How to Shop in a Grocery Store

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Heading to the grocery store to pick up a few things? Before loading the kiddos into the car, think about how you can improve your grocery shopping habits. Not only can you save time and money by knowing how to behave in a grocery store, you can also save yourself some aggravation. Grab your cart, not the one with the wobbly wheel, and let's go shopping!

Things You'll Need

  • Shopping list
  • Coupons

Preparing to Grocery Shop

  • Eat before you head to the grocery store. Nothing will make you behave "badly" at the grocery store more than a growling tummy. If you leave right after breakfast or dinner, you won't be hungry and you'll be able to avoid the crowds. Make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to shop and get back before your favorite TV show comes on.

  • Save the local grocery store flyers and coupons from the mail or newspaper. Read through these advertisements for bargains and then plan your menu for the week around these sales.

  • Clip the coupons you will need and only bring the ones for items you plan on purchasing. Extra coupons will only tempt you to buy too much because it is such a bargain, even if you have no need for 16 rolls of toilet paper this week.

  • Check your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to see what you already have. No use buying extra pizzas if you have five sitting un-eaten in the freezer already.

  • Make your shopping list and add one or two items as treats. With treats on the list you won't be tempted to impulse-buy whatever is attractively displayed on the end of aisle 5. Your list should be arranged based on the location of items in the store. If you're not familiar with your grocery store's layout, ask customer service if they have a copy of their floor plan for customers or take a little notebook and make yourself a sketch of the store for next time.

Shopping at the Grocery Store

  • Shop the produce section first. Produce is usually located as soon as you pass the main entrance to the grocery store, so save your feet some walking by picking up your fruits and veggies first. Check all items for freshness and then place them in baggies.

  • Hit the staple items, located on shelves in the middle part of the grocery store. Pull out your coupons so you can make sure to get the correct items. Check that an item isn't cheaper if you buy an off-brand by checking unit price, not the listed price, since items may come in different size containers. Watch for damaged cans and boxes, which can lead to spoiled goods.

  • Look up or down for better bargains because the most expensive items are usually placed at eye level.

  • Go ahead and pick up your non-food items while you're getting your staples. Dog food, toiletries and such can be had for bargain prices without going to the discount store if you watch for specials and coupons.

  • Put on your jacket and roll on over to the refrigerated sections. As you purchase these perishable supplies, check expiration dates.

  • Pick up the frozen items last, right before you go to checkout. Don't forget the ice cream, one of the must-have treats on your list.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear comfortable shoes since grocery stores usually have linoleum flooring.
  • Bring a jacket if you plan on spending a lot of time in the freezer or refrigerated section.
  • Ask for help from sales clerks if you have a question, can't find an item, need a rain check on an out-of-stock sale item, or want them to special order something. They don't mind....really.

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