Grocery Shopping. For some people, this chore is worse than cleaning toilets or doing laundry. For other people, this is a blissful break from kids and chaos – entering the store and leaving everything else behind, just for a short period of time.
Sanity Saver or Sanity Killer
There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to grocery shopping. People either love it or hate it. Which side do you fall into?
When my kids were young and I had to take all four kids shopping, oh man, I hated it. There’s nothing worse than trying to get through the store without a dozen extras getting thrown into the cart, a kid having a meltdown, someone breaking something, a half dozen bathroom breaks, left behind carts of food to retrieve later, and the list goes on.
As my kids grow, I no longer have to take them shopping…most of the time. Now, I try to beat the crowds and go shopping early in the morning or late at night and it’s so much more peaceful.
Making a Chore More Enjoyable
Over the years of shopping, I’ve personally learned several things about how to make grocery shopping less painful, but I’ve also spent plenty of time reading the experiences of other people, trying to garner tips and tricks to make grocery shopping more efficient.
Even now, shopping alone, I still use many of the tricks I picked up during the chaos years. Since grocery shopping is one of those necessary evils in life, finding ways to make this chore more enjoyable, if that’s possible, might be the way to go.
Beyond the obvious of go shopping with a list and don’t go shopping when hungry, there are other ways to make this task a bit more enjoyable.
Tips and Tricks for Shopping
- Treat Yourself – Buy a smoothie, a tea, a cup of coffee, and sip your drink while you shop. Many carts now have cup holders to make this easier. A lot of stores have coffee shops inside them and if yours doesn’t hit a coffee shop on the way to the store. Or, if you’re on a budget, bring your own tea/coffee with you!
- Organize your List – This will keep you from backtracking over and over throughout the store and help you from spending hours grocery shopping.
- Learn your stores bulk section – Most stores have a bulk section, but they can vary DRAMATICALLY by store, so learn what your store carries. This section can save you a lot of money!
- Don’t ignore the frozen food section – This is a great spot to pick up seafood, and produce that’s not in season. March is frozen food month, and many stores offer excellent deals making it a great time to stock up on freezer items.
- Look High Look Low – Some of the less expensive items are not at eye level in the grocery aisles. Make sure you check the bottom rows for less expensive alternates and brands.
- Take Pictures – For those who don’t keep track of what they have, take a picture of your refrigerator and your pantry items. When you’re at the store and are staring at an item wondering if you already own it, check your photos! This tip has helped be more than once!
- Dig For Fresh – Most times older food is pushed to the front, so dig around for fresher items. This is true with almost everything, but always check dates on milk, meat, and other refrigerated items. This is also true for produce. Another note with produce, unique items (dragon fruit as an example) are usually sit longer than common items, such as bananas or apples.
- Appreciate the Perimeter – The healthier, whole foods are usually placed on the perimeter of the store. Only go through the aisles for specific items.
- Embrace Generics – generics can save you money and they’re often made by bigger name brands. Compare the ingredient list and if they’re the same, give them a try.
- Ask Questions – Not sure what that weird little fruit is, ask one of the produce employees. Not only will they tell you, but they might be able to give you suggestions for how to use it. This is especially important this can be in the meat counter. Ask the butcher how to cook an unfamiliar cut of meat. This is a great way to expand your horizons!
Grocery shopping is one of those tedious chores that you can never get away from, unless you have a spouse or roommate who prefers to shop. Another option to consider is shopping online and having it delivered if that is an option. If it’s not, most stores offer curbside pick up. There’s usually a small fee, but if this is something you dread or if you struggle to stick to a list, this might be the best option
Keep Sanity by Keeping it Simple
Overall, food is a big budget item and finding ways to make grocery shopping less tedious can help us embrace a chore that really will not go away. I talk a lot more about about grocery shopping in my book Meal Prep Made Easy because grocery shopping is such an important part of successful meal prep. Learn more about my book here.