Between the crowded shops, long lines, and trying not to break your budget, food shopping can be overwhelming at best. Add your tired kids to the mix and you’re looking at that trip to the market turning from a chore into a nightmare.
Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to remove stress from your shopping list.
Always Be Prepared
One of the most frustrating things about grocery shopping is how often you find yourself back at the shop, picking up something you forgot to buy on your last trip. With a little preparation, you can leave those last-minute grocery runs in the past.
- Pantry Organization
Have you ever gone out to buy an ingredient, only to find that very same ingredient tucked away in the back of your pantry days later? Organizing your pantry and refrigerator can help you keep track of what you already have, so you can shop with confidence for what you actually need.
Air-tight containers come in a variety of sizes to store snacks, pasta, veggies, and more. They can be used in the pantry or in the refrigerator.
- Making an Easy Grocery List
Now that you know what you have, it’s time to work out what you need. This can be one of the most difficult parts of grocery shopping. Food often comes in packages just too large to use for one meal, but might not be enough to fill out the next meal, so it ends up in the bin. The best way to combat this food waste is to plan out your meals ahead of time to use your ingredients in the most efficient way possible.
First, you’ll want to understand which pantry staples you use most often. These are your always-buys or must-haves. This pre-made grocery list from Amazon is a great starting place. Simply cross out any items you don’t typically use.
Then, you’ll want to plan out which meals you’d like to eat for the week, and add any special ingredients to the list that are needed specifically for those recipes. These are products you’ll want to buy in smaller quantities, since you’re likely to only use them once or twice before they expire.
- Clip Your Coupons
If your shop offers weekly deals and coupons, now is the time to scope them out. Long gone are the days of sitting up late, clipping ads out of the newspaper. Now, many stores offer digital or printable coupons that can be searched for with the click of a mouse.
At the Shops
Once everything’s organized, and you’ve got your list in hand, it’s time to head to the shops. Even with plenty of preparation, this can still be daunting. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your next trip.
- Avoid the Crowds
If you can manage it, try to avoid peak hours — which are typically evenings and weekends. This may mean getting up a little earlier to do your shopping before work, or before everyone typically wakes up at the weekend.
- Know Your Shop
Understanding how your shop is laid out can cut down on the amount of time spent fruitlessly searching for, well, fruit. You can also use the layout to plan your route through the shop to make your trip more efficient.
- Shop Online
More and more shops are offering curb side pickup, grocery delivery, and other online shopping options. Some of these services come at no extra cost and can save you time and money (if you’re not in the shop, you can’t be tempted to splurge on sweets!).
- Leave the Kids at Home
This may be easier said than done, but if you plan ahead, it should be doable. Kids, especially very young ones, can grow impatient when they’re stuck in the shops for too long (don’t we all!) and can make it difficult not to just give up and order pizza for the week. If you can’t avoid it, then it’s a good time to opt for the online shopping option we mentioned earlier.
- COVID Precautions
Preventing the spread of COVID while grocery shopping can be easy. Avoiding the crowds or shopping online will already help decrease your risk of contracting COVID, or any other illnesses, while shopping. However, you can make your trip even safer by bringing your own hand sanitizer and wearing a cloth face covering while you shop. Bringing your own reusable bags can also cut down on contact.
Shopping for groceries might not always be fun, but it can be made easier. With the proper planning, you can save time, money, and stress while grocery shopping. It’s great for the environment, too — less fuel used to go to and from the shops, and less food waste!