These days, efficient grocery shopping has become a must, not only to keep your home stocked with everything you need for nutritious meals and healthy living, but to also gain back valuable time in your day. Follow these steps from Real Simple to maximize your next trip to the grocery store:
1. Take inventory. Nothing is more frustrating than buying an economy-size ketchup only to discover you already have two bottles tucked away in the back of the pantry. So before ever leaving the house, take a little time to review the contents of your refrigerator, pantry and freezer. Let your current inventory guide your meal planning for the week so that you’re using up what you already have on hand.
2. Map out your shopping list. Make sure your list is in sync with the flow of the store and use a highlighter to help keep it organized, i.e., green for the produce section, blue for the frozen food aisle, yellow for the bakery, etc.
3. Go early. You’ll breeze through the store quickly and find it well-stocked if you get there shortly after it opens. You’ll also be able to snag the freshest produce and capitalize on sales and specials before they sell out. Not to mention your choice of primo parking spots!
4. Reconsider coupons. Clipping coupons can be extremely time consuming and only save you a few cents in the long-run, so decide whether it’s really worth the trade-off in time. Instead, download the mobile app of your favorite store and have coupons and specials automatically loaded to your rewards card.
5. Limit your trips. Making frequent runs to the story is not only a hassle, it tends to be more costly as well. Instead, with advance planning and an organized list, you’ll be able to limit your visits to just once per week.
6. Buy in bulk when it makes sense. If you have the extra storage space, then buying frequently used items in bulk can save you time and money. Stock up on meat that’s on sale if you have extra freezer space, or large-size paper products if you’ve got a spot to tuck them away until needed.
7. Go it alone. While you may be used to making grocery shopping a family affair, you’ll get it done faster if you go by yourself. What’s more, you’ll save money and make healthier choices by avoiding the kids’ impulse requests for ice cream and cheese puffs!