Personally, some days I love to go grocery shopping. I would peruse the aisles leisurely and see what deals I find or new products I didn’t know about. During these times, I am also more willing to try new foods and recipes. If the store has other things like clothes or toys, I will be in there even longer. Other days, I JUST NEED TO GET IN AND OUT OF THE GROCERY STORE STAT.
For the occasions where you need to just buy everything you need and get out, I have some tips on how you can shop for groceries in an efficient manner:
WRITE AN ORGANIZED GROCERY LIST - Try to group your grocery items together if they are in the same category or if you know they will be close to each other (like pasta and sauce). This will prevent any backtracking and walk pass the same aisles to get different things.
BRING YOUR GROCERY LIST AND TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR FRIDGE BEFORE YOU GO TO THE STORE - Having a grocery list is pretty obvious to stay on track and on budget. The picture of the fridge sounds weird but if you see something on sale and you are not sure if you need it, you can refer to the picture of your fridge. This helps you not overspend and potentially save you money by buying things on sale.
BRING A PEN WITH YOU - If you didn’t write a super organized list, circle the items on your list that should be next to each other and cross them off as you buy them. This will keep your shopping trip organized.
GO ALONE - Let’s be real here. When your spouse and children tag along, they just slow you down. Even if you get that free cookie/banana/apple from the grocery store before you start shopping. There is too much input and distractions from them. Leave them at home and go alone. Try to stay focused and not turn it into a self-care-day-where-you-check-everything-out session if you don’t have the time.
GO WITH A FULL STOMACH - This is no joke. You likely heard that you should go grocery shopping on a full stomach to prevent random purchases. I’m telling you to shop on a full stomach to prevent distractions like trying every single food sample the store is giving out that day. Every time you stop to wait for a food sample, eat it, look for a garbage to throw out the little container is a waste of time. You can’t afford to make extra stops if you want to be efficient.
GO TO A STORE WHERE YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE LAYOUT - Not every store is set up the same. If you are in a store that is unfamiliar to you, you will find a lot of wasted time walking around looking for things or looking for that last crucial ingredient you need for tonight’s dinner. Skip the store that is close to where you happen to be and just head back to the store you normally frequent.
GO SHOPPING AT NON-PEAK HOURS - My spouse and I go grocery shopping at really random times. I like to go when the store opens and there is only the staff, three other shoppers, and me. My spouse likes to go towards the end of the day when most people are getting ready for bed. Either way, we are able to get our grocery shopping done efficiently.
BRING YOUR OWN RECYCLABLE BAGS - Obviously, you should bring them for environmental reasons but you should have several different bags for different uses. For example, bags with a sturdy handle and a flat bottom is perfect when you have to buy a lot of canned goods. Bags with loops inside are great for putting glass bottles into. Taller bags are great for taller/longer purchases.
TAKE OUT STORE REWARD CARDS AND CREDIT CARDS OUT AS YOU ARE WAITING IN LINE - It really, really, bothers me when someone goes up to the till without their store reward cards ready. If they have gone to the store before, they should know this is literally the first thing the teller asks for. Have these things ready when you are lining up so you are not holding up the line by digging for it in your wallet.
PUT ITEMS ON THE CONVEYOR BELT IN THE ORDER YOU ARE PACKING - All the heavier items like canned goods should go on the belt first. Lighter things and breakable things go last. This way when you are packing your groceries, canned goods logically go on the bottom of the bag and chips and eggs go on top. If this doesn’t work for you, you might also want to load like items on the conveyor belt according to where they will be unpacked at home. For example, all the pantry items go together and all the fridge items go in the same bag.
It might take a while for you to adopt all 10 of these tips but start slow and chose some of them each time. You will develop your own rhythm and be surprised by how much faster the trip goes for you. It might actually become enjoyable for you too.
Once you get a handle on grocery shopping, you might be interested in my post about How to make healthy and fast dinners as a working mom. If you subscribe to my free resource library, you can also get access to a free meal planning template! Good luck momma! Let’s get grocery shopping done in record time and use your saved time for something else!
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