Spending Less, Eating Better – A Shopper’s Guide Part 3: At The Store


During the past two weeks we covered Spending Less, Eating Better – A Shopper’s Guide part 1:  “Before You Go To The Store” and part 2: “What To Buy”.  This week Part 3 will cover “At The Store”, steps to help you navigate the store and select healthy food while spending less.

1)  Know the store layout.  To maximize time spent in the store, become familiar with the layout of the store.

2)  Check for store specials/coupons when you enter the store.  Remember to use the coupons that you brought with you to the store.

3)  Try the store brands.  The store brands are often just as good as brand names and a lot cheaper since you don’t pay for advertising costs.

4)  Use unit pricing.  For example, $2.40 for 12 ozs  is .20/oz.  For comparison, use this unit pricing to determine whether or not a 16 oz can would be a better choice.  Net weight includes liquid in the can.

5)  Compare both cost, quantity and processing form.  Compare prices of fresh, frozen and canned fruits.  Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season for more variety and better price; frozen and canned when not in season.

6)  Read the labels.  Look for Nutrition Facts: serving size, servings per container, amount per serving, and nutrient content.

7)  See the ingredient list.  Ingredients are listed under the Nutrition Facts label.  The ingredients are listed by weight from the most to the least amount in the product.

8)  Watch the expiration dates.  Watch the expiration dates of your coupons as well as the food products.  Check dates for freshness – dates on packages tell you when a food was packed or the last day the store can sell it.  Some foods may be reduced in price if the sell by date is close.  This may be a cost savings to you if you plan to use the food promptly or freeze it.

10)  Buy in bulk.  Buy in bulk if it’s a product you use frequently and if you have the storage space or if you only need a small amount of product and prefer not to buy a large quantity.

11)  Stock up on sale items.  If your budget allows and you have the space available, stocking up on sale items (especially staples) is a money saver.

12)  Start a home garden.  Buy seeds and starter plants and grow your own vegetables.  Fresh & Natural Foods have these available each season.

13)  Check your store receipt for accuracy.  Check that your receipt reflects accurate prices especially for sale items.  Count your change before you leave the store.  These steps may save you time and money in the long run.


Lots of steps to remember, yet by practicing week after week, these steps will become a regular habit.  Next week will be Part 4:  “When You Get Home”.

Author: Michelle Hanson

Michelle Hanson, MA, RD, LD is Fresh & Natural Food’s Registered Dietitian. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics with a minor in Community Health from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She is a registered dietitian and current member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Michelle has been a nutrition consultant for numerous years as well as a nutrition research director at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Michelle is passionate about food and nutrition and believes in helping people find simple, realistic ways to make healthy eating a part of their everyday lifestyle.
If you are interested in meeting Michelle or have questions for her, you can email her at: michelle@fnfoods.com. She will look forward to meeting you!