Do you loathe or love grocery shopping? Personally, I don’t mind it as long as my process is streamlined and efficient. If I’m not careful I can quickly find my weekly grocery shopping trip taking all day. And that’s when I find myself loathing it. My goal is to give you smart grocery shopping tips that will help you save money and stay healthy.
Grocery Shopping Tips for a more Efficient Trip
1. It’s All About the List: Keep an Ongoing Grocery Staple List
This is key. Whenever you run out of one of your pantry staples immediately add it to your list. If I’m cooking I make a point to stop and add it to my list immediately. Otherwise, I know I will forget by the time dinner is done!
Keeping your pantry list up to date all week long will ensure you don’t run out of a hot item you regularly use.
Creating Your Ongoing Grocery List:
- Keep your list on your phone! (This may be my favorite of all the grocery shopping tips and one of the newest I’ve actually implemented!)
- You can even use an app that syncs with your spouse’s so that you are literally on the same page with what you need. Simply add or delete items as they are purchased or needed.
- My sister shared that she and her husband use the app Cozi for this which we just started using and love so far!
- If you use a paper list keep a designated spot for it so you aren’t madly searching the kitchen in the middle of cooking dinner.
- Keeping your list ORGANIZED will keep your grocery shopping trip organized. Create separate lists for different stores and bunch your items together within each store by aisle or section (ie. list the produce together, dairy together, etc.)
- With an ongoing list, this sometimes means leaving space as you write on new items.
2. Create Your Weekly Menu Before You Leave
It can feel really stressful to walk into a store and have no idea what meals you want to cook for the week! Carve some time out in your schedule BEFORE you head to the store to create your meal plan.
Tips to Planning Your Week:
- Consider how many meals you will be eating at home. Don’t forget to plan for snacks.
- If you are grocery shopping on a budget, review weekly fliers for sales and work any great deals you find into your plan.
- Jot down the meals you plan and the days you want to have them.
- If you are in need of SIMPLE meal planning inspiration, check out my friend Jennifer’s article for Quick and Uncomplicated Meal Planning Strategies! I guarantee this will give you some great ideas on making your weekly plan.
3. Decide where you will shop.
There are three key factors in considering which stores you will shop: your budget, how much time you have, and of course availability of food.
I’ve been ordering my groceries online at Kroger Clicklist off and on for the last year. In fact, ordering online absolutely saved me (in addition to the help of my family) when I found myself very pregnant with a broken foot and then again when I had a broken foot and a colicky newborn! Many Walmarts now also offer online ordering as do most other grocery stores. There are also services such as Instacart that deliver groceries straight to your door.
Benefits of Ordering Online:
- Saves time!! The time you save by not having to go into the grocery store yourself usually outweighs the cost of online ordering. This is especially true if you do your shopping in bulk once a week.
- Easier to stick to your plan. It’s much easier to stick to your list if you aren’t being bombarded by the marketing tactics of food companies.
Stick to One Store or Visit Multiple Stores
If you are limited on time or looking to simplify grocery shopping, plan to stick to one store. You can still plan to save money by using coupons at your one store or visiting an affordably priced store such as Aldi. My family shops at Aldi regularly as we find it does not only save us money but is one of the most efficient stores due to its much smaller size. (Be sure to check out the healthy foods we buy at Aldi!)
However, if you are in search of the best deals and a variety of products you may find that you prefer to go to multiple stores. Having your plan in place before you head out will help ensure no grocery item gets overlooked! You could also still plan to order your groceries online through a larger store such as Walmart or Kroger to save time and then pick up other various items not offered at other more specialized stores if needed.
4. Navigating the Stores: Stick to Your List
Making Your Grocery Selections
Having your grocery shopping list complete BEFORE you head to the store to purchase your groceries (or online) will help you stay on track, saving you money and helping you to make intentional and healthy choices. Having a plan helps you to feel confident and in control and avoid impulse buys.
Grocery Shopping Tips on a Budget
Following a budget and trying to eat healthily can feel like a contradiction when you’re in the grocery store. For some simple ideas on how you can make this work for you, be sure to check out my article on grocery budget tips.
Grocery Shopping Tips in the Checkout Lane
As you are going through the check out lane and placing your items on the counter, try to group items together that you store together in your home to make putting them away even easier!
Unpacking Your Groceries at Home
- Get your kids to help with unloading the groceries into your kitchen.
- Keep out any items you want to prep right away. If they need to be refrigerated set these foods in a special spot in the fridge so they are easy to grab when you are ready for them!
- Keep an organized pantry so that you can not only quickly put things away where they belong, but also know where to find them when you need them!
Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips
- We already talked about it in detail, but sticking to your list is hands down the best way to be intentional about the foods you bring into your home.
- Eat before you head to the store. It makes sticking to your list SO MUCH easier.
- Keep plenty of healthy stock items at home. Check out my articles on stocking a real food freezer and foods that belong in your healthy pantry. These are both filled with foods you can keep on hand to ensure you have healthy foods to eat even if you haven’t been to the store in a week.
- Be sure you plan to pick up some produce (fruits and veggies) that you can have on hand and ready to eat.
Now, pick a couple things you will change about your grocery shopping trip this coming week to have a more efficient trip full of healthy intentional decisions. You can implement some of my grocery shopping tips to make a plan that works for you and your family!