Father and daughter grocery shopping in grocery store

Grocery store game plan

Going to the grocery store can be anything from a dreaded chore to an out of control shopping spree. Knowing how to make the most of your trip can save you time and money.

Plan meals ahead

Lots of things can help you plan a week’s worth of meals ahead of time. Check the grocery store flyer that I’m sure you get in the mail every week. See what is on sale. Chicken breasts? Plan a meal or two around them. See what coupons you have if you save them.

Check the pantry 

Before you head out see what you have in stock in the pantry and refrigerator.  While you are looking in the fridge, toss uneaten leftovers that have been around for five days or more.

Keep a running grocery list

Put things on your list as you see supplies are running low. Don’t wait until there is no milk before adding milk to the list, get it when you still have a little left. If it’s not too time consuming, arrange the list the way the store is laid out to be efficient and avoid backtracking. Although, backtracking is one way to get your steps in for the day.

Go when it’s not crowded

Try to pick days and times to visit the store when they are not usually crowded. Waiting in line is a big time waster. Don’t shop when you are hungry! That leads to buying things you don’t normally purchase, often times unhealthy items.

Don’t buy more perishable food than you will eat in a week

Think about what you just tossed from the fridge. Did you buy too much produce last week? Consider scaling back so there is less waste of food and money. The perishable food is on the perimeter of the store. That’s where you find the healthiest food too – vegetables, fruit, milk, cheese and eggs are all on the perimeter.

Pick one store

You might like to shop in one store for some products and another store for other products. This is not an efficient way to use your time. Stop off at the secondary store to buy that one thing you like to get there on a day when you are already in that neighborhood.

Buying in bulk

Bulk items can save you money especially if you have room to store large containers. However, you can end up buying a lot more than what you can use in a reasonable amount of time. Think about it before you toss a 6-pack of extra large ketchup bottles into your shopping cart.

Impulse shopping

Point of sale items like gum and mints are by the cash registers for impulse shopping. Other places around the store are set up to encourage you to buy certain items. These items are strategically placed by psychologists who have determined that certain sights and smells are conducive to buying. Don’t get sucked in by your emotions. Stick to your list.

So create a meal plan, make a list, check your pantry, avoid impulse purchases and visit your favorite grocery store when it’s not too crowded. Compare the results to how your grocery shopping week usually goes. I think you’ll be happy you gave it a try.

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