That Dreaded Task – Grocery Shopping
I’ve never really enjoyed grocery shopping. I think what I dread the most is having to actually think about what I need to buy. It takes brain power to think about what we need, and what meals we can create with what we purchase. That’s brain power I would rather use somewhere else.
But now that I have a family of four to feed, and I don’t want to be dragging the kids to the grocery store multiple times a week, it’s important to have a solid routine in place to get the grocery shopping done.
I don’t really know how this routine came about, but I’ve been using this method for a few years now.
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The Benefits of a Grocery Shopping Routine
Routines make you feel more in control and less stressed. This grocery shopping routine has made my life so much easier in so many ways:
- Cuts down on trips to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner.
- Supports healthy eating through meal planning.
- Saves time at the grocery store because you know exactly what you need.
- Makes dinner time easy because you know what to prepare.
- Saves money because you aren’t buying items you don’t really need.
- Eliminates overwhelm because you don’t have to keep all the stuff you want to buy in your mind.
How to Get Started
Keep a Running List
Keep a piece of paper easily accessible (like on the refrigerator or in your day planner). Throughout the week, write down what you run out of, or what you would like to get at the store.
My husband also texts me when he thinks of something we will need so that I can include the item on the list.
You will use this list to write out your grocery shopping list so don’t worry about categorizing it.
I do this the day before, or the day of grocery shopping. Jot down the days of the week ahead, then grab your calendar (or whatever you have your daily commitments on) and list out what you would like to eat.
Jot down the days of the week, then look at your calendar. If there any days that you won’t be home for dinner, write that in the meal plan for the week.
On days when there are evening activities, make sure to choose a meal that you can put together easily ahead of time (in a crockpot or instapot), or something quick that you can put together when you get home. Then, fill in the remaining days with meals.
If you find yourself stuck for ideas, or not wanting to plan ahead, check out The Lazy Genius podcasts on meal planning. She has some awesome ideas on how to make meal planning super easy.
One tip that the Lazy Genius offers is to come up with five meals that are easy to make and everyone loves – family favorites. Have your favorite meals list bookmarked somewhere so you can easily reference them. This way you don’t have to deal with the frustration of having to come up with new meals. You can just use one of your family favorite meals.
Here are a few of our family favorite meals:
- Grilled chicken, brown rice, and roasted vegetables
- Shepard’s Pie
- Sloppy Joe’s
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese
Create Your Grocery List
Now that you have your meal plan, and your running list of items, put together your grocery list.
I still use a notebook and paper for my list because I find that it’s most convenient for me. You may want to do the same, or you could use your notes app on your phone, or some other way that’s more convenient for you.
To make shopping at the store soooo much easier, separate your grocery list into the following categories:
Now, go through your running list and add the items to the grocery master list under the appropriate category. After that, go through your meal plan and add what you need for the meals to your grocery list.
Once you have the running list and meal plans added to your grocery list, look at past grocery lists (this is why it’s helpful to keep your lists in a notebook) and use them as a reference to fill in your list with items you use regularly. This could include lunch and breakfast food and snacks.
Go Grocery Shopping and Save Money
Pick a day to grocery shop that works best for your schedule. I grocery shop on Thursday’s because that’s payday in our household. Also, it’s easier for me to get the shopping done during the week, then having to deal with the weekend crowds.
On grocery day, grab your grocery list, your reusable grocery bags, and a quarter if you shop at Aldi, and get to shopping.
A little side note: a few years ago, we started shopping at Aldi and Walmart, after being a Wegmans fan for years. I saved about $100 by going to Aldi and Walmart, and I haven’t looked back since.
When I’m super organized, I use Walmart Grocery Pickup service. Once you submit your grocery order online, a personal shopper at Walmart will do your shopping, let you know when it’s done, and deliver it to your car. This service has seriously helped me save money because I’m not tempted to buy something while walking through the store. And even better, I don’t have to drag the kids in the store.
(If you haven’t tried Walmart Grocery Pickup, you can get $10 off your first order (and I will get a small credit at no charge to you) by clicking here.)
If your grocery list is categorized, you shouldn’t spend too much time getting what you need. I typically spend about an hour to an hour and a half to complete all my grocery shopping.
If the kids are with me, it may be a bit longer. I find myself quietly yelling at them that the store is not a playground, and listening to arguments about who is going to push the cart or help me with the shopping. But we power through…
By sticking to the your list, you will save money, and avoid wasting food. I used to throw out produce, and I always felt guilty about it. Now, that I know what we will be eating each week, the produce is put to good use before the week is up.
Grocery Shopping Dread Be Gone!
By following this super simple grocery shopping routine, you will save time and money. Plus, this routine will eliminate the overwhelm and dread that comes with not knowing what to buy, or what you need.
Do you find this blog post helpful? I would love if you can share with a friend.
What does your grocery routine look like? I would love to know in the comments below!