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There’s an unavoidable chore we all have to do: food shopping. No matter who you are or where you live you will, eventually, need to go to the grocery store for something. For some, this is the most tedious chore of the week or month, but for others, this can be a joyful experience. While there isn’t much you can do about how busy the store is or where it’s located, you can prepare ahead of time and make your food shopping experience a lot easier.
Are you ready to make your next grocery run one you’ll enjoy? Here are seven ways to make food shopping easier.
Create a shopping list
Have you ever had the gut feeling that you needed to go food shopping without truly taking inventory of what you have versus what you need? Then, you get to the grocery store and pick up item after item, stocking your shopping cart to the point where it’s almost to the brim. Suddenly, you get home and realize you purchased countless items you already have. We’ve all made this mistake (admittedly, more than once). Luckily, there is a simple way to avoid this all-too-common mistake. Create a shopping list!
A thorough shopping list will ensure that you truly buy only what you need at the grocery store. No more extras. No more food going bad because you accidentally got too much of it. With a proper list, made before you go, suddenly you’ll make food shopping easier because you’re prepared.
Organize the list by aisle or section
Creating a shopping list to make food shopping easier is just the first step. Now, you have to follow that list at the store. But there’s something you might not be considering, as you write your list—following it. One of the best ways to save time and expedite your time at the grocery store is to organize your shopping list by aisle or section. Sure, you went through your fridge in the order of milk-chicken breast-broccoli-butter-chicken thighs-lettuce. But once at the store, if you follow the list in that order, you’ll find yourself without a head and shuffling about the store anxiety-ridden.
Take the time to edit your shopping list and write it by category or aisle. Put the dairy items together, the produce, meats, canned goods, etc. When you do it this way you’ll be able to navigate the store a lot faster. It also helps if you know what aisles are where, and organize the list according to those.
Look for sales ahead of time
Searching for sales can eat up a lot of unnecessary time while you are food shopping, despite how much money it can save you. Don’t let anyone tell you that saving 10 cents or a dollar isn’t worth it. Over time, those cents and dollars can amount to big savings. And that’s a win for you and your wallet. However, what you don’t want to do is waste time eagerly searching for those sales when you arrive. To make your food shopping experience easier, look for sales ahead of time. It used to be clipping coupons (and many people still do this), but in the digital era, there are apps you can download or websites you can specifically go to to find sales. Once you know what store you’re going to, type in the food off of your shopping list and check to see what sales pop up.
Never food shop hungry
Food is tasty. Food is tempting. So when you go to the grocery store it’s easy to want all of the things you enjoy eating, because they are spread out right in front of you. But food shopping isn’t meant to be a buffet (you’d end up going broke). It’s to buy food that you will end up eating later. With that said, never food shop while you’re hungry to avoid picking up unnecessary items. Sure, that cake looks good now but if you have dessert at home you likely don’t need to buy another. Before you head to the grocery store, eat either a light snack or a meal. Then, you’ll truly only buy what you need and stick to your list.
Go when it’s not as busy
Weekends might be the most convenient time to go food shopping for you, but it’s convenient for everyone else too. So, to make food shopping easier try and find a time to go that’s not as busy. Weekday mornings, or the middle of the day. This not only saves time in-store and on the check-out line but will greatly reduce your stress about overcrowding.
Stick to one store at a time
Much of the stress associated with grocery shopping comes from hopping around store-to-store. While it might be tempting to go to the best store for all of your needs, you might even be following your coupons, it’s hectic. If you love certain specialty stores for certain items then spread them out over several days and only go to one store at a time. Suddenly, food shopping becomes easier because it feels more like an outing and less like an obligation.
Opt for a meal delivery instead
The easiest way to make food shopping easier is to skip the store altogether and opt for healthy. If you’re bad at lists, scheduling, and overall prioritizing when to go it’s a good idea for you and your family to have your meals delivered directly to your door. While it might be more costly, it saves you a lot of time—not only at the store but in the kitchen. And time is money, after all.
Try these seven tips the next time you need to restock your kitchen and watch how much easier your food shopping becomes.