grocery shopping

I consider shopping one of my greatest strengths. Leave me unattended in a clothing store for a mere 15 minutes, and I’ll come back with a great outfit that I managed to score on sale. It’s truly a gift!

But when it comes to the grocery store, I get completely overwhelmed with the crowds, the faulty wheel on my shopping cart, and the “Am I missing anything” mantra that’s dancing around my head. It’s my grandmother’s favorite place in the world, yet I find the dentist more inviting than the produce aisle.

The grocery store is no picnic when you have all the time in the world, but add the chore to a busy to-do list and you’ll really feel like you’re entering the ninth circle of hell. Been there done that, friends.

When your schedule is full but your fridge is not, take these pieces of advice in order to make your food shopping trip less grueling, time consuming, and costly.

Work your grocery store trip into your routine.

If you’re headed to a particular neighborhood on a certain day, why not add the grocery store into the mix? Rather than return to the same spot on two separate occasions, make the most of your time there. Yoga? Check. Post office? Check. Grocery Store? Check.

Avoid the busy times (aka the weekends).

When you and the entire city are looking for weekday cold cuts on a Saturday or Sunday, you better believe you’re in for a crowded outing. Try to find a time Monday through Friday that’s less hectic and won’t cut your weekends short. Let’s face it: If you’re daring enough to head to Trader Joe’s on a Saturday or Sunday, may the force be with you.

Know what’s available in your neighborhood.

There are certainly some stores that are pricier than others and only offer the organic version of whatever it is you’re looking for. Sometimes simple chicken breasts don’t need the organic treatment for $13.95. Know which stores in your area charge more and avoid them when you can. Your credit card will thank you.

Keep a list on the fridge.

Not only does a cute notepad serve as the perfect refrigerator accessory, but it’s the best way to keep track of what you need and what you already have. Keep notes throughout the week and when you’re finally ready to take that trip to the grocery store, you’ll be prepared. Naturally, the list needs to come with you (but you already knew that).

Avoid going for groceries multiple times per week.

Let’s say you forgot the lemons or a new package of sponges. Do you really need those items ASAP? If not, avoid heading to the store for the “I just need this one thing” run. That “one thing” inevitably turns into 10… nine of which you didn’t even want in the first place.

Cut coupons.

It might seem like a granny thing to do, but if you spend a few minutes per week cutting coupons—perhaps while you’re eating dinner—you’ll be able to save a couple extra bucks and use that $5 for the iced latte you’ve been craving.

Go to the store prepared…

If the cobwebs started growing in the fridge, you know you need to do some serious shopping. This type of event doesn’t call for the cute little tote; you need to bring out the cart. Purchase a collapsible cart so that you can stock up and make your walk home a little more manageable. Sometimes, double bagging just doesn’t cut it…that’s how your almond milk ends up on the floor.

…and with a purpose.

If you have your list at the ready and you’re certain about the meals you’re looking to prepare, you’re less inclined to get sidetracked wandering up and down the aisles purchasing treats you don’t need (and probably will forget to eat before their expiration date). Browsing takes more time and will most likely end up costing more money.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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