Some people love grocery shopping. They love the buzz and exploring the endless aisles of new ingredients and options to improve their meals. While there’s a time and place for meandering through a grocery store, I’ll be the first to admit that I get a little stressed by grocery shopping. That’s why I’ve picked up on a few tips that have helped us make grocery shopping work FOR us instead of the reverse.
Here are a few tips that have worked for us…
Organize Your Grocery Shopping IN the Store
- Create a list based on your menu. Always make your list based on what you know you will eat.
- Map out your meal ideas for each dinner and think through what nights you need to plan meals for. (Are you going to any parties? Will you to be out and need to eat on the road on any specific dates?)
- Look through ingredients for each evening’s meal and add those items to your list.
- Write out your shopping list based on your preferred path through the store. For example, I put all my produce up at the top of the list, because that’s the first place I stop in my main store. Then, my dairy and frozen items are one of the last because they are on the opposite side of the store.
- Then, think through lunches and breakfasts to see what items you need to add to your list.
- Remember to look through your pantry and fridge to see what items you already have and do not need to buy.
- Once my list is done, I like to put a circled “c” next to each item that I have a coupon for.
- I make my list as a written list with a piece of scrap printer paper folded in half. One side has the menu for the month. One side has the grocery list. Inside the folded paper I have all the coupons I plan to use.
- I asked a few friends who like digital lists and here are a few of their favorite apps:
A few other ways to simplify grocery shopping:
- Don’t buy ALL items at a grocery store. Sure, you can buy pet food at a grocery store, and I did for almost ten years, but since discovering Amazon subscribe and save, I now have our dog food and cat food set to ship directly to my front porch once a month. I do this with lots of toiletries and soaps as well.
- Use the parking lot pickup services whenever you can. You can order from your computer and shop directly off of your list (minimal impulse buys!) It’s a huge timesaver, often money saver from those extra items you didn’t have on your list, and allows you to think through your list. Bonus: you don’t have to deal with all the crowds in the stores.
- Use grocery delivery services. We don’t have this available since we live too far out, but if you can take advantage of this, it’s a great service.
- Shop in bulk for items you can buy and keep for weeks or months. We’ve started buying things like cereal, bread, pasta, frozen veggies, and more in bigger quantities. We usually think about grocery shopping once a week, mainly because our produce doesn’t always last more than that. However, now we’ve switched to planning meals out for a month and doing one BIG shopping trip where we buy all of the non-perishables for the month. Then, we do quick trips to buy produce when we need it, which often means we just pop into the store quickly as the produce is usually right at the front of the store.
No one told me the hardest thing about growing up was figuring out what to eat each night AND THEN making sure we had the food we needed for said meals. The last thing I want to be doing each day is running out to the store because I forgot other items I need for meals. That’s why I’m loving how new services and technology make it easy to get what I need with a little less brain damage in the process.