How To Save Time at the Grocery Store

Do you like to grocery shop?  If you answered, "Yes," this post is not for you.  Among all of the chores that I must accomplish over the course of the week, grocery shopping is one of my least favorite tasks.  However, over the course of the years, I have adapted.  I am now able to complete my weekly three store run in about 2 hours (including travel time).  Sound interesting?  Well, this is how I do it...

Tips for Cutting Down on Grocery Shopping Time

  1. Write a list.  I know this seems like a given, but so many people fail to plan ahead and then they find themselves running back and forth across the store in order to pick up something they had forgotten on an earlier pass.Thereby wasting valuable time.
  2. Comparison shop at home.  Many grocery stores have apps or websites now where you can see current pricing on items.  Use this information to your advantage and make your purchasing decisions prior to walking into the store.  (I usually write down exactly what I am going to purchase and the quantity that I will purchase.  I even go as far as to write down the price.  All of this information helps me to just grab an item and continue my shopping endeavor without having to make an on-the-spot decision.
  3. Leave the kids at home OR prepare activities for your little one(s). Here's where my jealousy kicks in, because I have to cart my toddler around with me.  Of course, it only makes sense that we would get our shopping done faster if the little one(s) wasn't(weren't) in tow.  However, that is not always possible, so prepare some activities for your child that he/she can do right in the cart.  We play race cars, shopping, and stuffed animals, while we shop.  Many grocery stores have supervised activity centers where you can drop off your child while you shop.  If your child is old enough to attend one of these, they are HEAVEN sent.  Seriously, kids usually love the play zone, and you get a few minutes to yourself to think.  (Remember those days?)
  4. Shop backward. This one threw me for a loop the first time I heard it, but when you think about it, it makes some sense.  At most supermarkets, everyone goes in the same door and starts by going clockwise around the store.  (This is done on purpose to keep the traffic flowing in one direction.)  However, there is no law that states that you need to walk clockwise around the store.  If you start by going counterclockwise, you will avoid the bottleneck you get at the beginning of the store.
  5. Shop during off times.  Did you know that most people go to the store on the same day and at the same time each week?  You do it too, don't you?  Well, if you do a little research, you can actually find the days and times throughout the week when there are always less customers in a store.  The less customers in the store, the fast you can get through it.  Personally, I get up at 6 a.m. on Saturdays to do my grocery shopping.  Of course, this time works for me.  You might find that shopping on Tuesday or Friday evenings suits your schedule better.  To find out when your store has less customers in it, go to the service desk then next time you shop.  I'm sure they will have a wealth of choices for you.
  6. Shop once a week.  I know this is easier said than done sometimes, but eliminating extra trips to the grocery store, saves time, money, and gas.  While you are getting yourself organized for the week, make sure to put those things on your list that you will inevitably run out of, even if they are in good supply when you leave for the store.
That's it in a nutshell.   Give one or all of these suggestions a try and let me know how they work out for you.  Good luck, moms! :)