Do you pick up things you don't need or weren't written into your budget in the first place? Do you end up at the cashier feeling anxious whether you've got enough to cover for the little 'extras' you took off the shelf? Then it's time to take better control of your shopping habits. Here are 10 ways to save more money on food and grocery shopping.

Plan ahead

First things first, write down everything you need. Having a Grocery List is more important than just knowing what to buy. A list gives you the opportunity to control your spending. It is a fact that you will only pick up half of the items you need when you don’t have a list.

Be sure, however, to not let your emotions write the grocery list as “Emotional Spending” is a thing that can get you into trouble. You should also eat before shopping so you won’t go bonkers in the snack aisle or pastry section.

Make healthy choices

Healthy Eating has come a long way and there are so many tasty options out there. There are countless websites that are dedicated to delivering recipes to assist persons who are making the leap into healthy living. Here’s a quick health lesson; the body always craves what it needs, i.e. proteins, carbs, water etc. this translates into hunger and thirst.

The average person doesn’t realize what the body is asking for and just grabs the closest thing to “calm the worms”.

However, when the body doesn’t get what it really needs the feeling (hunger/thirst) returns and so the cycle continues. This is where the overspending happens for many -- foods like sodas, pastries, fries carry very little nutrition and lots of fats. You’ll find yourself spending more money than if you bought fruits, vegetables and drank more water instead.

Even if you don’t enjoy plain water very much, there are numerous sparkling drinks now out there -- water, flavored with real fruit.

Buy produce in season

Like any product, the harder it is to come by, the more expensive it gets, and the same applies to produce when it’s not in season. Use agricultural news articles to help you figure out the best time to buy your favorite produce and add to your grocery list to suit.

Also, note that local produce is automatically cheaper and even better priced when sold at a farmer’s market.

Take advantage of sales and coupons

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using coupons or waiting on sale to go shopping. An opportunity to save is one worth taking. Supermarkets often send out newsletters with coupons and sale dates, and coupons can also be printed from their websites. Please remember to shop healthy or else you will be defeating the purpose of shop and save! In the event you see multiple items selling for the price of one, if you can store it (bag and freeze) then by all means, make the purchase.

Prepare home-cooked meals

Home-cooked meals will always be a money saver, whether it’s a sandwich or homemade gourmet.

Depending on where you work or go to school, would determine what you take with you. If you don’t have access to a fridge, freezer or microwave, making a sandwich or a wrap would be ideal, be sure to have it in a ziplock food bag to maintain freshness.

Buy frozen, canned, or dried foods

Concerns over produce spoiling can be easily solved; fruits, vegetables, legumes, are also sold as canned items, frozen or dried, no need to worry, the nutritional value is at its best when placed in these states. Always pay attention to what preservatives are used, there are natural ones also, feel free to Google while you are shopping. Another tip -- if the items are not sold in resealable packaging you can buy your own resealable food bags.

Cut back on meat

It rarely sounds inviting when asked to cut back on meats in your weekly diet, but this too can save you money. Replace meat once or twice a week with items like mushrooms, tofu, peas & beans, eggplant, potatoes (sweet potatoes have more nutrients). The bonus is that you are going to feel better just by knowing how much you are saving, in addition to being healthier.

Avoid wasting food

Leftovers are better than you think, once stored in proper containers and placed in a fridge/freezer -- it will be meal number two! Once again -- the internet to the rescue, we know that everyone isn’t a chef, so go online or use books to find recipes for leftover meals and help you Save Money.

Buy and cook in bulk

Shopping in bulk is another great way to put some ease on our pockets. Grocery items amount to less in the long term as compared to buying a small version of the item every two weeks to a month. By extension, cooking in bulk and freezing in portions also saves you money and time. As you continue this practice, you’ll find more innovative ways to save.

Plant a kitchen garden

Fresh produce will always yield the best flavor, whether having it raw or cooking it up. Having a kitchen garden is the ultimate option when it comes to saving extra pennies. Because of modernized ways of planting, you don’t even require a backyard to do it. Search online or visit your local garden store to find out what you can grow in a limited space.

So there you have it, 10 great ways you can save on your next food bill. Put it into practice and start enjoying the benefits immediately! Thanks for reading!