Don't you dread those giant shopping trips when you know you have to hit every aisle and it's gonna cost a fortune? These little tips can save you hundreds of dollars at the grocery store!

Here are some easy and helpful hints from

-- Make a shopping list and stick to it!This way you're much less likely to be tempted to buy impulse items. If it's not on the don't need it! Studies show unplanned purchases can add on 20% to your bill!  Try to plan your meals and the ingredients you'll need in advance so that your list is complete. (And, my old favorite: don't go shopping on an empty stomach or you will be giving in to major temptation throughout the store!)

-- Cash or credit? I you use a credit card, make it work harder for you. Look for all-purpose cards that offer cash back on groceries, or store cards that give you an instant discount (like Target). But beware: You will lose all of these savings if you rack up interest charges, so make sure you pay off the balance every month!

-- Coupons save you money. Of course you don't have time to be an extreme couponer, but if you spend just 10 - 15 minutes a week going through your newspaper's weekly flyers or checking out a couple of coupon websites like, you can easily find savings on stuff you need.

-- Take the all-cash challenge! According to studies, those who shop with cash alone spend an average of 12% - 18% less than those who shop with credit cards. And if you take only the amount of cash with you that you need for your list, with no credit card for a 'back up', you won't be able to spend extra money!

-- Shop Around. Research shows that those who do their shopping at two or more stores a week save more than 15% because you're more likely to find better deals on certain products in different stores. Sometimes you can get a better deal on health and beauty products by going to your drugstore in addition to shopping at the supermarket.

-- Try generic. Store-brands have come a long way. Not only are they often produced by brand-name manufacturers, they can be upwards of 20% cheaper than name brands. So if you find some that your family likes, stick with them.

-- Avoid gimmick pricing. Supermarkets can be clever in getting you to spend more. Promotions like "10 for &10" can seem like a great deal, but these products may not acutally be on sale. And even if they are, you rarely need to buy the stated number to get the sale price.

-- Pricey things come in small packages. Your best bet for snack foods is almost always to buy the largest size and divvy it up yourself. For example, Mini Oreo cookies in snack packs cost three times more per cookie than the family pack. Use little plastic baggies to portion them out at home.

-- Time is money. You pay a preium for 'convenience', whether buying pre-packaged salad fixings, pre-cut fruit, or spice mixes. It's just cheaper to make your own salad, cut your own fruit, and mix your own spices.