As some of you may know, I am a mother of infant boy and girl twins who love keeping me quite busy, so much so that grocery shopping can be a bit of a hassle when my husband is at work. Going grocery shopping without a plan is never a good idea for me, considering that if I have the twins with me I have to shop quickly before they lose their patience and want out of their car seats. So that means no browsing through every aisle, looking for random things to catch my stomach's eye... I've got to have a plan and direction to help me stay focus and on track.
I'm not sure about you, but I tend to go grocery shopping once a week, I don't have the patience or time to go every other day, and this works better for my family's schedule. Now since I cook every day, it is important for me to have a clear and concise vision when going grocery shopping, so I created a formula that has helped me to stay focused while shopping, and that has helped me to save time; time in the store, and saving time from having to go back to the store because I forgot something. It has also helped me in saving money, because I am not buying additional unnecessary items just because I saw it.
So if you're like I used to be and tend to be a stomach shopper... you know... buying what looks good in that moment vs buying something you actually need... then give some of my shopping tips a try!
Tip #1: Have a budget.
This will help you stay focused only on the things that you NEED, vs the monetary things that you want.
Tip#2: Write out a menu for the week.
Give yourself 7 day, even if you don't cook on all 7 days, it is always best to be prepared than to not be and have to order takeout.
Tip #3: Write a recipe list.
To your menu write down all the ingredients that you will need in order to make your weekly meals. If need be, be sure to include the measurement amounts as well, that way it will keep you from having to run back out to the grocery store for another item because you used it all in one recipe.
Tip #4: Audit your kitchen.
Yes audit your kitchen, not just your refrigerator, look through everything that you already have in comparison to the menu you wrote, and check off what you have in "stock". One of the most annoying things that I have ever done was to buy an item that I already had and that was full; or not realizing that I was out of a certain seasoning that I wanted to use... oh, and peek in your linens too, you don't want to forget that toilet paper!
Tip #5: Organize your list.
I like to use my Google KEEP app on my phone, because it allows me to check off items as I go, and I can also list them in the order of how I want to shop... For example, whenever I go to my local farmers market, I tend to shop produce, dairy, breads, then meat; so I like to write my grocery list in the order of how I enter the store. This method helps me stay focus vs straying away, and doing random shopping.
Tip #6: Eat.
Please... please, please, please.... eat before you go shopping. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is disastrous, because you're shopping by the emotion of what you could/want to eat at that moment vs what you actually need... “Stomach shopping.”
Tip #7: Check the label.
Please check the dates on what you buy, don't just grab the 1st thing you see and keep shopping. Check the dates, make sure it hasn't/isn't coming up on its expiration date... Now that's the worst, and it isn't cost or time effective.
Tip #8: Time yourself.
Give yourself a set time frame to grocery shop. This will prevent the every aisle stroll, because you know you only have so much time to get it done.
Tip #9: Go on slow days/time.
Try to avoid going grocery shopping with the evening after 5 p.m. work crowd, or shopping on major holidays. It will turn a simple 20 minute shopping experience into a 40 minute "I can't wait to get out of here" annoyed experience.
Tip #10: Use recyclable cloth grocery bags.
This is great for the environment, but also convenient for you. By using cloth bags, you don't have to carry so many fragile plastic bags that could rip at any point and have all your grocery out on the street.
I hope these tips were found useful to you in helping to grocery shop effectively! What are some of the ways you like to shop?