Save Time Grocery Shopping
by Crystal Dupay
Many hours of our week are spent grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning the house. By the time we finish our myriad other responsibilities and try to squeeze in some quality family time, we don't have much opportunity to research the sale ads, travel to several different grocery stores to find the best deal, cook from scratch or make homemade clothing and gifts to save us money. We know that all of these things will help us keep more of our money and contributes to our quality of life but how do we fit it into our already hectic schedules? Budgeting our time and condensing several tasks into one can help tremendously. Saving time can add up to financial savings in a big way.
Becoming organized can cut down on time and money spent in the grocery store! We all know how frequent trips to the grocery store can separate us from our precious pennies when we scoop up the many impulse items strategically placed by savvy store managers and marketing experts. We also know the virtues of shopping from a list and never buying anything that doesn't appear there, but how many of us can be that disciplined all of the time? I have found the best plan is to keep myself out of the store as much as possible. This means that I must be organized enough to remember everything that I need on the first trip to the store. Below you will find some tips to help you curb your time spent in the grocery store and in turn, help you keep those hard-earned dollars where they belong…in your pocket.
- Make a master list of all the things that you absolutely must have on hand at all times. This means anything that you would make a special trip to the store to purchase if you no longer had it in the house. This list usually includes things like diapers, formula, milk, bread, dishwashing detergent and, for many of us, coffee! You'll need to add your own personal family favorites as well. Once the list is finished, purchase two of every item on the list. When you begin to use the first of your two items put that item on your grocery list for you next shopping trip. Which brings me to the next tip…
- Create a continuous grocery list. Keep this list in an accessible place and have all of the members of your family use it. Whoever uses the last bit of any item is responsible for writing that item on the list. You may find that for the sake of convenience you will need more than one list. I have a list in the kitchen and also one upstairs inside my linen closet door to record when I am out of such things as toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, etc. A dry-eraser board is good for these types of lists and cuts down on paper usage.
- Keep a freezer inventory. Especially if you stock up on items while they are on sale. Different things begin to look very much the same after they have been in the freezer for awhile. If you don't keep a running list of what is inside your freezer and mark it down when a portion is used, you may find yourself with far too much of one item. It is a sad shame to find a great deal on ground sirloin, for example, only to have to throw it away because it became freezer burned before you actually needed to use it.
- There should be a place for everything and everything should be in it's place. Be sure to always store your grocery items in the same place in your freezer, pantry, cabinets, or drawers. I've forgotten this rule several times and have run out to buy more toilet paper in bulk quantities only to find that I already had a huge box of it underneath several other items that I've carelessly thrown on top of it. Here again, organization is the key to saving time, effort, and money.
- Make a "super shopping list". This is more like an outline, really and it is divided into the departments of a grocery store such as dairy, produce, household items, etc.. I shop at the same store every time I grocery shop so I have my list set up according to the layout of this particular store. I have the master copy of this list saved in my word processor and I print out several whenever I need them. Even if you shop at several different stores, a list like this will still be very helpful. Using this list saves so much time and helps keep me focused on the items I came to buy instead of the fun little kitchen gadgets that are sitting in the center of the aisles.
Debt is preventing me from taking a vacation this year or the vacation I'd like to take this year! Tell us: Yes, debt is affecting my vacation plans! or No, we're going exactly where we want to go but we'd love to learn make our trip as inexpensive as possible!
Crystal Dupay is a stay-at-home mother of two daughters, ages 1 and 3.
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