When you’ve got errands to run, dinner to make, and a schedule to stick to, grocery-shopping can become a test of patience and a serious time drain.
Keep yourself sane and on track with our five commandments to efficient food shopping.
Plan out your meals and food needs for the week. Start with breakfast and work your way mentally through each day. Do you have enough coffee, sugar, cereal, and milk? What will you be packing for lunch? Do you have any new recipes that you know you’ll be making? If so, go through them one by one, making sure you have every ingredient. Never assume you have the basics on-hand. Chances are, you’ve forgotten about the impromptu cookies that depleted the chocolate-chip bag.
2. Enlist the family
Keep a list on your fridge that the whole family can add to. (You can veto the Twinkies, Coco Pops, and Simba chips later.) When you’re running low or run out of something, write it down immediately. The list will serve as a constant reminder of what staples you need to stock up on.
3. Get organized
When you have a list of everything you need, arrange it by location, grouping items that are in the same aisle together. The advantage to this is twofold: You won’t be darting from one end of the store to the other, and you’ll be less likely to forget something.
4. Take quiet time
If you can, shop during off-peak hours when the store won’t be crowded. If you’re a night owl, go late at night. If you’re an early bird, go when you wake up, immediately after breakfast. And if you work from home or are a stay-at-home mom, any time during the day should be low volume.
5. Don’t go hungry
Go after you’ve eaten and are pleasantly full. This will keep you focused on what you need to buy, and not on what you might want to eat — which, when you’re famished, tends to be everything.
Text: Jill Provost for Good Housekeeping