Working full time and outside of the home, I NEEDED a way to save time grocery shopping. I hated how much time it took away from my weekend. Ultimately, I would spend hours on Saturday morning putting together a meal plan, compiling a shopping list and then shopping at the store. It was time missed with my precious family, and I hated it. I wanted to simplify this part of my life. I wanted desperately to get this time back with my family.
Then, I discovered wonderful little time savers that made meal planning and grocery shopping easier, giving me back hours every week. These time-savers sometimes cost extra fees, but ultimately, they stopped impulse buying and saved me hours of time. I always came out ahead in regards to expenses because I had a plan and because impulse shopping was under control.
Make a Meal Plan
Meal planning saves time and money. It is proven. You have lower impulse buys, and you have a solid list. There are no creating recipes in your head moments based on what looks good on the shelf. Use Pinterest, Epicurious, All Recipes, a meal planning service, etc. Find what works for you but go in with a plan.
Use a Meal Planning Service
Purchase a meal planning service. My family likes food, and we like to try different things. For years now, we have tried several meal planning services, and you could say I am addicted to them. I know meal planning is essential to saving money on the grocery budget every week, but it is not something I always had time to execute. Even if I did make a weekly meal plan, it was not always the most efficient list.
Most meal planning services cost less than $10/month. When you think about the impulse buys it saves and the time saved, it is always worth the cost. My favorite meal planning service is eMeals.
Strategically Create Your Grocery List
Don’t just list the items on your list in the order you think about them. For example, apples, chicken, eggs, and wheat bread. Be strategic. Group your like items together. Produce in one section, dairy in another, canned goods together. You can do this with a simple piece of scrap paper, or you can download a grocery shopping list template. Having things grouped together based on their location in the store will save time grocery shopping.
Use Click-to-Order Services (Free)
These services were made for busy moms managing crazy schedules who want to save time grocery shopping. They will simplify your life and give you back the precious gift of time. If you have never used these services, they are life changing!
Several stores offer click-to-order services. Basically, you go online to a retailer’s website, set up an account and start shopping. Don’t judge the experience based on your first order or two. I say this because it takes time to learn how to navigate the different websites. However, after a couple of “shopping trips”, the systems start to learn your buying habits. They will save your routine purchases you make every week. If you have taco makings on the list, they may suggest avocados.
Drive to the store at your allotted time, and the store will bring it right to your car. It is so easy.
You can still shop sales online
When trying to save time grocery shopping, you may worry about not getting the best deals. This is not the case. You can usually click on say, produce, and then click on sale items. I usually buy whatever fruit is on sale for our snacks for the week, and I do the same thing for breakfast items. Write down “breakfast” on your list, and then search for whatever is a good deal.
Grocery delivery is as amazing as it sounds
Now, I’m all about saving money, and a grocery delivery service is not free. However, there were times when I was on the verge of a mental breakdown (before my life was severely simplified), and grocery delivery saved my sanity on more than one occasion. Click, order, delivered. Thank you delivery guy. You are seriously my hero. Don’t mind my screaming kid or tornado-destroyed home, we have food!
Use online grocery shopping when you are returning from a trip
When you are coming home from a vacation, make an order for grocery pick-up for the following morning for essentials to get you through a few days. You don’t want to grocery shop on your vacation, so put together a simple plan right before you leave. You can even go ahead and put these items in your cart. Then, towards the end of your vacation, schedule the pick-up. Coming home from vacation is always stressful with the laundry and other tasks that have built up. Save time on grocery shopping and mark it off your list with these easy tips!
Skip self-checkout inside the store
If you have produce in your cart or other bulk items, skip the self-checkout line, even if it is shorter. It will frustrate you. It will also take more time. Honestly, I hate self-checkout. I seem to never get through the line without needing to call someone over. Save yourself the hassle and wait for a real person!
Go to your regular grocery store
We have two grocery stores of the same brand within three miles of our home. I go to one 95% of the time. It never fails, when I go to the grocery store that is not my normal stop, grocery shopping takes twice as long. Why can’t they all be exactly the same?! So, go to the store you know if you want to save time grocery shopping. Even if the store you know is out of the way, you will ultimately save time.
Save time grocery shopping
Grocery shopping is a necessary evil. We all eat. However, I hate the time suck. Mama has other stuff to do, and I don’t want to waste hours planning out our meals for the week and then circling the grocery store with two kids in tow. These simple tips have saved me countless hours over the years, and they have made life just a little simpler.