5 Tips to Save Time in the Grocery Store
Going to the grocery store can be a big task that takes up a lot of our time. I’ve been guilty of running to the store at the last minute and then wandering around the store trying to figure out what I need to make for dinner this week. I stand in the middle of an aisle, staring at the shelves, trying to remember what ingredients I need to make a certain dish. The worst is when I have to go back to an aisle because I forgot something… again.
Going to the grocery store prepared can help you save a lot of time. Here are 5 tips to help you save time in the grocery store.
#1 Meal Plan
Meal Planning is the first step in making a grocery list. Going to the store without a grocery list is a sure fire way to forget something and have to waste time going back later. The easiest way to make a grocery list is to first make a meal plan for the week. Think of each meal you are going to make that week and what ingredients you will need.
I have this really cute bundle of printables that includes a weekly meal plan template and grocery list. You can snag both here. There are also some really cool ones that you can get from amazon.
#2 Always Make a Grocery List
After your menu is planned you use it to make your grocery list. I’m sure we are all familiar with the idea of a grocery list. Think of all the ingredients you need to make your planned meals and write those on your list. Then think of all the other items you buy. Do you shop for personal care items such as toothpaste or shampoo? What about paper towels and laundry detergent? Make sure those make the list as well.
#3 A Very Specific Grocery List – Best Tip Ever
Everyone makes an ordinary grocery list and these do help you save time and money. However, there is an even more efficient way to shop, that will save time in the grocery store, and money.
Put your grocery items on the list in the order that you shop through the store. I know… you are thinking, “This girl is crazy. Isn’t that a bit extreme? No one has time for that!”
So it may seem a bit over the top, but I promise it will help you get in and out and will help you not stray to items you do not need to be buying. Think of how you normally shop through the store. Most of us are creatures of habit and shop through the store in a certain order. Maybe you start in the personal care items and end in the produce like I do. Or maybe you get your dry goods first. If you don’t have a set path, then think of the layout of your store and make a mental map of how you think you could get through the store more efficiently.
Now that you know the path you will be taking you need to make you list with that path in mind. I go to the personal care items first, so my contact solution and body wash go on the top of my list. I then move to the paper goods area, so toilet paper would be next on my list. Then the canned goods and so on. I go through this whole process until I have mentally made it all the way through the store and every item is on my list.
When talking to some people about this, they automatically think I am taking the time to make two lists. One list of all the items, and then another list arranging those items in order. That takes way too long so I use a different method.
Put Your Grocery List into Categories
I section my grocery list into categories. These categories are naturally determined by the different sections of the store. My categories are, personal, household, refrigerator, dry goods, canned goods, meat, freezer, and produce. I look at my meal plans and I write each ingredient down in its corresponding category. Then, I think of the items I need that are not part of the meal plan and write those down in their corresponding category.
#4 Shop Like You are on a Mission
Now that you have your list, head to the grocery store and shop like you are on a mission. Enter the store, follow your predetermined path, and fill up your cart. I myself follow the same path every time I shop so this has become second nature to me. If it is new for you, you will get used to it quickly.
Having a plan and a path will help you stick to your list, be less likely to have to backtrack, and save money. You will save money because this plan will keep you focused and on track. You won’t impulse buy and you won’t stray into sections of the store where you don’t need items.
#5 Keep your cart organized
My last tip to save time in the grocery store, is to keep your cart organized. You are shopping by category, so place all the items from that section in your cart together. When you are checking out, continue to keep all of those items together as you are handing them to the cashier. This will ensure that they get bagged together. Then when you get home all of the pantry items are bagged together, all of the refrigerator items are bagged together, and so on. Then you just drop the bags next to where they need to be unloaded .
I know this may seem like a lot of extra work, especially up front. I promise it will save you time. It will get you through the store faster, unpacked faster, and keep you from having to return to the store the next day. All of these are wins in my book.
Don’t forget to snag your printable grocery list and matching meal planning sheet. Happy shopping!
Not too crazy about my grocery list printables? Here are a few other options.
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