(WFSB) -- It’s inevitable that we all have to go to the grocery store… but are we overspending?

This week, Channel 3 sat down with an expert to find out more ways to save when it comes to grocery shopping.

Alaya Linton is the writer and personal finance coach behind the Hopes + Cents blog, and she has five mouths to feed.

“My personal target is $500 a month,” said Linton.

She said groceries can be a family’s second biggest expense, next to housing, but there are simple ways to save.

“I have clients that, just within a month of trying, they are spending $200 less by just being a little more aware and putting guidelines in place,” Linton said.

First, she said, figure out how much you’re spending, and the items that you buy every week. For those, know how to spot a deal.

“If you learn what the best prices are for your high impact items and only buy those items when they’re at those prices, you can save hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars,” she said.

So, if cereal is a staple in your home, only buy it when it’s on sale, for example when it's $1.99.

Also, remember to stock up then because sales are typically on 6 to 8 week cycle.

“You want to buy enough to last you until the next time it’s at the lowest price. Giving yourself a price guarantee,” Linton said.

The USDA said an average family of four will spend almost $900 per month.

Linton tells clients to aim for $100 to $200 per person, per month.

Meal planning also helps you avoid wasting food and money.

Linton also suggests cutting coupons and ditching the cards.

“You will shop totally different if you only have cash,” Linton said.

It’s also important to go shopping after you eat, and shop alone.

“My son immediately wants to put 5 things in the cart. So, I either say no or I give him a budget. You can buy $5 worth of things,” Linton said.

When it comes to the budget, just remember the bottom line: “If you had to choose, if someone asked you would you rather put $2,000 on your credit card bill this year or buy $2,000 worth of extra groceries, for most of us that’s a no brainer,” she said.

Linton has many more helpful tips on her Hopes + Cents blog, including a guide for meal planning. For more, click here.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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