Every week or every other week most of us will find ourselves at the grocery store. We are either shopping for ourselves, our family, maybe a family gathering coming up, a pot luck, a birthday party….the list goes on.
We have to eat and let’s be real, grocery stores are incredibly convenient! How fortunate are we to have a store that supply’s our food, and does the hard work for us! Huge thank you to the farmers and businesses out there that make providing meals to my family easy and simple! We appreciate you!
But, to be completely honest, grocery shopping isn’t exactly my favorite task to do. I tend to overspend, buy unnecessary items, having crying or antsy toddlers with me, and it usually makes a miserable shopping trip. Which is why I would typically cringe when it was time to make my way to the store.
However I have since then “gained experience” and have figured out ways to have a pleasant trip every time whether I am by myself or with my kids. As well as save money and leave feeling satisfied after every check out.
Below I have 9 tips that will provide ease for your grocery shopping trips and make it stress-free every time.
- MAKE A GROCERY LIST…stick to it and don’t forget it!
This kind of seems like a no brainer but many people don’t make a list before they shop. I use to be one, I’ll admit it. My very organized husband got me into the habit of making a list every time and for that I am so grateful!
Many eye their fridge and cabinets and assume they will remember everything they need. Unfortunately, it’s not until they are already home where they realize they forgot the most important stuff. ugh! Talk about the worst! If you are going with your kids a list is crucial! As kids are super distracting when trying to shop for necessary items.
When you make your list try to categorize your items with the different aisles or sections. That way you aren’t running around from one side of the store to another. We’ve all been there, and it’s very frustrating.
tip: Throughout the week keep a pen and paper handy in your kitchen. When you notice you are out of something or in need of something write it down so you don’t forget it on your list. Once this habit is installed you won’t ever forget your list and you will get into the habit of only buying what you need.
2. Avoid Grocery Shopping On The Weekends
Why would I say avoid grocery shopping on the weekends…because it’s usually busy AF.
If you decide to shop on the weekends you should expect crowds, long lines and bagging your own groceries. Don’t even get me started with bagging my own groceries.
I personally enjoy grocery shopping when it’s less busy and I’m not having to squeeze past people.
tip: If you can only shop on the weekends I suggest going early morning or late evening. It’s so peaceful and there’s barely anyone. My personal favorite.
3. Review The Weekly AD
Let the AD become your grocery shopping companion. You should get the grocery AD once a week in your mailbox. That’s like your grocery shopping jackpot. It tells you what’s on sale, displays items that have digital coupons and more!
Another thing I never took advantage of that my husband got me into. He rocks.
Once we get the AD I review it and circle whatever interests I have in the AD. It’s a great way to save money and who doesn’t like to save money. Every penny counts these days.
tip: Download the APP for your grocery store. Not all coupons are advertised, always check the APP as well for more money saving deals.
4. Don’t Go To The Grocery Store HUNGRY
Grocery shopping and hunger are just not a good mix as most of us know. I will throw everything in the shopping cart when I am hungry and it’s usually not the healthiest food.
I highly advise avoiding hunger shopping if at all possible. It’s one way to avoid spending more money then you intended.
tip: Eat before you go, and feed your children before you go. If you must, bring a few snacks with you.
5. Get A Rein Check
Have you ever seen a smokin deal and you go to look for the product and its completely gone!! Like what gives!! It happens every once in awhile and when this happens ask for a rein check!
I had never heard of a grocery shopping rein check before. I gotta say, I love employees that inform their shoppers of things they have been missing out on.
When there is a great deal going and you find out they are out of stock you feel like you missed out. However, you don’t have to miss out anymore, just ask for a rein check.
At check out let your cashier know what you need a rein check on and they will provide a small slip that will honor that price for a certain amount of time, so next time you go to the store and see the product, you will still get the sale price! CHA-CHING.
tip: To avoid this mishap go shopping in the morning or find out your grocery stores restock days.
6. Take The Free Food To Distract Your Kids
You fed your kid or kids and they are still being squirmy. You have to mentally prepare when shopping with your kids. They are like little ticking time bombs. And if you’re lucky, they don’t explode.
I love our grocery store because in the produce department we have a little thing set up for kids that offers free fruit. I didn’t know about this until an actual produce guy walked me over and showed me. It has been a lifesaver in many occasions. Our bakery also gives out free cookies! You have to ask for a cookie, it’s not advertised, but again, lifesaver. And SOMETIMES there’s even an older man making popcorn for people!
All you have to do is ask the employees.
Not all stores do it because of allergies but its worth finding out if your store offers some goodies to keep your children distracted for a bit. And it’s also something for them to look forward to, IF they behave.
tip: If your grocery store doesn’t offer anything like this ALWAYS bring a few snacks OR let them bring a play shopping cart. One of my daughters loves to push around her shopping cart. I put a few items in there and I know she loves that she’s helping. GREAT DISTRACTION.
7. Bring A Shopping Buddy
A shopping buddy is essential for me. I have two toddlers and I just never like to chance it with them. Even before I had kids I would invite friends to shop with me. We would grab a coffee, catch up and shop together. It definitely makes the trip more enjoyable.
My parents help me big time with my shopping trips. It’s a fun way to spend time with their grandkids and they get their shopping done too. It’s a win win.
tip: If you bring a buddy break your list in half. One goes one way, one goes the other and you get out of the store in half the time! Score! Treat them to a happy hour! Or invite them over and make them a meal.
8. Create A Meal Plan For The Week
Meal planning will help you avoid food going to waste. I’m not saying you need to have a meal planned from Monday-Sunday, even I’m not that organized. Although I wish I was…….*sigh*
What I’m saying is review your pantry, fridge, cabinets, lazy susan, etc before you go shopping. Look for the items that have just been sitting there for quite some time, make sure they aren’t expired, and search on pinterest or google for meal ideas for that particular food item.
For example, right now I have bread crumbs that have sitting around for however long, a can of pumpkin, and a bag of beans. So, maybe this week I’ll make a meatloaf, a pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and, bean and cheese burritos.
On my grocery list I’ll add the additional ingredients I need to get to make those specific meals.
Too often we buy items and they just end up sitting there till they expire! What a waste of money! Or they get buried between other items and we completely forget about them! It does happen, but you can avoid this by reviewing your cabinets and meal planning.
Tip: Review your Pantry once a week or every 2 weeks to avoid clutter in your cabinets and fridge. As well as avoiding wasted food. And search on pinterest for meal ideas when you can’t think of anything to make with something specific you have. I absolutely love pinterest for this very reason!
9. Have A Budget In Mind
Have a budget in mind, but allow yourself a little wiggle room in case you go over. There have been times I have been embarrassed to tell my husband how much I have spent in groceries. Partly because I didn’t follow these previous tips.
I would go hungry, I would buy things we already had but I forgot, I wasn’t taking advantage of the deals or coupons that I had, if it looked good or sounded good I would buy it, and overall I just wasn’t being the greatest shopper with what I was buying.
Buy only items you need or will use and start keeping track on the average amount of money you are spending. Whatever items you buy often, (exp. milk, bread, butter, peanut butter, etc.) stock up when it’s on sale.
Going in with a budget will provide peace of mind and allow you to be more in control and less stressed at check out because you already know how much you will be spending.
tip: On many of the grocery apps it tells you exactly how much an item is. You can make a your grocery list and have a total before you even go. If you need to adjust it, you can do it so it fits your family’s budget before you shop.
That’s all I have folks. If you have any other tips or tricks for a more pleasant grocery shopping trip please comment! I’d love to hear how it can get better!
HAPPY SHOPPING! Wishing you stress free trips every time!