Learn to do your grocery shopping smarter and faster with good meal planning

I love going to the grocery store. Does that surprise you? Maybe it does if you’ve been going about grocery shopping the wrong way. The key to loving this chore is to always go in with a plan. If you wander in on your way home from work, with no list in hand, you’re going to be frustrated. It’s going to take forever and you’re going to be so pissed when you get Linda, the slowest checker to ever run a scanner. (Please note that names have not been changed to protect the innocent. Linda is absolutely the slowest checker in the history of checkers. You know it’s true, Linda)

First Grocery Shopping Commandment: NEVER Go in Without a List

Even if you only have to pick up a few things, make a quick list.  You need to keep your attention focused.  You go in for milk and eggs and you come out with Easter candy…in May. This little picture may look familiar if you have read my Take 5 Minutes to Check Out My Meal Planning Bundle post.  Going grocery shopping without a list is going to cost you more time, money and stress.

Having a good list saves you time and money when you go grocery shopping!

Second Grocery Shopping Commandment:  Know Your Store

You have to know the layout of your store like the back of your hand.  The more you wander the aisles, the more stuff will be in your cart, or buggy if you’re in the south.  For this reason, I only go to one grocery store.  I watch the sales at my store and plan accordingly.  I know some people drive all around, buying whatever is on sale at whatever store, but I don’t have time for that mess.  You may save 20 cents on pork butt, but you’re probably spending 30 cents on gas, not to mention your valuable time.

Most stores have a little printed guide at the customer service counter.  Grab one and take it home so that you can use it later in this process.

Get to know the people who work at the store.  Look at their name tags and say hi.  These people are your friends.  If you take the time to say hello and smile, they are going to be more than happy to check in the back to see if there is any more tonic (Not crappy Schwepp’s either.  The good stuff, Fever Tree.)  Paying attention will also alert you to Linda, so you don’t get in her line.

Hey, have you checked out my Meal Planning Bundle yet?  Three Free Printables to Make Meal Planning a Breeze

Third Grocery Shopping Commandment:  Make a Good List

The purpose of a list is to make sure you get everything you need, so you need to make a good, complete list.  You can do that by:

  • Keep a running list somewhere visible and train your family to use it.  Everyone who can write can add something to the list when they use the last of it.  Yes, I’m aware that “pretty princess high heels with sparkles” may find it’s way to your list.  It’s about trade offs, people!
  • Add ingredients from your What’s Cookin’ Hot Stuff? menu planner.  You haven’t got one of those?  Well, bless your heart, click here
  • Check your staples, like flour, sugar, milk, eggs.  Add these if you’re about to run out.
  • Think about breakfast and lunch.  Make sure you have green grapes on the list because heaven forbid, you don’t add a serving of fruit to that child’s lunch.  You’lll get the side eye for sure from the judgy lunchroom monitor.
  • Add cleaning supplies and bathroom essentials.

Good work!  You are going to feel so cool when the last paper towel is used and, BAM!, you pull another roll right off of the shelf!

Fourth Grocery Shopping Commandment:  Make an Organized List

Look at your list.  You have milk, apples, wine, cereal, etc.  If you walk into the store with that list, you’ll be running all around the store for things and, oh shit, I forgot the mayonnaise (Duke’s, of course)!  You have to reorder your list.

“Kim, are you freakin’ serious?  I don’t have freakin’ time to re-freakin’-write my freakin’ list!”  I was prepared for some pushback here, but really, let’s watch our language!  Hear me out.

If you put your list in order of how you will travel through the grocery store, you will save so much time.  I can shop for a week’s worth of groceries and a holiday meal in 30 minutes…unless Linda.  It also let’s you see everything a second time so you might remember something that you forgot.  And you can leave the princess high heels off.

Check out that little printed guide of your grocery store that I mentioned earlier.  Look to see how things are organized and rewrite your list so that you can go in order.  This is how I do it:

  1. Interior. This is where the cereal, condiments, pop and cookies live in harmony along side of organic rice and wheat germ.
  2. Pharmacy and beauty supplies.
  3. Cold stuff.  These things usually live around the exterior of the store.
  4. Produce.  I end with produce so it goes on top of everything else and doesn’t get squished.

Now that’s a game plan!  You are going to march into that Piggly Wiggly and kick some grocery butt!

Remember to move quickly and only get things on your list.  Taking just a few minutes to plan your grocery shopping will save you money, time and stress.  Make sure you picked up the amazing Meal Planning Bundle from my free resource library by clicking here.
What’s your best tip for getting through the grocery store fast?

Kim Mayo