I hate grocery shopping.
I hate big crowds. I hate navigating bulky carts. I love kids but they, too, hate grocery stores and feel the need to declare it publicly. I could throw a 100-decibel tantrum too, but unfortunately it doesn't make someone finish all my shopping faster.
And the longer I'm there, the more likely I buy stuff I don't need and the more money I end up wasting. WAH.
We've finally mastered the process over the years. So here's how we streamlined the operation so that we're now in and out the grocery store within 30 minutes.
1. Plan Out Your Meals
Scrambling to figure out what to cook when you're already at the grocery store is a disaster waiting to happen. Do all the work in the comfort of your home, in your jammies even. Set aside 10 minutes to plan your meals for the week so you know exactly what you need.
2. Make the Ultimate Grocery List
Make a list of all your ingredients and cross-check it with your pantry or freezer. The worst is wasting time, money or food by over-buying things you didn't know you already had!
3. Organize Your List Like A Pro
Arrange your list into categories based on where aisles are located in the store. This ensures you don't forget anything and minimizes any time wasted back-tracking. For us, we head into fresh produce first, followed by natural/health foods, meats, refrigerated items and then canned goods.
Not only does mapping out a path help you shop more efficiently, it can help prevent "accidental" diversions into the junk food aisles. (Ohhh, this isn't where the spinach is displayed?)
4. Figure Out the Perfect Time to Shop
Sometimes you just have to go when your schedule allows it but if you have any flexibility, keep these factors in mind. Weekend mornings and weekday evenings seem to be the least busy times to shop. Also, go after you've eaten. I think we can all agree that decision-making isn't the greatest when it comes to keeping a hungry, irritable and foggy brain at bay.
5. Divide and Conquer (grocery aisles)
If you have a shopping buddy, share or split up the list to expedite the process. I'm the designated veggie person and my husband always gets fruit duty. We embark on our separate adventures and reconnect before heading into meats. "Adventures".. so fun.
6. Check the Hell Outta There
Keep your head down, don't make eye contact and forcibly hit anyone that gets in your way. Kidding (am I though?).
Believe it or not, the checkout aisle with the least number of people (despite number of items) is typically the fastest course to take. You can thank this guy for working out that math problem for us.
You can also shave time by loading up the conveyor belt with heavier, more durable items first. These will be packed into your shopping bin or bag before your more fragile goods. Save things like eggs and leafy greens to the end so they can be placed on top and remain protected.
That's it. Now run away and don't look back until next week!
How long does it typically take you to grocery shop? Do you have any strategies to keep it short and sweet?