reveal lava pools.

While only some of these are factual, there is a feeling to do well every time you go shopping. Find the best deals? Get the freshest items? Spend the least amount of time there? How can it be done?

Reddit user, u/JustSoHappy, wanted to know how to make the best out their next shopping trip when they asked:

What are your best grocery store hacks?

Go in mentally ready, physically prepared, and don't let your stomach decide.

Don't Let Your Stomach Decide

"Always eat before you shop so you don't buy stuff just cause you're hungry"

SushiAndCoochie

"I make the worst grocery store decisions if I haven't eaten. Seriously even just a handful of peanuts makes the difference between "stuff that's on the list + a logical set of ingredients for dinner" and "well I managed to get 7 different snacks and partial components for 3 different meals".

InannasPocket

Map Out Your Route And Don't Deviate

"Take a list"

Okno-rose

"Preferably, make that list in the order of your route through the store."

Runnin4Scissors

For The Love Of All That Is Holy, Stay Away From Sundays

"I worked grocery for 16 years. Usually late evenings in the middle of the week are the slowest and best time to shop."

Klaus_Heisler87

From Someone On The Inside

"As a grocery store worker, here's one for you shoppers."

"Park your cart on the same side of the aisle you're looking at, that way you're not blocking the entire aisle."

domnyy

Sometimes, the numbers do add up.

Don't buy things willy-nilly, or let yourself be captivated by "Sale" signs. Do a little bit of extra math and you can find how deep the savings go.

Talk To Them

"You can negotiate with your local butcher about the prices of the meat. Sometimes I get extremely cheap cuts of meat because they're going to expire soon. If I'm cooking it tonight, who cares?"

DJCyaniide

Do The Math

"Pay attention to price per ounce, not just price per package."

CDMT22

"This is the ultimate hack. The biggest pack isn't always the cheapest. Pay attention to unit cost, and spend a few extra seconds figuring out the price when the same product type presents units differently - sometimes soda will have a fl.oz. price (or ml), and sometimes per can cost. Do a little math and save yourselves some cash."

jacobsadder

Go For The Back

"Buy the bread at the back of the rack behind the other bread... it's normally freshest"

atticuslodius

"This. I actually had the job of organizing the bread from oldest to newest. The way they did it is the color of the twisty represented what day of the week it was delivered. Even after not working there for a while I would buy bread according to the color of the twisty."

startinearly

Getting Ready For The Year

"I check clearance 100% of the time I go to the store - almost all departments have a clearance section and I am famous for stocking up on vitamins, cold meds, toys and stocking stuffers throughout the year. Often times i get a discount of 70-90%."

expressoyourself1

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Saving Is Always Good, No Matter Where You Are

"When possible buy at the farmers market or farm stand, significantly fresher and significantly cheaper than the grocery store."

Lumbahfoot

All in all, a little bit of extra help can go a long way when you go shopping.

Follow In Marge's Footsteps

"I learned and adapted mine from The Simpsons."

Apu: Uh, Mrs. Simpson, the express line is the fastest line not always. That old man up front, he is starved for attention. He will talk the cashier's head off. Let's go to... that line.

Marge: But that's the longest.

Apu: Yes, but look-- all pathetic single men. Only cash, no chitchat.

"Taught me to pay attention to who else was buying and what. I've saved myself a lot of queuing by choosing the long line of people with baskets rather than going for the one with one person with a trolley."

leftovercherrypie

Read The Fine Print

"The 2 for $5 dollars doesnt always mean you have to buy 2 of them. Just means they are 2.50 each. (theyll usually state "must buy 2 or 2.99 each othewise.)"

dontworryitsme4real

Let The Children Do The Work

"My best 'hack' was bringing my daughter shopping with me every single week starting from when she was around 7 years old. Over time, she learned to coupon, do quick math in her head, compare ounces in packages, and really find good deals. She was also great at running to other side of store to get something I forgot! And of course, the bonding. We did that together all the time until she graduated high school, so over 10 years. I miss my grocery store partner so much. By the way, she is in college now and she is an excellent shopper, and always seeks out smart deals!"

"TL;DR Take your kids to the store with you from a young age and make it a habit."

lymantoadstool

Make Them Do Things. Seriously.

"If you have teenagers and/or a partner, split up the work. Send everyone to get a different batch of things. Or better yet, order online and pick up. Depending on where you are, find out when they discount meat. Ours does it on Monday nights."

Trolltollhouse

A Few Tips

"Go in the morning to the meat department, they should have marked down meat 30-50% off. Eat it for dinner that same day."

"Dairy is rotated, so the fresher stuff is towards the back. Check those milk dates! Also, open the packages of eggs to make sure they are not cracked."

"If you eat frozen food, make sure the store you visit doesn't have freezers that always break. It seriously messes up the quality of the food."

"Bakery items are usually over stocked. There will be marked down sweets!"

"If they have a Deli, find out when they close. They throw away all the chicken that is not sold. If you ask for some before they bagged it up, they might give you extra."

IgnorantGenius

Science Is Amazing

"Frozen veggies are often just as good as fresh. Especially green beans, peas and corn. Never buy canned except like mushrooms, beans or olives."

"The leafy greens in plastic wilt faster. Lettuce and cabage heads on the stem thing last much longer (realistically this goes for all greens). Avoid those plastic tubs and bags unless you need arugola or something."

"Dont buy baby carrot. They're just large carrots that have been trimmed down to snack size for marketing. They should not exist and are a sin against food. Just cut the damn carrots."

"If you don't eat rice fast enough, don't buy the huge 20lb bags or whatever. They can get contaminated with rice weevils if left to sit."

"Bread freezes surprisingly well if you defrost them slowly in the fridge the day before needed."

"Besides these, I feel like all the tips I have are more about cooking than grocery stores."

FrostByte62

Grocery shopping doesn't have to be a challenge to your patience or your wallet. Follow some of these hacks and you're sure to find the inner peace wandering the aisles that you seek.

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