Grocery shopping is an activity most people do more frequently than they’d like. Every time you end up at the store without your list or forget to put an ingredient on the list in the first place, you lose time. Multiple trips to the store make it more likely that you’ll spend more money too. These strategies for organized grocery shopping will help you save time, money, and frustration.
Organized Grocery Shopping
Make an Organized Grocery List
- Make a list as you run out of staples – the foods you need in your house no matter what’s on your meal plan for that week.
- Sit down with your weekly menu to fill in grocery list with ingredients for that week.
- Organize your list by your route through the store so that you don’t have to double back.
- Organize by category: personal items, household items, pantry/shelf items, produce, refrigerated, freezer.
Choose the Best Time to Shop
- Go when most people don’t go: during school and work hours, late evenings, or early mornings.
- Avoid busy times at the store: 4 – 8 pm on weekdays, Saturdays between 10 – 4, Sunday afternoons
- Find out what your store gets stocked so that you don’t go when shelves are empty. Sunday afternoons and Mondays mornings tend to have sparse supplies.
- If you do any batch meal prep, go shopping one or two days before so your ingredients will be fresh.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry.
Put Your Coupons Where You Need Them
- For advice about where to find coupons, check out the Krazy Coupon Lady’s Beginner’s FAQ.
- If your coupons are at home, you can’t use them. Keep them with your grocery list or in your car or purse. Store them in a small accordion file by expiration date or store.
Shop at Different Stores Infrequently
- Go to your neighborhood/primary grocery store weekly and bulk store monthly.
- A food co-op or health food store that you only go to for a few ingredients could be planned into a route you take that would have you nearby, but stock up in bulk if you can and plan to go every two weeks or less.
Checkout by Category
Put categories of things like medicine or produce together in your cart and on the conveyor belt at checkout. Bagging like items together makes for easier unloading when you get home.
Consider Shopping Services to Help
Shopping services can provide help when you have a busy week, get sick, need some last minute ingredients, or just don’t like shopping. Here are a couple nationwide services, but you may be able to find other local services to do your shopping for you.
- Instacart – a grocery delivery service that can deliver in as little as one hour. Some stores or items are higher priced than in store and depedning on the size of your order and delivery time, you may or may not get free delivery. If you end up not going out to a restaurant or going to the grocery store and making impulse buys, you may still save money, and will definitely save time.
- Blue Apron -a fresh ingredient and recipe delivery service… “We take care of the menu planning and shopping (providing you with fresh, locally sourced ingredients in pre-measured quantities), so all you have to do is cook and enjoy. They offer 2-person and family 4-person plans.
Once you’ve got your meal list, make your menus, and do your grocery shopping, you’re ready for the next step in your household food chain: food preparation.