We’ve all done it. Made a quick run to the grocery store because we’re out of milk, or because we forgot to get stuff for dinner tonight. Perhaps you’ve even made the mistake of heading to the grocery store without a list while you were incredibly hungry. In either of these scenarios chances are you will leave the store either missing items you needed, with extra items you really didn’t need to buy, or both.
The way to avoid these situations, frustrations, and potentially expensive mistakes is with a well thought out grocery list. Creating a well thought out grocery shopping list will save you both time and money.
What Do You Need
The first step of course is determining what you need from your local market. There are some great techniques to help with this.
- Keep a list up in a convenient place in your home. This allows you to jot down items as you become aware that you are out of or about to be out of them. This eliminates the stress of trying to remember later what you may or may not need.
- Determine how often you’d like to make the trip to the grocery store. Maximize your time and efforts by getting everything you will need in one trip. Nothing is worse than having to make that extra trip, on the fly, before dinner because you just realized you forgot butter.
- Another great tip/tool is to use pre-made grocery lists from templates you can find online. Sometimes you may even find things on these pre-made lists that you never would have remembered to think of.
- Be sure to think ahead. Certain items in your home are used more frequently. It can be very helpful to predict ahead of time when you will run out of those grocery store items. Obviously you can’t do this with everything you have at home, but it should be fairly easy with things such as milk, bread, and other common commodities.
- Make sure your list doesn’t just name the items, but that it also lists the quantity of each one. Nothing is worse than starting a recipe only to find out you didn’t purchase enough of the ingredient you are trying to use.
- Clean out your refrigerator before you travel to the grocery store and take inventory of what you have on hand.
- Phone apps. – There are many apps out there that help make the task of grocery list writing easier. Having your list with you on your phone makes sense. It’s incredibly convenient and most people always have them on them.
- Coupons – Make sure you look up coupons and organize them before you head out. Market Basket publishes their weekly specials online every week. You can easily download them or even have them emailed to you weekly.
- Create a master list of recurring items and items that you want to ensure are ALWAYS available.
- Healthier choices – When you plan ahead, there is a better chance you will checkout with a grocery cart full of healthier foods. People who shop with a list are much less likely to make impulsive and usually less healthy choices at the grocery store.
More Efficient Trips
- Organize your list to maximize your time in the store. By putting items in order by aisle and department you will have a much more efficient visit to the store. So much time is wasted making multiple trips to the dairy or produce department.
- Try to shop during less busy times. Not only are checkout times reduced but the store is easier to navigate and your shopping experience will be expedited.
- Use your own reusable bags. Yes, this may not save you time, but you’ll just feel good about yourself as you checkout.
- Make sure you check your expiration dates on products before you purchase them. No one wants to waste food because it expired. Save time, money, and trips to the store by maximizing the shelf life of your groceries.
- Lastly, don’t forget to shop for frozen items last. (We think the reason is pretty self explanatory)
Now it’s your turn. We’d love to hear from you. What are your tips and tricks to more efficient grocery store visits?