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6 New Grocery Shopping Tips You Need to Follow During the Second Wave

Don't let the rise in cases stop you from getting the food you need safely.
African woman wearing disposable medical mask and gloves shopping in supermarket during coronavirus pandemia outbreak

Just when we were finally getting a bit more comfortable with a trip to the grocery store, experts now warn that a new surge in COVID-19 infections is inevitable. As a result, new food shortages are on the horizon, including with respect to these surprising items. As demand exceeds supply, prices are sure to go up. Back in pre-pandemic days, we had the luxury of using every trick in the book to save on groceries. Unfortunately,  a lot of those tricks involved trips to more than one store and spending more time in each store than we're willing to risk now.

But even without those luxuries, savvy supermarket shopping is still doable. Read on for the new grocery shopping tips you should be following to save money while staying safe (but please don't be surprised to find these 8 grocery items may soon be in short supply):

1

First, take inventory.

A woman seen from behind opening the doors to a fully stocked pantry. The cupboard is filled with various food stuff and groceries all with blank labels
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Once upon a time, we used to be able to just pop into the grocery store to pick up any little thing we might have forgotten during our weekly haul. Now we can't be quite as casual about making yet another trip to the supermarket. But ensuring we pick up everything we need in one trip, without buying things we already have at home, requires planning. And that requires more than just a passing knowledge of what's in the fridge and the pantry. It means taking inventory. But it's not as hard as it might sound, especially with an app like List Ease, which makes taking inventory easier. And while you're at it, make sure to download this app, which points you to the cheapest groceries near you.

Related: Sign up for our daily newsletter for the latest grocery shopping news.

2

Share your shopping list.

cheerful african family at home using tablet
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It goes without saying that savvy supermarket shopping requires a shopping list. Maybe you already know how to make the most effective shopping list possible. Now it's time to level up by downloading a sharing app like Our Groceries, which gives everyone in your household access to your shopping list so that everything that everyone wants is on it, nothing is forgotten, and no additional trips to the store are necessary. 

3

Embrace virtual "food prep."

Woman writing contact list from mobile phone into her business agenda notebook for backup
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Food prep, which involves prepping your meals in advance for the week ahead, is a great way to make sure you're eating healthy and on budget. Virtual food prep, which involves planning all your meals for the week ahead of making your shopping list (and obviously ahead of heading to the grocery store) is the cherry on top of that sundae. But even if you're not into actual food prep, virtual food prep will still help ensure you pick up everything you need for the week, and nothing you don't, in one fell swoop. And if you like to base your meal planning on whatever's on sale, just click on your grocery store's website or app to check out the latest savings. Now, for a little nostalgia, remember these 3 grocery deals that you used to see all the time? 

4

Pay attention when shopping online.

woman grocery shopping online
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Some many grocery stores with online shopping capabilities have recently been offering a choice of substitute items in the event what whatever it is you wanted isn't available. And one choice is "no substitute item." Given the supply shortages these days, this is an important step in taking control of what you end up with and how much it costs.

5

Opt for curbside pickup.

curbside pickup
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Grocery shopping online seems like a great idea until you realize how much delivery actually costs. But you can avoid the supermarket while avoiding delivery fees by opting for curbside pickup. Here's why experts want grocery stores to pivot to all-curbside-pickup.

6

Sign up for "free" delivery.

Amazon delivery

Truth is, there's no such thing as free delivery. Amazon's "free" delivery is offered to members who pay for Prime membership. Likewise, most grocery stores offering "free" delivery require you to pay an annual fee. However, depending on how often you shop for groceries and how committed you are to staying out of the grocery store, you might decide that paying the annual fee is less expensive and less risky than paying for individual deliveries. The same goes for online grocery delivery services, and here are 8 you probably didn't even know existed.

For more, check out these 19 money-saving tips every grocery shopper should know.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a culture and food writer. Read more