Grocery Shopping Made Easy

I like going to the grocery store. I always appreciate the fact that it is available for me to go and pick up everything I need. As a prepper, I always wonder if the day will come when it is not available. If the store shelves are suddenly empty. Then what? Part of being a prepper is efficiency. One of the things I’ve learned is how to make grocery shopping a bit easier. Not only in terms time, but in terms of my wallet as well.

I was talking to a friend recently, who was complaining about grocery shopping. They spoke of how busy the store is, how tedious and time consuming the entire experience was, and just unhappy about it. They approached it like it was a chore. You know the person who always complains that adulting sucks. Yeah, that person.

We all know one, or several. Now, I don’t know about you, but I was a bit shocked by this complaint. I mean, I love grocery shopping. Maybe I’m a nerd, maybe it’s because I’m OCD in being organized, and maybe it’s because I usually go with my husband, so it is time spent with him. Or it could be a combination of all those things. No matter what the reason, it got me thinking, how can I make shopping easier, or help someone else? So I started thinking and came up with a list of not only efficient things to do, but a better mindset to go in with.

Know Your Store This is quite honestly the key to saving time and money. Figure out when it’s busy and when it’s not, when they open and when they close, how the store is laid out. Plan ahead, and by knowing the store you’re going to, planning ahead will be even easier.

Plan ahead. I usually go in the late evening, around 10-11pm. This is simply because it is a time that my husband and I have to go and get things done. Thank goodness for 24 hour stores. If this is not your preferred time, think about early morning, especially on weekends. I pick the times I go to the gym based on the same things. I also try desperately to avoid Costco on weekends. It all depends on the store you frequent. This is part of knowing your store and will really help you. Pick the time that works the best for you, but it is also not busy.

Categorize your grocery list by like items Make a list with categories, fruit, veggies, dairy, canned food, laundry supplies, household goods like toilet paper or paper towels, and so on. This helps promote efficiency. For example, when I go to WalMart, I start with non-food items first, like if I need shampoo or bathroom items, and when I walk in the store, I take an immediate left and start over on that side of the store.

I try not to wander too close to the yarn or video game sections because those are areas that distract both my husband and myself. They both also get expensive quickly. Knowing how the store is laid out, I can avoid these things pretty easily. Not always, but most of the time. Once I am done with non-food items, I’ll go start at the back of the store.

This would be dairy items, then the household items like toilet paper and laundry supplies, and so on down the line. I know that once I reach produce, it’s over. Time to check out and be done. Having that list categorized makes things much easier because I’m not running back and forth around the store. Try walking the length of a store back and forth a few times over because you’re not organized. It’s seriously miserable. After leg day at the gym, I’m already praying someone will just run me over with a shopping cart so I have an excuse to cut the trip short. Don’t make it any more difficult on yourself.

Set a timer/Time Limit Honestly, this one is easy for me. My husband works two jobs, and usually has a couple of hours in between the two to come home and that is when we run errands and take care of stuff like grocery shopping. So we walk in, we decide when we need to be out of the store in terms of time.

Depending on the store and if they have slow cashiers, we’ll set a time when we want to be in line, so we have extra time to wait forever. If we go to a store where they’re more efficient, we don’t dedicate as much time for standing in line. But we know our stores and so we know how to divide up our time and it usually works out in terms of being out the door on time.

Go grateful. This one may be why I had such a difficult time understanding why my friend was complaining about grocery shopping. I’m always grateful that the store exists, that their hours work with my schedule, that they aren’t out of anything I need. I also look at it as time with my husband, exercise, and it’s taking care of my family. I’m stocking my pantry, fridge, and freezer up, just in case the store won’t be available tomorrow.

The prepper in me says, be darn grateful the store is still here and this isn’t an issue right now. I always hope that it never will be, but I’m trying to be ready if it does happen. I’m also grateful for the fact a store helps the community by providing not only my ability to shop there, but it gives jobs to those who need them.

I’m happy that I can walk around the store without a problem, that I have a shopping cart so I don’t have to carry things. Be grateful you have the money to go shopping, or even a home to store your groceries in. There’s a ton of things to be happy and grateful for, it’s simply a matter of reminding yourself of them, and training your mind to think in a positive way.

Leave the treats at the store! I’m currently re-training my mind to think about treats. I think of treats as something healthier, like apples or almonds. I so love snacking on almonds, or a package of freeze-dried fruits. Which I highly recommend those instead of potato chips.

My husband always picks up potato chips and ice cream. Cool. I don’t. I always aim for healthier treats. When you avoid all of the eye-level stuff, like candy in the checkout line, your body (especially your booty) and your wallet will thank you. Stick to your list, as this is where that will come in handy too. If it’s not on the list, we don’t buy it.

Hydrate and eat before. Grocery shopping when you are hungry is THE single worst thing you can ever do to either your body or your wallet. No joke. If you go when you’re hungry, everything and I very much mean everything looks good. Have you ever seen the memes that say, “I went grocery shopping hungry and now I’m the proud owner of isle 7?” Yeah, it’s sooooo easy to do. If you’re like me and you utilize every inch of cabinet and pantry space, having this happen is an absolute nightmare.

Because, where are you going to put everything? Everything has a place in my house, so I can’t put something away that I don’t have room for. This is also the point when we make unhealthy choices in food as well. That bag of potato chips is calling my name. Oh look! Frozen pizza! When this happens to me, I feel sluggish and cranky after I’ve eaten that stuff. So I try to just avoid it all together and save myself a lot of time and pain.

