By Landee Kieschnick

Let’s face it. The trip to the grocery store can sometimes be…well, a chore.

We can’t find the items we’re looking for. There seems to be too many people and shopping carts down every aisle. And you can’t forget the long checkout lines.

It’s a necessary trip, though. One we usually make weekly, or more often if you forget something.

But there are a few common mistakes many of us make while grocery shopping. Like these five:

1. Shopping without a plan.
We’re all guilty of it—going into the store and saying, “I’ll just grab a few things.” For me, that never works. I always end up with a basket full of food.

When making a list, nine should be your number—nine planned meals that will last you and your family throughout the week if you plan for two to three meals per day.

This helps save money, because you’ll minimize food waste at the end of the week.

2. Not doing your research.
This common mistake can make the difference between having produce that can last a week or go bad in a few days.

Ask around and see what days your grocery store restocks. That’ll help you know what to purchase and when.

3. Shopping on a full stomach.
We’ve all heard that shopping on an empty stomach isn’t a good idea. But have you heard of not shopping on a full stomach?

Sounds strange I know, but studies show that eating a heavy meal right before grocery shopping will actually stop you from buying anything edible.

The trick is to make your list, then head to the store. On a full, but not too full stomach.

4. Changing habits overnight.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither are good eating habits.

Compromise is key. Get a balance of foods you like, foods you can afford and foods that are good for you. Sometimes your food choices are all three. Now, that’s a win!

And finally…

5. Natural doesn’t mean healthier.
A topic that has people on edge? Food labels. And boy can they be confusing!

Don’t get tricked into buying a more expensive food item just for the label. Beware of the latest catch phrase and trends in diets. The shelves are crowded with labels of all kinds—some certified by the Food and Drug Administration and others developed by marketing gurus.

On average, Americans spend $150 each week at the grocery store. One in 10 Americans say they spend $300 or more per week.

So make your grocery list. Check it twice. And work on these five common mistakes we all make.

Happy shopping!

Landee Kieschnick is the intern for Texas Farm Bureau’s Communications Division. She is a junior at Texas Tech University majoring in Agricultural Communications. Growing up on a family farm, her days consisted of stacking hay and driving a tractor.