Grocery shopping. 🙁 Is there anyone out there who likes grocery shopping? I don’t. But it’s not that I don’t like shopping because if you get me into a book store, I will shop all day long.
I consider grocery shopping one of those areas where I can overspend really easy. I also find it somewhat stressful. So I try to find ways to make the whole experience a little less daunting. Here are some of the ways that I do that.
Make a meal plan
I am a planner so it is not a farfetched idea that I should plan our meals. But I would absolutely recommend meal planning for everyone, even those who don’t plan. The reason is that I tend to spend less on groceries when I get my ducks in a row before I even enter the store.
My meal plan is pretty simple. I have a note pad that I keep on my desk, which is where I spend much of my time. I list seven days because I do once a week shopping. Then I look at my family’s schedule for that upcoming week. Are there days when I will have time to cook or do I need to have a quick meal or perhaps set the slow cooker? Are there family members that will not be at that dinner? Are there any special days coming up? Now, I only do this for dinners because breakfast and lunches tend to be pretty standard fare around my house so I already know what things I will need to shop for.
Make a grocery list
My grocery list is what keeps me on track with my spending. It also keeps me on task for making sure that I am getting all of the ingredients needed to make the meals that my family will eat for the upcoming week. I have a spreadsheet that I use for this because I estimate my costs as well. I will do a post in the future showing you how I make that list.
Shop during the week in the morning
Okay, I know that not everyone can shop during the week in the morning. I am a stay at home mom, so I have that opportunity available to me. The point is that I find a time to shop when there are less shoppers. Having lots of people doing their grocery shopping at the same time as me, not only exercises my patience but, stresses me out as well. I find that Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday mornings work best for me. That changes depending on what is going on that week.
Take the kids
Seriously? What about all of the articles you have read that tell you to go by yourself? What about those poor frazzled people that can’t control their children in public places?
If taking the kids costs you more or stresses you out completely, by all means, shop without them. My children are actually an asset for me when grocery shopping. From the time my children were little, and I had no choice but to take them along, I have taught them how to work together helping me. They have impressed many a grocery cashier as they worked in an assembly form fashion to get us through the checkout line. I shop for the whole family so my carts are usually full and having the extra hands makes the job easier. As they get older, they help me with the budgeting and finding the best price on the items we are buying.
Shop at one place
Yes, I shop at one place. I realize that I probably could save some money by shopping the best value at different stores, but for me, the amount of stress that goes into shopping at different places negates what I save. Do you have a favorite store? There is nothing wrong with spending a few dollars more to spend less time in the physical shopping process.
Don’t use coupons
Again, this goes back to how valuable I feel my time is worth. What money savings I make using coupons is completely negated by clipping the coupons and having to find the actual matches in the grocery store. That is not to say that I don’t ever use coupons. I will use them if I happen to find one for something that I usually buy. But I won’t go looking for them. I have stood behind people in the grocery checkout line that successfully use lots of coupons or price matching, but I have also experienced buying things that I wouldn’t normally buy because I thought I was getting such a great bargain with the coupon or had a cashier tell me that my coupon was not for the exact item that I thought it was. Too stressful for me overall.
What about you?
What things do you do to make grocery shopping less stressful?
What do you do to save money on your grocery shopping?