Customers stand in line at grocery store or supermarket.

You likely already know the typical ways to save money while grocery shopping: make a list and stick to it, buy generic brands, use coupons and purchase staples in bulk. But there are other unique tips for saving money on groceries that can help stretch your budget even further.

Here are six that you can easily bake into your regular shopping habits.

1. Compare prices at a few stores

Grocery stores don’t all run the same sales and offers at the same time or even on the same schedule. Some kick in midweek, some start on Sundays and some have multiple special offers going at a time with stacked weekly and monthly deals. Keep tabs on your favorite stores’ sales by signing up for their apps, newsletters or weekly ads.

To make sure you’re getting the best deal, you might want to do a bit of research online before you trek out. That way, you can compare prices, and current sales and promotions, between your local grocery stores. This approach makes sense if you tend to have a larger shopping trip once or twice a month to stock up on commonly used items. It’s less practical for quick trips that only require a few items.

2. Buy frozen, not fresh, baked goods

The bakery section is often near the front of the store so you can’t really avoid it. It smells delicious, and when you’re shopping — especially if you’re hungry — it can be hard to resist a muffin, pastry or something else warm and fluffy. But once you know what you need to buy in the baked goods category, head to the frozen foods section instead.

Frozen baked goods may not smell as immediately gratifying, but you’ll often save more on things like cookies, cake, muffins, bagels and bread. This is especially true if you need to purchase specialty items, like gluten-free bread.

The best part about frozen products is that, when they’re on sale, you can stock up even more without the risk of them going bad.

3. Pay attention to meat sell-by dates

Most people think that the farther out a sell-by date is, the “safer” the food is. However, you can purchase meat with a close sell-by date since most meat is only good for three to five days in the fridge anyway.

Stores will typically start to mark meats down when they’re within two days of their sell-by date. So, don’t be afraid to lean into that option if you’re cooking later that night. And if you find a really good deal, you can always freeze your haul as well.

4. Buy in-season foods

Seasonal foods like produce are found in greater abundance in bigger markets and stores, so they’re usually less expensive. You can find lots of seasonal recipes online, making it easy to take advantage of what’s in season.

Whether it’s tomatoes in the summer or squash in autumn, you’ll be able to get more food for less money when you buy ingredients that are harvested during their peak.

5. Keep tabs on sales, even for items you already purchased

One of the lesser-known ways to save on your groceries is watching for sales after you’ve gone shopping. Bigger store chains will often honor sale prices or discounts within seven to 30 days of your purchase if you’ve saved your receipt.

It may take a trip to the customer service department, but if it’s an item you buy a lot of or you’ve recently stocked up on, these savings could be worth several dollars. Over the course of a year, that could really add up.

6. Shop early in the day

Savvy shoppers know that some of the best short-sale and discounted items are available first thing in the morning. If you’re able, hit the store shortly after it opens and head to the prime discount departments first: fresh meat, baked goods and produce.

Shop smarter, not harder

It’s easy to get locked into a routine for grocery shopping, like heading to the store at the end of the workday or doing all your shopping on the weekend. But if you have the flexibility to change your shopping schedule, you’ll likely stumble on more deals and discounts.

Pair that with saving even more by using our catalog of coupons and your shopping trips will cost you less and less. You might find that you even start having fun trying to score the best deal and lowest grand total each time you shop.