It’s Sunday, and for a lot of us that means we’ll be heading out into the torture that is the overcrowded grocery store. It can get pretty chaotic once you get in there, but that’s nothing compared to the usual battle you go through no matter when you head inside, the battle that involves your wallet. However, there are a few things you can do that will not only speed along your grocery trip but also save you some money. So for those of us heading to the store tonight for our weekly shopping trip, here are some smart ideas to keep in mind.

Never Go Shopping While Hungry

You’ve probably heard someone tell you at least once that going into a grocery store while hungry is a terrible idea, but whether you considered it or not it’s one of the soundest pieces of advice you can ever receive. The simple truth is that when we’re hungry, we make quick choices, especially considering food. Usually no matter your resolve, when you’re starving, your stomach will convince your brain that you need more food items as everything will suddenly look delicious. Going in after a meal or when you’re quite content is a much better tactic for saving money and avoiding bad food decisions.

Bring a List and Cash

The biggest pitfall of grocery shopping is impulse buying. It’s bad when you’re hungry, but it’s worse if you just feel the need to make excuses for yourself. At least there’s a definite reason when you’re hungry as your body is screaming to buying any and every food product that comes along, but when you’re “sober” you’re just allowing yourself to continue bad and costly choices. One of the best ways to avoid this is to first, make a strict list of what you’ll need, and second to bring only enough for groceries in cash. Definitely have enough to cover any other important discovery you make or to compensate if something ends up costing more than you thought, but going in with limitations will keep you from straying from your list or spending more than what’s in your pocket.

Look for Store Brands

We tend to assume that the name brands for every product is the best, and why wouldn’t we? That’s what all those commercials, billboards, advertisements, and iconic mascots are there to tell us! But with the majority of food items, the off brands and especially the store brands are typically cheaper and, unsurprisingly, the same quality as the name brand. Take canned vegetables. I can tell you for a fact that the majority of the vegetables you see in any given grocery store are canned in the exact same factory, then given different labels as orders come in. Most of the time it’s the brand that costs money, which is why advertisements go nuts trying to convince you that one brand is better than the other. In the end, they’re just beans. Er, assuming you’re shopping for canned beans.

Buy In Bulk

If you’re able to track your shopping needs well enough, you can avoid coming back into the store more than you need by simply by stocking up at the beginning of the month rather than week-to-week. Not only do you learn to conserve what you have better, you spend less time in the grocery store in general, which is the main concern. Studies have proven that the longer you stay in a grocery store, the more likely you are to purchase more, which seems obvious as it’s not like you’re just sitting in a corner reading a magazine, but the concept is still the same. If you’re not in the store, then you can’t buy more stuff. Simple and effective, so plan ahead to keep yourself out of it as much as possible.

Use a Basket Rather Than a Cart

If you aren’t going the route of stockpiling, one of the best pieces of advice I can pass on is the insistence that you use a basket rather than a cart. Part of this is that you can burn more calories carrying around a basket as opposed to a shopping cart and part of this is because it again puts restrictions again into what you can buy since you can only carry so much, but the biggest plus, at least for me, is how quickly it can turn you into a grocery ninja. Again, speeding up your trip not only saves you time but it also saves you money, so going into a store with the ability to squeeze through any aisle at a rapid pace is wonderful. Trust me on this one, you’ll be so happy you have the ability to maneuver into and out of any space rather than having to wait your turn with your shopping cart.

Grocery shopping can be stressful, but it can also be a simple and painless little errand. It’s all up to you how difficult you’d like to make it on yourself! So good luck with that and happy Sunday!