I don’t know about you, but going food shopping is not at the top of my list of favorite things to do. I have too many other things I either have to do or want to do with my time.
The thought of preparing the shopping list, gathering the coupons to go with the list, trudging off to the supermarket to run up and down the aisles, finding the items you need, comparison shop and then stand in a long line to pay for your purchases can definitely cause a feeling of dread.
However, grocery shopping is a great way to start learning how to get organized by saving time and energy. You do need to be organized in order to make that shopping excursion less stressful and not so time-consuming.
- DON’T FEEL OVERWHELMED Organizing your grocery shopping trip can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. You just need to be prepared. It’s important to know what you need at the store before you begin.
- THE FIRST STEP Preparing the grocery list is the first step you need to take and it can either be complicated or easy. If you wait until you need to go to the store because the cabinets are bare before you begin to compile your list, you’ve wasted valuable time. Start to compile your list as you are preparing a meal, finishing a snack, or any other time you notice that you are running low on an item. Don’t rely on your memory to recall what you need days later. Prepare the list as you go instead of having to do an entire inventory in your pantry. When the list gets long enough, it’s time to go shopping.
- TWO WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR SHOPPING LIST You can either manually prepare a shopping list by writing down each and every item or you can have a prepared list that you simply check off as you run out of items. The second choice definitely will save you time. Having a list of all possibilities at your finger tips that you simply check off is definitely easier and less time consuming. Think about how much time you will save by just checking off items as opposed to having to manually write each one down on a list.
- CATEGORIZE When preparing your shopping list, be sure that like-items are categorized together to save you time when in the store. You will avoid having to run back and forth from aisle to aisle to get what you need. Grouping items together makes sense.
- UTILIZING COUPONS When it comes to utilizing coupons, the first step you need to take is to have a coupon organizer. There are several choices. You can purchase a prepared grocery coupon organizer with the various categories already printed on the tabs or you can create your own. You can purchase a pocket check file with dividers at your local office supply store and create your own categories. You can use a simple pocket file and input separate envelopes for either particular categories of items. Another alternative is to separate your coupons into envelopes by month of expiration to avoid being unable to utilize that coupon because it expired. Any of these systems are perfectly fine. If you need to locate coupons other than those you get in your Sunday newspaper or in the mail, there are plenty of sites on line for you to download coupons from such as www.coolsavings.com or www.smartsource.com. You can also go onto the product website itself to get what you need. You can even swap with neighbors, friends or family members from time to time to get the ones you use.
- COMPARISON SHOPPING If you want to do some comparison shopping, you will need to take some time to look at the fliers that come in the mail each week. There are two theories. You can either run to several stores to get the best deals or you can save time and just go to the local grocery store that, in general, gives you the best prices. You need to weigh the extra time and extra gas used to get your around vs. the extra savings. More than likely, if you locate the store that on average gives you the best deals, you will be making out about the same and saving lots of time and energy. Again, when you get to the store, having a shopping list that is categorized with like-items together will save you lots of time. If you are not familiar with the layout of the store, you can probably get a store map at the Customer Service desk.
- SAVING TIME WHEN CHECKING OUT In order to avoid spending extra time standing in line to pay for your items, determine the times when it is least crowded. Avoid shopping on weekends if possible towards the end of the week at night after most people get their paychecks. Try to shop during the day at the beginning of the week if possible or very late at night to avoid those long lines.
By taking these steps, you will find that you can make your grocery shopping less of a chore. Seek out the tools that will help you be more efficient when it comes to doing your grocery shopping. You have better things to do with your time and being organized at the grocery store can help.