Everyone is looking for good, simple ways to save money without much trouble, and no place is that more apparent than in the grocery store. Some people go about looking for the cheapest items and come away with enough fluff to last them a few more days. But have you considered loading up ahead of time so that you don’t have to later? You might be surprised with how much you save in the long run! So then, here’s why stocking up at the store can actually save you money.

The biggest factor is the inability for many people to see past the present. They make a list that consists of what they need to get through the next couple of days and leave it at that, but this is actually a terrible way to play for both your needs and your budget. Just because you feel you have enough of a certain product now doesn’t mean you won’t need it eventually, especially if it is a non-perishable item like rice or toilet paper. Being smart about sales can save you a lot over the course of a few months, even if it feels like a large initial investment. For instance, if you end up purchasing 10 rolls of paper towels now while they’re on sale for 50 cents each, but you usually spend 80 cents, you just saved 30 cents times 10, or $3 total. Thinking for the future can cut costs here and there if done wisely.

Another part of this is that shopping for everything you need for the next whole month forces you to plan finances differently (read: smarter). Planning causes a budget, so when you know that you will be needing x amount of pasta and y number of potatoes, you’re better prepared for later on and specifically you’ll know how to limit what you really need a lot more effectively. Seeing everything all together at once can keep you from overspending a lot easier than making small purchases regularly. Dropping $150 at once will stop you from spending $40 five times a month.

Much of the problem comes down to impulse purchases as well. The less time you have to spend in a grocery store, the better, and making the one master list for the month means you’ll be in the store once rather than every few days. If you know yourself enough to realize that you’ll keep tossing things in your cart whenever you shop (that would be me), then you know yourself well enough to prevent this from happening.

Along with the impulse buying comes the other effect that comes with only buying for the short term: You run out of food quicker. Now, while this means you’ll have to go to the store more often, it also means that you’ll be dining out more frequently. Unless you’re planning grocery trips carefully ahead of time, you’ll usually discover that there’s nothing in your house to eat (or so you tell yourself), so you grab your coat and wallet and rush out the door to find the nearest tasty thing. Once a week isn’t the issue here, but finding yourself dining out every other day can add up incredibly quick.

In closing, the goal is to plan ahead so that you can prevent yourself from snap decisions that will cost you money. Chase sales on non-perishables, stock up, and keep yourself out of the stores and restaurants for as long as possible. Of course, if you have the money to go nuts, go right ahead. Also, could I borrow some? I’d really like to try this tasty bistro just down the street…