How much time do you spend shopping at the grocery store each week? Do you dread going because you know you’ll be there for over an hour? Do you wish you could be more efficient?
I used to go to the store without a plan, too. And it was not pretty! I had to trek the store multiple times to find what I missed; and of course, there were times when I pulled into the parking spot and realized I forgot my coupons.
I was not very good at managing my time, but I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way so now I can usually be in and out in 20-25 minutes! Here are 5 ways to save time at the grocery store to help you be more efficient, save money, and give you more time to relax at home instead of the store.
Organize list by aisle
This first tip alone saves me SO much time at the store. I’ve shopped at my local Aldi so many times that I’ve pretty much memorized where everything is.
After I finish my grocery list, I go through it and categorize all my items by aisle. If I don’t, I have to keep backtracking to grab this item or that item; and if you’re a regular Aldi shopper, you know how those aisles can be. There’s almost a certain “flow” to them; and if you break that flow, you create traffic jams.
I use Google Docs to make my list instead of pen and paper, because it’s much easier to make those changes and organize my list. A paper list would work okay, too; you could make columns of categories and add each item to the right spot when you make your list.
Keep coupons organized by category
Speaking of organizing, make sure your coupons are in order, too! I have a file envelope with different categories like Dairy/Meat, Frozen, Boxed Food, etc. So if I see an item that’s on sale, I can easily check that particular folder to see if I have a coupon.
And I have a section in the very back for coupons that I plan to use during that shopping trip. Those two combined make things so much easier for me once I’m in the store!
Keep your eyes on the prize- don’t get distracted
I have two different kinds of shopping trips: One where I meander around to see what’s on sale; and one where I’m pretty much “Get your stuff and get out”. The latter is more common, and I focus only on what’s on my list. It works a lot better when I know I’m on a tight budget that week and can’t afford to buy any extras. John’s frequently surprised that I can enter a store, do all my shopping, and be out in like 20 minutes; efficiency is key!
If at all possible, go to the store by yourself. No kids, no spouse. When I drop off Allison at preschool on Fridays, I make a beeline for the Aldi right down the street and get the bulk of my shopping done.
I know that’s easier said that done; but if at all possible, go by yourself! Not only will this save time, but money as well, because you won’t have people buzzing in your ear to buy this, buy that, this item is on sale, etc.
Shop during less busy hours
Have you ever gone grocery shopping at 6:00 on a Saturday morning? It’s pretty glorious because the store is EMPTY. I like being able to maneuver my cart through the aisles without bumping into people who leave their cart right in the middle, or just stop to look at every item on the shelf.
The checkout lines are also empty so early mornings are really the perfect time. If that’s not possible, try later in the evening, like 8:00 PM.
Following the above tips should help you shave down your shopping time and make grocery shopping a breeze! The more you practice, the better you’ll get; especially once you start memorizing where everything is in the store (That’s my biggest time hack!).
What are your best tips on how to save time at the grocery store? Share in the comments below!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.