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I view grocery shopping as a necessary evil. For fun I like to see sometimes just how fast I can grocery shop and still do the things necessary to keep us on budget (like shop at 4 stores in one outing). My current record 4 stores with a driveway to driveway time of 1 hour and 30 minutes, and that is with 20 minutes spent driving.
My tips for how to grocery shop faster
Please note, we are a family surviving off of one income, to meet our tight grocery budget, I shop several stores, shop sales and use coupons. If your family is financially able you can cut more time off your trip by sticking to one store with fairly good prices overall.
It Starts with at home preparation
Make a menu
A menu does not have to be complicated. A simple piece of paper with lunch and dinner written on it and the numbers 1 through 7 under each and something to eat beside each number is fine.Personally I don’t add breakfast or snacks as we eat the same things over and over so I just know to add those items to my grocery list.
Make a list
Now that you know what you are eating make a list of ingredients you are going to need. Then check your cupboards for other day to day stuff your are running low on. Don’t forget the bathroom cupboards too,and the laundry room,cleaning cabinet, and dog supply area.
Check flyers on line
I sometimes skip this step and when I do it always takes longer to shop (since I am scanning each aisle for sales) and costs more money. Note what items are on sale that your family uses regularly and put them on the list.
Clip and organize coupons
I spend a few minutes checking the coupon listing on Swagbucks ( earn points and savings) and printing out those for products we use each week.
I also try to print out coupons listed on Money Saving Mom that I know we will use as Crystal posts them (internet coupons disappear fast so grab them as you see them).
I put those I know I am going to use this week in the envelope with my grocery money. I place the rest in my small coupon organizer.
For a more detailed list of all the goes into shopping for groceries the thrifty way check out my post
Prep yourself for the event
Think of grocery shopping as a race, you want shoes you can race in. I know I am losing the fashionista moms with this tip, but when you are zipping from aisle to aisle at a fast clip you can’t do it in heels (well most of us can’t).
If you are full you are less likely to waste time getting distracted by all the food not on your list that looks really good.
Bring the right tools
If you don’t have a list you are going to waste time wandering from aisle to aisle trying to remember what you need . It is almost a guarantee that with no list you are going to forget purchases you did need, meaning you are going to have to go to the store again. That is a huge time waster
Your wrist watch
I have experimented with this and found that I cut my grocery shopping time by as much as 1/3 when I wear a watch and am mindful to look at it as I go. It helps me stay on task.
I have shopped all times of the day and found I can get it done quickest when I go early. The last store on my list does not open until 9 a.m. so I plan to hit my first store at 8 a.m. so that I hit the last one just as it opens.
I know this is not always possible but shopping without small children really does make the trip go faster. I also find shopping with the hubby slows me down, so when he comes I try and view it as “date time” and enjoy his company and conversation.
Bring An Older Child To Help
Yes this sound opposite to my last point, but I am talking about bring children who are old enough to take part of the list from you and grab the items from it. My daughter and grocery shop this way most weeks and it really does save me time. We chat in the car between stores and I let her pick out a snack as a thank you for helping me.
Have Everyone Help Put It Away
This is something I have discovered recently. I always thought that having my three children and, when he is home, my husband help put the groceries away would cost me time later on as they wouldn’t put things away where they belonged. I was also afraid fresh produce would go bad because my helpers would bury it in the fridge. I was wrong. With just 2 or 3 trips of me acting like a supervisor showing them where it all goes, now we work like a well oiled machine and together we get the groceries put away in under 5 minutes, and so far no food has gone missing, and no produce has gone rotten.
I want to know! Do you love or hate grocery shopping? Got any other ways to grocery shop faster?
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