These grocery shopping tips changed the way I do all of my grocery shopping. Now my shopping trips are efficient and quick every time!
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Is it weird that I carry a clipboard with me when I go grocery shopping?
Some people would probably be embarrassed to carry around a clipboard while grocery shopping, but I love it. I like to think it makes me look like a professional. Onlookers probably assume I own a catering or event planning business.
While not exactly true, their assumption really isn’t that far off. After all, I am shopping for a big event: my weekly meals!
Over the years, I’ve learned what does and does not work for me as far as grocery shopping goes. I already had a pretty good idea of an efficient way to do it, but I’ve worked out many of those annoying bugs that still lingered.
Here, I’ve narrowed my list of grocery shopping tactics down to the four most important ones. These are the tricks that make my shopping trips more efficient and less frustrating.
Let me share them with you!
4 Grocery Shopping Tips That Will Change the Way You Shop
1. Start with a meal plan
I like having a meal plan because it makes suppertime a breeze. I know exactly what I’m going to cook, and I know that I have all of the necessary ingredients in my kitchen just waiting for me to start cooking.
That kind of preparedness is a real sanity-saver!
So here’s what I do when I make my meal plan:
First, I print off a stack of my meal planning sheets (which you can download for free here!) and put them on my handy-dandy clipboard.
Then, I decide what we will eat each day of the week and write it down in the daily boxes on the meal planning side of the sheet.
From there, I check my kitchen for the ingredients required to make those meals. If we don’t have something, I write it in the proper category on the shopping list side of the sheet.
When I’m finished, I know exactly what I need to buy to make a week’s worth of healthy meals! No more stopping by the grocery store multiple times per week to pick up forgotten ingredients.
Related Post: Meal Planning Made Simple (plus a free printable!)
2. Categorize your grocery shopping list
Grocery stores are organized by categories (produce, shelf, dairy, meat, frozen, etc.). It only makes sense to break your shopping list into those same categories. When I organize my list by category, my shopping trips are usually quicker and more efficient.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who has worked her way down a grocery list only to realize that the very last item is located on the opposite side of the store. I hate that feeling, especially when I’m in a hurry.
Categorized grocery lists virtually eliminate this problem altogether!
3. Shop according to your grocery store layout
When I’m grocery shopping, I work my way through the grocery list categories in the order that works best for that particular store.
For example, at my local Aldi, an efficient loop around the store looks something like this: produce, shelf, refrigerated, frozen. But in my local Walmart, my route looks more like this: health/beauty, home, pets, refrigerated, shelf, frozen, produce.
Even though the categories on my shopping list are in a different order than these, I look at each category in the order that follows the layout of the grocery store. This lets me make one efficient loop around the store without having to backtrack to find that last item.
Route mapping doesn’t have to end with just a single store. When I have many stores to visit while running errands, I’ll create another list that maps out the best route for my errands.
For example, an efficient route around my town would look like this: post office, Aldi, Sam’s, Walmart. Going in this order helps me avoid time-sucking left turns and backtracking.
4. Create a running list
Remember how I said I print off a stack of meal planning sheets instead of just one? I do this for several reasons.
First, printing off several at a time ensures that I always have a new sheet when it’s time to make the week’s meal plan.
Second, I like being able to look back at the previous weeks to see what meals I cooked. This keeps me from choosing the same things over and over, and also reminds me of some of the meals that I forget about.
However, the most important reason I keep extras in my clipboard is to create my running list.
Here’s how the running list works:
You’re eating the last apple in the fruit basket. Instead of simply walking away when you finish eating, you walk right over to your clipboard of printable grocery lists. You flip to next week’s shopping list and write apples in the produce category.
You don’t have to think about apples again until you’re grabbing a bag of them at the grocery store next week.
It’s really quite simple, but this is probably the most genius trick I’ve learned when it comes to grocery shopping.
How many times do you open your pantry at dinnertime only to realize you don’t have any more breadcrumbs for that meatloaf you were planning to cook for supper? Or you don’t have any more ketchup for the baked fries you were planning to make as a side dish?
This has happened to me lots of times, most notably on Thanksgiving Day when I realized I BARELY had enough mayo to make deviled eggs for the family lunch. Talk about stressful!
I got so tired of running out of ingredients that I decided that there had to be a better way of keeping track.
Now, any time I use the last of something, or even if I realize that a particular ingredient is getting low, I’ll put it on next week’s grocery list. I don’t have to remember to buy peanut butter because it’s already on next week’s list!
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it! Those are the grocery shopping tips that make my shopping trips quick and efficient. Just start with a meal plan, categorize your grocery shopping list, shop according to your grocery store layout, and start using a running list.
These grocery shopping tricks really do make a huge difference for me, so I know they’ll make a difference for you too!
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Do you already use some of these grocery shopping tips when you shop? Or do you have other tricks up your sleeve? Let me know in the comments!
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