Grocery bags are dirtier than you realize. Raw chicken, dirt from fresh produce, dust from boxes—it all adds up. That’s why you need to think like an experienced grocery clerk when you bag. Don’t cram your wares indiscriminately into the bag. Give it some forethought. A little planning doesn’t only go a long way—it also spares you an unpleasant mess when you finally unload the groceries on your kitchen counter at home.
Go ahead—just try putting a loaf of bread at the bottom of a bag. OK, this is a list of tips for bagging groceries, not ruining them. We don’t really want you to do that. If you start with the light food, the heavy food is inevitably going to crush it to smithereens. Instead, start loading by the heaviest items first.
4. Separate the Delicate Items
Ever hear the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? Nonsense. You want your eggs in their own container—and their own container alone. Eggs are a classic “delicate” item, which means you want them separate and protected. Other fragile items—such as a glass vase you picked up at the superstore—should also be packed separately. Now…are you taking eggs out of the carton the right way?
5. Use the Cart If You Have To
When you push yourself beyond your capacity (see below), you start making mistakes. Don’t try strong-arming everything for quickness’s sake. Instead, use the cart—that’s what they’re there for.
6. Don’t Push It
Pushing a bag to its maximum capacity might seem efficient, but it’s not. Instead, it makes carrying your groceries awkward—and even makes spillage a downright inevitability. When it comes to bagging convenience, think smart, not heavy.
7. Wrap Your Meats First
Wrap up your meats in a plastic bag to ensure they don’t leak and spill into your bag—or make unwanted contact with delicate items like fresh produce and vegetables.
You may not get it right the first time. Or even the second time. But as you bag your own groceries, remember the mistakes you made. You’ll be rewarded with fresh, uncontaminated, properly organized food when you finally make it home.
20 Shopping Perks from America's Favorite Supermarkets
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After finding out America's favorite grocery stores through a recent survey by Market Force Collection, we couldn't help finding out why these stores are considered best of the best. After a little bit of research, it is clear why these stores are considered number one: the deals! Here's how you can also save big at these top 20 grocery stores.
Up next: Don't miss the 10 secret grocery shopping tips every smart shopper should know.
Competitor coupons at Publix
Did you see a coupon from a competitor instead of Publix? Bring that coupon with you! Publix posts a list of competitors at each store, allowing you to bring in a coupon you saw elsewhere and get that same deal right at Publix.
Photo: Shutterstock / Andriy Blokhin
Double coupon policy at Wegmans
Speaking of coupons, Wegmans offers a stellar deal with their double coupon policy. If you saw a coupon from a manufacturer that was less than $0.99 in value, Wegmans will not only give you that coupon but will also reward you with another $0.99 off. If the price is above $1, they will still give you the coupon's face-value deal.
Return policy at Trader Joe's
Hated the recent flavor of Joe Joe's? Just return them! That's right, even after trying something, you can actually return it if you found it unbearable. Trader Joe's will happily take it back and give you a refund.
Photo: Shutterstock / Atstock Productions
Combos Locos deals at H-E-B
Do you get coupons for H-E-B? If not, well, you should. H-E-B offers a coupon deal called Combos Locos where, when buying two items together, you get discounted prices. For example, a deal could include a bag of salad with a free bottle of dressing! Keep an eye out for deals on their website.
The Bargain Bins at Aldi
Nope, these bargain bins actually aren't a rip off (like some bargain bins turn out to be). You are going to want to take advantage of the incredible deals at Aldi's bargain bin because the low prices will actually knock your socks off.
B1G1 and B2G3 sales at Harris Teeter
Buy-one-get-one deals, or even buy-two-get-three deals, are always a draw for people trying to buy bulk at a grocery store, But what make's Harris Teeter special is the secret behind those deals. Instead of offering one item full price and another completely free, the items just ring up as half off. So if you only need one pound of meat and don't have room in your freezer for another, that meat will still ring up as 50 percent off!
