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People Share Their Best Grocery Store Hacks

It’s becoming increasingly clear we’re all going to need to learn how to stretch every food dollar we have as far as possible.

Whether you’re preparing for a post-societal-collapse-dystopia, impending depression (financial or personal; we don’t judge) or you just like NOT spending money you don’t have to, this article is a useful one.

So get ready to take screenshots. Remember to actually use them later.

Let’s get into it.

Reddit user JustSoHappy asked:

“What are your best grocery store hacks?” 

People came out of the woodwork with advice on this one.

It seems like nobody “just shops” anymore. It’s a whole production with prep time and everything!

The Basics

“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.’ “

“Hungry me cannot complete the task at hand.”

– InannasPocket

Do It Santa Style

“Make a list. Take the list. Stick to the list.” 

– Okno-rose

“Check it twice.”

– EternalGhandi

“My wife and I make our list on Reminders. I always reorganize the list in order of the store route to make it easier to keep track of things.” 

“If it’s in route order, it prevents you from having to run back across the store again, past that display of stuff you don’t need but is on sale so maybe you should just grab…” 

“Put it in order and check it off as you go.”

–  Haquistadore

The Night Before

“Join their membership club and actually use it.”

“The night before shopping I go on the stores website and add the coupons to my club card as well as any points I’ve earned so I get money off.”

– TimeTraveler3056

Divide And Conquer

“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.”

– Trolltollhouse

“My best ‘hack’ was bringing my daughter shopping with me every single week starting from when she was around 7 years old.”

“I’m a dad who does all the shopping and cooking, and having my little sidekick made it so much easier and more fun.”

“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!”

– lymantoadstool

The Ultimate Hack

“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

“Please also consider your actual consumption and the expiration date.”

“Bigger pack might have a better value, but that amounts to nothing or worse if half of it turns inedible before you can finish it.”

– suddenefficiencydrop

Timing Is Everything

“I worked grocery for 16 years.”

“Usually late evenings in the middle of the week are the slowest and best time to shop. Close to closing on a Wednesday.”

– Klaus_Heisler87

“Late Friday nights.”

“Everything is stocked for Saturday, but there’s no other shoppers in the store.”

– Macracanthorhynchus

“For me, it was near the end of the day on Saturdays and Sundays.”

– BePostiveeveryday

Let’s Talk Veggies

“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 cabbage heads on the stem thing last much longer (realistically this goes for all greens).”

“Avoid those plastic tubs and bags unless you need arugula or something.”

“Don’t buy baby carrots.”

“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.”

– FrostByte62

Clearance

“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

“100% this.”

“I go into the store with a rough idea of some meals, based on which expensive components I can get for cheap and improvise from there.”

“First stop is the protein clearance section, next stop is the veggie clearance, then bakery & dry goods clearance. Fill in the blanks from there.”

“So I may have gone in thinking we will do tacos one night, but whether that is beef / pork / bean / etc will depend on what’s cheap. Same with a pasta dish.”

“Once you get good at cooking and shopping, every trip is like your own personal version of Chopped mixed with Guys grocery games. I live a wild life.”

– nigelisacat

The Hack Is Humanity

“Work grocery, retail. We constantly save things for employees that we know sell quickly, and staff don’t get a chance to buy.”

“We scrap, and repack, discount cold/dry freight, and save for employees.”

“So, make friends with your local scrap certified associate, and ask them if they think an item can be discounted. Not too high of a pricey item, but some small things.” 

“I once had a regular say the bananas were really ripe, and wondered if we had a policy of marking down produce. So, I marked down some barely ripened, still pretty green bananas for him (cashier I told him to use didn’t say anything because he’s a homie.)”

“Another time, another of our regulars asked me about the quality of our mandarin oranges. I scrapped 4 individual oranges from 4 bags, and repackaged them into one.”

“We do this for our staff all the time.”

“My best grocery hack? Be a human being to retail workers, and we’ll make sure you can reap the benefits.”

“I know a lot of people hate the idea of working a minimum wage retail job, but I’ve had some wonderful experiences. And, to be honest, I love it when I see my regulars, and enjoy talking to them, even if it eats into my available working hours.”

“Those warm regulars are the type of people that are the reason I keep that minimum wage job. I love interacting, talking, and being with people.”

“I always feel so good after working with some customers that it boosts my mood, and I’m sure my work performance. I know it’s a low wage whatever job, but I take pride in all the smiling faces when I’m faced with stress.”

– FMewithAnA10

My personal favorite hack is to use a grocery store with a rewards card and BOGO the crap out of your staples.

Having that extra box of pasta, bit of rice, or can of beans is sometimes exactly the life-saver you need.

You’ve heard Reddit, now it’s your turn.

Written by Erica Diaz

Have you ever read something where you just KNOW the writer talks with their hands, does the sound effects, and would bust out a little dance if it suited the story?

That's Erica.

She's a colorful storyteller whose sense of humor and fearless honesty make a big impact. Her rants might go for the emotional jugular, hit your funny bone, or shock you and your mama out of your fajas. Usually it's all three.

Often chronicling her life in Florida, her stories are full of characters like "Bikini Rifle Lady", "Mariachi Neighbor," and "Barbara The NextDoor Evangelist." There's almost always a message in the madness, and that's what people connect with most.

Also her deep and undying love for Tevin Campbell.

You can find more of her work at www.EricaFazio.com