7 Tips to Shop Faster and Save Money at the Grocery Store

Y’all grocery shopping is not one of my favorite things to do. It is draining on both my mind and strength. I know I cannot be the only one, so I am going to give you a few pointers on getting in and out of the grocery store fast!

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Now send me some love if you shop with your little ones. I do and that is why I need some love. Shopping with your little one (0 to 3) can be an extra bottle of wine kind of exhausting. Kids will be kids and their attention and patience will only last so long. So, for all my momma’s out there that shop with your kids I give you a huge pat on the back!!!

Reminder to sign up to receive your own organized shopping list. The list is organized by sections and isles.

1)      Research the Sales

Before you do anything else you need to look at your local store ads and see what is on sale. Why pay more if you can get it for less. Just be careful that you are not actually spending more money. I personally only shop store sales and do not worry about coupons. The reasoning behind this is the store brands are often cheaper than even the coupon can get the item.

2)      Top Three Stores.

In Gulf Breeze mine were Wal-Mart (Online order), Winn-Dixie for bogo and meats, and then Sam’s Club for bulk. You do not want to be running all over town grabbing one or two items from each store. In the end you will have used an entire day, have a very cranky child, and have spent the extra .35 you saved on the item in gas.

3)      Order Online - Pickup Instore 

This is my NUMBER 1 tip here and I absolutely love doing this! When I first tried this, I did not notice the price difference. I was more concerned (ecstatic) about the fact my little one was playing happily in the floor of our home while I shopped. There was a price difference of about $50.00 bucks I saved each trip I did not make.

A few stores I know allow you to order online and pickup

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  • Wal-Mart
  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • Whole Foods
  • Trader Joe’s (order through apps)
  • H-E-B (Texas only and only a few cities)

Click here for more details about picking up and delivery of these stores

I know for some this may not be your favorite idea. Friends I have told about this have brought up some reservations about the quality of the produce and meat they will receive. I have ordered several times and only had one bad batch of produce. After that one bad batch, I always just ask to take a quick peek at the produce before excepting the order. You are always welcome to ask them to grab a fresher item if you are not happy with the way yours looks.

I promise you that once you have tried the online ordering you will not want to stop!

4)      Make A Meal Plan

This is a tip just about everyone has, but that is because it is so worth it. I plan my meals out weekly and generally only plan for dinner. This is because I never know how many leftovers and what we will be in the mood for. To me breakfast and lunch are easier just to have a few staple items on hand. We generally eat the same things for both meals.

The meal planning process at first may take you a bit, but there are a few great ways to organize preplanned meals. This way you can just grab the meal and write down your needed items on your shopping list.

I personally like to use the app COZI to keep all my meals. They have a very easy system that allows you to easily add meals from YouTube, Pinterest, and other blogs. Plus, you can go through and insert them into your calendar for a simple no paper meal plan. Bonus you can set reminders to lay out the meat you will need for the dinner. With Cozi’s easy to search system you do not have to spend loads of time looking for the meal you are wanting to plan either.

Extra Tip: I have my meals broke down into vegetable side, grain side, and meat portion. I did this, because I did not always want to have Pork Chops and Green Beans. I may want to have Pork Chops and Salad one night instead.

Another way is to have a binder with clear post card holders inside. Then you just write your meals on the post cards and ingredients on the back. I did this style by buying different color post cards to organize the different types of meats and separate my side items. Ex. Yellow was for Chicken, green was for vegetables, pink was for beef/steak, etc. This was the first way to organize a meal plan I tried. I did not like my hand writing, so I decided I needed a new way to organize my meals. That is when I found the Cozi app previously mentioned.

5)      Make Your Shopping List

Once you have your meal plan you can easily go in and make your shopping list. With the list, I created you will be able to glide through the store with ease as you gather your items. (Cozi offers a shopping list as well, if you like working off of an app verse paper in the store.)

When I create my shopping list I first go through my pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what I have left. This way I am not double buying something I already have.

Funny Store: George and I somehow kept losing the sour cream in our fridge. At one point, we had like 5 things of sour cream. I shop Winn-Dixie a lot and they almost always have sour cream bogo. Needless to say, we had to come up with a few meals to use all that sour cream.

Next, I go through and add in all my staple items these include our regulars for breakfast and lunch. Some of my staple items are cheese (5lbs to be exact. We like cheese), breakfast sausage, oatmeal, tortillas, milk, eggs, etc. Once that is done I move on to adding items from the meals I have planned. So, my process goes faster I name the items I need and then put tally marks beside it to indicate how many I need. So, say I need avocado I would just write “avocado” and then put two tally marks. This way as I am going through my meal plan I can just add tally marks for repeat items. Before I started doing this I would always run out of the items I needed for meals later on.

6)      In the store

Only get what is on your list. Sounds super easy, but can be somewhat challenging especially if you go shopping when you are hungry. You should always eat before you go.

Stay on target and only hit the isles you need to. Your path through the store should allow you to only see that area once (as much as possible). Coming back a second time gives your eyes time to wonder to those delicious cookies.

Most experts suggest hitting the perimeter of the store and I have done this style of shopping. However, I have always found that when I eat before and only look for items on my list I am not as tempted by the middle isle goodies.

With that this is my general shopping layout.

  • -Produce
  • -Wine
  • -Tea (no coffee lovers here)
  • -cereal, pop tarts, oatmeal, etc.     
  • -Crackers and chips 
  • - Condiments (including stuff for taco and Italian nights)
  • - Can goods if low (I use mainly fresh or frozen)
  • -Baked goods because I bake cakes (Flutterby Cakery)
  • - Meats
  • - Frozen
  • - Dairy
  • -Bread (Since it must go on top I like grabbing it last)

Keep in mind this is just a general idea/ an example for a route. Since discovering online ordering I now run into Winn-Dixie hit up the meat and then zoom to the bogo’s I have on my list. Here in Gainesville I have shopped at both Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s. Both stores have amazing layouts. I liked them because you can start on one end and by the time you reach the other side you have hit everything.  

Try different routes and see what works best for you. Keep in mind when picking your route that you should consider how you will fill your cart. You do not want to spend 5 minutes rearranging once you hit whatever is next on your list. I have done this before and it takes a lot more time than you would think.

7)      Pick a Line

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I have another article I am referring y’all to for this one. This topic is enough for an entire post on its own. The article was featured on Today.com and it is all the tips you need to know about picking your line. The line you pick is important especially since by this time everyone is normally ready to get out of the store. Click here for the article.

Closing thoughts

I know this advice will help decrease your shopping time and get your shopping trips more organized. A little extra tip making multiple small trips to the store cost more and takes more time. You will spend less time planning meals each week than you will running to the store for something you forgot. Here is an article I enjoyed about just that. Share your next shopping trip times with #Imitationlife on Instagram or Facebook.

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