How to Save Time when Shopping

Shopping once a week can be done. It will take some excellent planning and organizing to pull it off successfully. If you are super clever and super determined, you can get all your weekly shopping done in one trip and also take care of a few extras at the same time, saving you money, energy, wear and tear on your vehicle and some very valuable time.

Start with a meal plan

Plan your meals for the next seven days. Check to see what ingredients you have on hand and what you will need to get at the store. Don’t forget to include spices and other extras you may need. Also include items for school lunches and snacks. When planning your meals, use your perishable items early in the week to avoid spoilage. You can fill in the rest of the week with non-perishables, canned and frozen foods.

Make up a shopping list

Once you have decided on your meal plan, draw up a shopping list. Don’t limit your list to meals and food. Include household and laundry items, personal and hygiene products, pet food, paper goods and trash bags. If you shop at one of the super stores, you can get just about everything from groceries to cosmetics to paperbacks to yard and garden supplies to housewares, small appliances, gifts and gift cards. Many stores also have a florist section, a toy section, special occasion balloons and holiday items.

Keep an ongoing shopping list handy, either on your refrigerator or on a nearby bulletin board. Add needed items as you think of them and also as you run out of them. Before shopping double-check your list and scan the store flyers for specials. Also have your coupons organized and ready.

Combine your errands

To exercise good time management skills, it makes sense to concentrate most or all of your shopping and errands in one location rather than running from store to store. Most large grocery stores have banks and pharmacies in the same building, making the shopping experience a one-stop option for their customers. If you haven’t done so already, switch your banking institution and pharmacy to those available at your store.
Many of the larger grocery store chains also give discounts or points for gasoline sold at a station near the store. Plan your weekly shopping trip to include a fill-up at that station. Get the discounts and also save some money by eliminating that extra trip to another gas station.

Stock up

Take advantage of store sales to stock up on items you know you will use. Keep in a supply of party foods for those occasions when unexpected guests drop by, such as cheese and crackers and the ingredients for a quick pasta meal. Store some ice cream in the freezer and some chocolate sauce in the fridge. Don’t get caught empty-handed and have to run out to the store at the last minute. Also keep a few days’ supply of non-perishable foods on hand for emergencies like extended power outages.

With a detailed shopping list and a well-organized game plan you should be able to successfully get all your shopping done during a once-a-week trip. You should also be able to get some of those extra errands taken care of at the same time, all very possibly in the same store!