Grocery shopping isn’t my favorite thing. It’s expensive and time consuming. But it has to be done and here are 10 ways to make it easier, or at least more successful.
1. Don’t shop hungry. I can’t believe how much more I buy, or at least want to buy, when I shop hungry. I wouldn’t have believed this tip was really true if I hadn’t experienced it personally.
2. Shop alone whenever you can. Kids and spouses tend to make your grocery trip take longer and cost more. Unless, of course, you’re shopping with your spouse and they happen to be the grocery store police. When my husband goes with me, I don’t spend as much. If I pick something up that I really shouldn’t buy, he says: “Do we really need that?” And I begrudgingly put it back. So if your spouse or children help you spend less, then by all means, take them along. However, that’s not normally the case. Most of the time, shopping alone is best.
3. Shop with a list. Lately I’ve been going back and forth between feeling too busy to plan or just not wanting to. So I’ve been shopping with a partially made list. That is never good for me! When I shop with a partial list, I come home with a bunch of stuff I don’t need and a bigger bill than I expected or wanted.
4. If you’re trying to spend only a certain amount, make a detailed list AND add it up before you go! I don’t want to shop with a calculator or add as I go, so I make an extremely detailed and thorough list and write down the expected amounts next to each item. I round up the amounts (instead of $2.50 I’ll write $3) and am generous with my estimates. The “extra” covers the sales tax.
5. Have a plan for stuff you forgot to put on the list. Have you ever gotten to the store and seen a product and realized you need that but it isn’t on your list? That happens pretty often to me. Here are a couple of ways to handle that situation.
- You can skip the item and hope for the best.
- You can skip something else you may not have to have and get the forgotten item instead.
- You can build a little extra into the list for forgotten items. When my husband shopped with me, he liked buying new things to try. So rather than mess up the budget when he wanted to purchase some weird fruit or vegetable or other product, I allowed $10 for “surprises”. It worked great!
6. Timing – which day to shop. I’ve moved my grocery store day to Tuesday for now. It’s not my preference but it works best for my schedule. Moving it from Wednesday eliminated a lot of stress from my life. So regardless of which day is best for sales or other discounts, choose the day that works best for YOUR schedule.
7. Timing – what time of day to shop. I’ve tried every time of day - morning, afternoon, evening. If I go when it’s busy, there are more checkers and sackers but also more people to work around. If I go when it’s not busy, there aren’t as many checkers or sackers but there also aren’t as many people to deal with. So I guess you have to pick which factor bugs you the most and choose a time based on that. For me, I prefer morning when it’s not as crowded.
8. If your grocery store doesn’t carry a product you want, you can sometimes ask them to get it for you. I’m not sure if that would work for Aldi or Wal-mart, but for major grocery stores like HyVee or Price Chopper, I’ve had success asking them to get a product for me. It doesn’t happen overnight, but they eventually get it if they can.
9. Don’t linger. The longer you stay in the store, the more you’ll spend. So get in, get your stuff and get out! Your budget and your schedule will thank you.
10. Shop on the same day each week. If you shop on the same day each week, your grocery trip is already built into your schedule so you don’t have to try to figure out when to go. It also helps with planning. When I make my list, I plan for one week. It’s easier to plan when I know I need to buy enough for one week.
What are your tips for making grocery shopping more successful?