NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Are you spending too much money on food? If you have to think about it, there's a good chance you could find some ways to save. Food is one of the biggest expenses going, and with food costs on the rise , it's only going to get worse. So how do you keep from spending too much on groceries week after week? We spoke to experts to help you spend less every time you head down to the grocery store, starting with the very next time.

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The Right State of Mind

"You should never go food shopping when you're hungry or sad," says Ellie Kay, who brands herself as America's Family Financial Expert, a mother of seven who has had to feed a family of nine. "You're in a different state of mind and it leads to a lot of impulse buys."

Kay further points out that the modern grocery store is designed to capitalize on this. "Grocery stores vent the smell of fresh baked bread through the whole store to lure you into buying."

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Have a List

"You need to make a list and stick to it," says Kay. "Buying things just because they look good is giving in to impulse buying."

Marnie Swedberg, author of Kitchen Shortcuts and owner of two restaurants, suggests that people cultivate a "restaurant mentality" when it comes to making their shopping list. "Restaurants don't run out of food in the middle of the week and head down to the grocery store to get things," she says.

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In fact, not having a list and inventory of your kitchen can have you spending too much at the grocery store: the more time you spend in a grocery store, the more money you're going to spend.

"The less time you spend in a grocery store, the less money you spend there," says Kay, who also points out that grocery stores are always trying to increase the dollars-per-minute customers spend.

"Even before you go to the grocery store, the plan is not to go back," says Swedberg.


Have a Plan

But it's not just about the list of things you need to buy once you get there: Not spending too much when you go food shopping is also about having a plan for getting through the store. "If you're at aisle 18 and need to go back to aisle 2, you not only add minutes in the store, you also increase the number of end cap walk-bys," says Swedberg.

"Even if you just have to pick up milk and bread, a lot of times you have to walk through the whole store," says Kay.