The next time you set out to shop a big-box store, take these tips with you.

By Southern Living Editors

Shopping at big-box stores like Costco or Sam's Club can save you cash, but if you're not a frequent bulk buyer, these mega-markets can be an overwhelming bargain. Before you start shopping, here are some tips.

Avoid roaming the aisles. These lanes, which are scattered with free samples, are tempting, but can lead to impulse buys. Instead, stick to your grocery list. An intentional checklist will help you keep track of your budget.

Be smart about when you shop. Avoid the crammed aisles and long checkout lines with a Monday morning shopping trip. If you're not an early riser, head to the mega-market between Wednesday to Friday around 6-8pm.

To avoid crowds, know the worst times to shop. The first shopping days for coupon offers, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and weekends will have you swimming in a sea of shoppers.

When trying to score the best bargains, head to the meat aisle! You'll get a high-quality cut for a competitive price. Other recommended bargains to buy in bulk include nuts, cheese, milk, butter, eggs, and coffee.

Unless you're shopping for a large family, don't purchase herbs and spices in bulk. Items like these will lose their potency in a year's time.

Once you're home, freeze any meats, breads, or cheese to extend their shelf-life. For dry goods like toilet paper, soap or detergent, store them in your garage. If you live in a small space, invest in a storage shelf for extra organization. Other items like couscous, dried beans, or cereals can fit in a storage bin. You'll be able to keep your kitchen organized and aware of what's in your pantry to avoid excess purchases.