Grocery shopping is a huge part of your week, especially when you are buying for more than just yourself, but if you show up unprepared it can be even more of a hassle and take way longer than it has to. Instead of roaming around the aisles trying to remember what you need versus what you have at home, there are very simple ways that you can make the whole process much more efficient. These helpful shopping tips will save you money, and waste a lot less of your time.
Make a List of What You Already Have. One of the biggest parts of being an efficient shopper is knowing what you already have so that you don’t make unnecessary purchases. Unless you have an incredible memory, it can be easy to forget that you did buy another bag of flour or that you still need to use up a can of coconut milk. Having a list of all of your food items in your house makes writing a grocery shopping list much easier, and it ensures that you will use all of the food that you buy.
Learn How the Store Is Organized. This may seem like an excessive step, but if you shop in the same store all the time it can save you a lot of time. Take a walk around the store and write down what aisles have the foods you frequently buy. You can also add categories that you don’t usually buy from to be sure no time is wasted if you try a new recipe. You can then go home and use this information to make a shopping list template. That way when you need something you can write it down under the aisle that it can be found in so that you don’t have to search the store for it. This will save you a surprising amount of time.
Make Meal Plans for the Week. Making a meal plan for your week will help you determine exactly what you need, and prevent you from buying things that you already have. First, determine what you want to cook for the week, then look in your pantry and refrigerator to see what ingredients you already have. If you are trying to clear out some things you need to use, you can check this first and try to make meals from those items. Once you know what you already have you can start a list of things that you need to buy. This will make your food shopping easier and way more organized.
Call Ahead to Order Some Items. A lot of stores are doing online shopping now, and all you have to do is show up and get it. You can shop for all of your larger items online before arriving, that way you just have to carry them out to the car instead of lugging them around the whole store. This is also helpful for things that need to be prepared, like meats, fish, lunchmeat, cheese, and anything else you get from the deli or butcher sections of your grocery store.
If you go to one store to get a small number of specific items, such as a wholesale club for toiletries or a butcher for all of your meats, this is a good way to save time. Instead of making a trip around more than one store, you just call ahead and it is ready when you arrive.
Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She writes for a bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia.