For the most part, grocery shopping is an errand shared by everyone. I shop primarily at Walmart Supercenter for my groceries, but I also occasionally stop by our locally owned grocery store for special deals. Since everyone pretty much has to grocery shop, why not make it easier on ourselves?
Spending a good chunk of time shopping amongst crowds, crying babies, malfunctioning carts, and long lines can be quite stressful! Overtime I’ve developed a way to maximize my use of time while grocery shopping and today I’d like to share six methods with you.
1. Make your trips worth it
I’ve said before in my post about stocking the pantry that I don’t like to make too many trips into town to go grocery shopping. It wastes time and gas. Whether you stock your pantry, meal plan, or both, you can easily cut down your number of grocery store trips because you are, in effect, planning ahead. Trips to get one or two items are the worst kind in terms of efficiency. Make your trips worth it.
2. One-stop-shopping versus multiple stores
Before even stepping out your door, you need to make an initial decision about which grocery stores you will actually be visiting during your trip. Unfortunately, even at a large superstore, you might not find what you need or there might be a better price somewhere else. So you need to weigh the pros and cons of stopping at more than one location.
The pros? Price, choices, availability. The cons? Extra driving and parking, not to mention all that extra time. I try to stop at my local grocery store only if I think it’s really worth it. I watch fliers and go there if I know I can shop for several items or get amazing deals I just can’t pass up. Otherwise, I always prefer one-stop-shopping because of its convenience.
3. Choose an optimal day and time to shop
When I was in Madison at the beginning of the month, I shopped at a large supermarket called Woodman’s on a Saturday morning. That was NOT the ideal time to be there! I spent a large amount of time just trying not to get run over by someone else’s cart, not to mention waiting in line and finding a place to park.
Not everyone has an option when it comes to choosing the best day and time to go grocery shopping. But if you do, take advantage of it! You’ll find a better parking spot, you’ll be able to freely navigate the aisles without people constantly trying to get around you, and you won’t have to wait in line for what seems like ages. Believe me, it will save you so much time!
4. To bring kids or not to bring kids?
I can’t talk too much about this one since I don’t actually have kids yet, but I’ve certainly made my fair share of observations. If you have to bring kids, then this choice doesn’t apply. But when presented with the option, you might want to weigh the pros and cons.
The pros? Kids can be great helpers, you can use the time to teach them things, and it can just be a fun adventure. The cons? The kids can be cranky, you can spend the entire trip trying to make them stop pulling items off the shelves, and they might irritate other shoppers. They’re your kids and you know best how they handle grocery shopping. You decide.
5. Plan an efficient in-store route
Those of you who have ever been to a Walmart Supercenter know that you really need a plan when you get there or you’ll end up crossing back and forth needlessly from one end of the vast expanse to the other. I made a plan early on and continue to follow that plan every time I go.
You know your favorite grocery store’s layout well, so you should capitalize. Follow a route that goes from one end of the store to the other, being careful to prevent the need to backtrack. If you have to retrace old steps, then you aren’t being as efficient as you can be.
6. List love
I’ve actually met people who refuse to make a list when they grocery shop. I don’t know how they can do it…good memory perhaps? I love lists and grocery lists are no exception. If you want your trip to the grocery store to be a good use of your time, then you need to cut out any time spent wondering what you need to buy while you’re there.
Making a list ahead of time helps you not only plan your route through the store, but it prevents excessive impulse buying. And if you plan meals like I now do, your list becomes even more important.
Coming up next week
Keeping on this topic of grocery store lists, I’d like to spend some time this week revamping my plain old system of just writing items down as they come to me. Check out this space next Wednesday to see what I come up with.
I’ve covered several methods today that I’m sure each person does just a little differently. How many stores do you stop at when you go grocery shopping? Do you bring your kids? Do you have a planned route through your favorite grocery store? How do you feel about lists?