I also think of grocery shopping as exercise. You wouldn’t go to exercise without being ready by eating and drinking something beforehand, right? Same thing applies to shopping. You need to be ready, because you’ll burn up some calories while you’re shopping, because you are honestly exercising. It’s not a marathon or anything huge, but it is still exercise. Keep your body moving by eating and drinking first.

The drive home – I always appreciate trips to the grocery store. I look over at my husband, and think about the fact that we just spent some quality time together, that we are able to drive to the store and buy whatever we need without having to worry about it. That the store is there and my prepping supplies haven’t become a necessity.

That we now have the supplies to make a meal and spend more time together. I will never understand the people who say adulting sucks. Because it really is a mindset, a little planning, and things run smooth and efficiently.

As I’m headed home after a shopping trip, I’m thinking about these things and the simple fact that life is good. It’s all in the mindset of how you approach things. But, by doing some of the things I listed above, you can easily change your mindset and make something like grocery shopping go from a chore to an enjoyable experience that goes quickly and easily.

I have talked about prepping and being better organized than most in previous posts. By staying organized and making store trips more efficient, it can cut down on the number of trips made to the store, for me it is every couple of weeks, versus a couple times per week. Huge savings right there on gas, time, and more. Making the trips to the store more efficient and easier is even better.

Hopefully this helps you to make your grocery store trips run smooth and easy. For me, these tips are an absolute must-follow.

17 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping Made Easy”

  1. These are great tips for grocery shopping. Eating before you go is so important. I hate to go to a store I’m not familiar with—it takes so much longer and I often have to double back to find items I’ve missed. I prefer my local store and a list in order of the aisles.

  2. So for the last 2 months, I’ve been working a side hustle for a company called Instacart. I in-store shop for groceries for people and then deliver them. I work this at nights after my regular job. I have dropped my amateur food shopping status and moved up to the professional levels (I deemed myself a pro as there is no test for it) 🙂

    The reason I say this is because I spend a ton of time in the supermarket now and these tips are dead on. The part about eating beforehand is huge. I am straving thinking about everyone elses groceries I’m buying! Also th ebest thing to do they say is to stay on the outside aisles of the stores as thats where the good food is kept. All the crappy (but good tasting stuff) is in those inner aisles. Knowing hte stote layout is a huge help. Great tips!

  3. Great tips, Erica. I try to write a list before grocery shopping (or before my husband goes shopping). I always visualise the store and write my list in the order everything will be found. It makes it so much easier. However, occasionally the supermarket throws us when they change the store layout!

    I like your, ‘be grateful’ tip. Aren’t we so lucky? One shop with everything we need. It makes life so much easier.

  4. Fran Jorgensen

    Thank you so much for sharing these great tips! I like to always shop in the same place because I feel that I know where everything is … every time I try a new place it takes me twice as long! I will be trilling your great tips!

  5. My friends always wonder why do I love going to the grocery store, why can’t I order online. I cannot get them to understand it doesn’t feel the same. love to go pick my grocery right where I can feel them and most of the time is in the same place.

  6. Eating before going always saves me dollars and dollars! Nothing’s ever as stressful on a full stomach – and going later at night is a great tip too. We usually go around 8pm when there are only about three other people in the store!

  7. Your post is excellent. Plan ahead, even for the trip to the grocery store. I really like your tip to know the busy times of the store. My wife and I went food shopping on a Monday night recently and since it was almost empty of people, we cut almost 45 minutes off the chopping time.

  8. Give me a choice between grocery shopping and clothes shopping and I’ll pick grocery shopping anytime. I love it. Since I’m retired, I avoid weekends for shopping when its really crowded. I go in the morning when there are less people, know exactly which aisles I need to go to for what. Also, love your tip of eating before going shopping. I remember once I went without having my breakfast and looking at all the food the tummy is growling. Bought the worst ever slice of cake, ate it and then felt sick the rest of the day!

  9. Grocery run is a breather for me. I chose to do it late at night when the store are less crowded and I can quickly breeze in and breeze out.
    We have a board where we write things that we need, and I just snapped it and buy exactly what we needed. It has helped with impulse buying and repeat visit to the store.

  10. Wonderful tips, I have zero self control at the grocery store when I’m hungry. I’m an impulsive shopper and I like getting snacks. I have to start setting a time limit otherwise I’d shop all day!

  11. I find your post about grocery shopping very helpful. There are times when I add to the cart things not on the shopping list, like candies and sweets. It helps to see how these can be replaced by fresh and dried fruits. And how eating before doing the groceries can help to stick to the shopping list.

  12. Lavern Moore

    Like you, I actually like to do my own shopping even though The convenience of home delivery is tempting. I have a method to shopping similar to yours and can definitely relate.

  13. I like your tip of making a grocery list and categorizing it by items. I will keep that in mind the next time I go grocery shopping! 🙂

  14. Categorize your grocery list by like items is the tip I needed to make my grocery shopping easy from now onwards. I waste a lot of time in grocery stores simply because I am never organized enough to pick specific products from the same category at the same time. Thank you for sharing.

  15. I use our local deparetment store’s online shopping then curbside pick-up. I can use my coupons more effectively and control impulse purchases and take several hours to build my list. Plus, I loathe grocery shopping!

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