Shutterstock / Ken Wolter
Fuel Saver + Perks program at Hy-Vee
Loved the fuel saver program through Hy-Vee? Well, their new-and-improved program is going to have you jumping out of your seat. With this new membership, you can save big using digital deals and coupons target specifically for your shopping list, receive surprise savings, and even get the chance to win rewards! Some of those include kitchen makeovers, vacation packages and even a new car.
The back of the store at Costco
That's right—the back of the store is where you're going to find all of the deals. By working your way forward, you are finding the best bang for your buck. Make sure to walk through “center court” (the savings aisles in the center of the store) and to avoid the front at all costs. The front is known as "action alley" and will rarely give you the type of deals that you crave.
Photo: Shutterstock / STOKKETE
The jobs at WinCo
Not only are WinCo deals even cheaper than Walmart most of the time, they also offer incredible employee benefits. Like being a part-owner of the store, for example. If you work at WinCo for over 500 hours in the first six months and 1,000 hours in a year, you are eligible for the Employee Stock Ownership program. They also offer incredible benefits including retirement savings and insurance.
The app from Whole Foods
Whole Foods may sit more on the expensive side, but their app can actually help you save those dollar bills. It's completely free and loaded with coupons and current deals, giving you a leg up on what to grab in the grocery store. Find out the best grocery shopping apps to simplify your trip to the store.
Shutterstock / Sergey Ryzhov
Free Item Fridays at Fry's and Kroger
Because Fry's is a Kroger brand, these two offer the same incredible deal every week—free item Fridays! Find out what you can get for free by downloading the coupon the day of before heading to the grocery store.
Photo: Shutterstock / Goncharov_Artem
Meal deals at Winn Dixie
Every week Winn Dixie offers meal deals where they hand you not one, not two, but threeitems for free. The meal deal typically comes with a specifically chosen entree. Once you get the entree, you can get the chosen sides (typically a carbohydrate, a vegetable and a dessert) for free.
Tuesdays at Target
You may not realize it, but most department stores work off a markdown schedule in certain departments each day of the week. Although every store is different, shopping at Target's Market (the grocery part of the store) is best for savings on Tuesday. However, there is no harm in asking a sales associate when your local Target's specific markdown schedule is. If you want to save money, then find out the best day to go grocery shopping.
Shutterstock / igor kisselev
Super Coupons at ShopRite
If you still love to get coupons mailed to your home, then you better be digging for those ShopRite super coupons. These coupons will offer you deals you probably couldn't even dream about and will make your wallet sing songs of praise. You can also check out a lot of their other coupon deals online at their Digital Coupon Center.
The MVP kiosk at Food Lion
After signing up for the MVP Program at Food Lion, you'll want to take advantage of their kiosk ASAP. Simply scan your MVP card when you're in the store to see what deals are going on for that day, and even a set of personalized coupons based on your recent purchases.
Photo: Shutterstock / Ken Wolter
SimpleNutrition tags at Albertsons
Just like their Everyday Low Prices and Club Card Savings, Albertsons offers deals on their healthy products by using their SimpleNutrition tags. So instead of ignoring those healthier foods because of the prices, scout Albertsons for these tags to save big and eat healthily.
Shutterstock / George Rudy
Free item codes at Meijer
Every now and then, Meijer will post codes on their Facebook and Twitter for mPerk members to get free items. They offer all sorts of items for free, and if you follow them on social media, you’ll always come across some incredible deals.
Cash back at Sam's Club
That's right—they just hand it to you! For every $500 you spend, you get $10 back. That may not seem like a lot, but if you’re a faithful Sam’s Club shopper, that can seriously add up as the year progresses.
SavingStar at Stop & Shop
If you have a Stop & Shop card (or a Giant card, since they are owned by the same company) you can actually earn cash back when using some of the offers. Just click the offers you want to use on the app.
The price match policy at Walmart
Saw a cheaper price somewhere else? Bring those ads with you to Walmart! You can get the cheaper deal by showing the associate that pricing, who can then walk you through a process to get that same deal right at the store.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Taste of Home editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback.