I’m forever looking for ways to simplify and make things easier and less stressful. Simplifying grocery shopping is always something I’m tinkering with, and these are a few of the things I’ve learned to do to make my grocery trips less time consuming and more productive.
1. I make a categorized shopping list. I use a sheet of unlined paper and make columns for each section of the grocery store I will be buying from: Produce, Organics/All Natural, Grocery, Frozen. Adjust this for the sections you shop. This makes it so much easier for me to scan my produce list and make sure I got everything I need from just that department.
2. I don’t have a budget. I know that for many people a budget is key. However, I am fortunate enough to be able to spend a little extra if I feel something is worth it. For instance, if an item we use all the time (all-natural peanut butter, for instance) is on sale for only a few more days, then we stock up with several jars because we eat a lot of peanut butter. Also, if we come across markdowns/clearance on items that we like or will use, we will grab those too, even if they aren’t on the list (toilet paper, vitamins, dishsoap, etc). The bottom line is that, for us, it absolutely saves money in the long run.
3. I go on a bigger trip every other week, with a fresh produce trip every week. In the past I went on a weekly grocery trip. Over time, it just became a chore. I would feel stressed about getting to the grocery and it was making me cranky. We switched to going on a large trip every other week, which has simplified grocery shopping for us. Now I only have a big trip roughly twice a month, and on off weeks, all we need to do is a super quick trip through produce to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables.
4. I plan on some snack foods or easy meals nights. I could pretend that I make super healthy and fresh meals 7 nights a week, but it just doesn’t happen. Ever. With a full-time job and a little girl, it isn’t reality for me. It makes my life less stressful to accept that there will be a night or two where I just don’t have the time or energy to cook. On those nights, I can put together something simple like frozen veggie burgers, peas, and apple slices and not worry about the temptation to eat out.
5. I prefer to go shopping when I’m right in-between hunger and satiation. If I’m super hungry, I’ll be much more tempted to grab everything in sight, because everything will look delicious. On the other hand, if my stomach is really full, food looks much less appealing, which usually will result in my not picking up enough food items. Balance is key for me.
What are your methods to make grocery shopping easier?