Here are the top supermarket hacks to save time, money

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Whether you're picking up a few items for dinner, prepping for a house full of guests or engineering meals for your family, a trip to the grocery store can come with its challenges.

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Once customers find that coveted parking spot, which is unequivocally harder on any given Sunday, shoppers have to brace for a slew of shoppers pushing carts in every direction once they enter the store. Then comes the challenge of remembering everything on your list while making a point not to overspend. On top of that, we are now navigating a time when congregating in a grocery store isn't ideal due to the risks associated with COVID-19.

Luckily, there are shopping hacks, of which can be applied across the board, which can help save shoppers both time and money.

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Here are a few strategies to follow while gathering the items on that long list for the next time you venture out:

1. Purchase products by the case

Purchasing in bulk may help you save out in the end. According to Krazy Coupon Lady, purchasing items by the case can lead to a discount that may vary depending on the store. For example, WinCo will offer a discount of up to 5 percent off on their bulk food items as long as you pre-order a full case or sack of the given item, the outlet reported. Meanwhile, Whole Foods may offer up to 10 percent off if you buy a case, Krazy Coupon Lady reported.

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2. Never shop hungry

Not only does shopping while hungry provide a big distraction, but it may also be quite an expensive habit. According to Taste of Home, shoppers will be tempted to buy products they don't need. Additionally, past research indicates that shopping on an empty stomach can also provoke shoppers to grab for all sorts of junk food, Reuters reported.

3. Shop at wholesale clubs for free

Shoppers can venture into Costco without a membership — as long as they have a gift card, according to Krazy Coupon Lady.  If you buy a gift card or receive one for any given amount, you are allowed to shop the aisles of the store without the coveted membership card, according to the outlet.

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4. Reusable bags will save you money

Retailers across the nation are pushing shoppers to bring reusable bags. In many cases, these bags may save you money once it comes time to check out. According to the Krazy Coupon Lady, Target will give customers 5 cents off if they bring a bag instead of using plastic bags from the store. Other major grocers including Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, have mimicked this same offer in the past, according to the coupon aggregation site.

5. Always look for the PLU codes on your fruits and vegetables 

When shopping for organic produce, make sure you take a look at the PLU code, which can be found on the sticker. According to the Krazy Coupon Lady, a four-digit code indicates that the product was grown "traditionally." If there is a five-digit code beginning with the number 9, it was grown "organically."

6. Don’t be fooled by the “10 for $10” sale sign

Even if the sign says 10 for $10, you don't need to buy all ten to get the discount, according to the Krazy Coupon Lady.

7. Sign up for loyalty rewards programs 

Many stores will offer special savings for rewards members. In some cases, these programs may offer savings for gas and prescription medications, according to the Taste of Home.

8. Pick fresh produce in the morning or late in the evening

According to Taste of Home, shipments of fresh produce either arrive at local grocers as the store opens in the morning or as the store prepares to close for the day. The outlet suggests that shoppers should find out when their store's shipments arrive in order to plan when to make their trip out.

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