Grocery shopping can take up a considerable amount of the week or fortnight. With some planning and research it can go from being a stressful and chaotic event to one that is efficient and effective.
It may seem like a simple thing but learning the layout of your grocery store is a valuable time saver. Just as you use a map-book or a tom-tom to work out the quickest way to get from A to B, you can also implement the same time saving strategy into your grocery shopping. Supermarkets are very clever about placing key staple items as far apart as possible in the store. This is primarily because they want you to navigate your way through them and be exposed to as many items as possible in the hope you’ll buy them.
Get yourself familiar with the layout of your local shop and plan your strategy accordingly. It will save you time if you know you can skip the crisps and beverages aisle altogether and focus only on the sections where you need to buy certain groceries.
It also means that you can tackle your grocery shopping in sections. You could start with the canned or dry foods section and then do the dairy and frozen foods. This means you can group key items together which will save you time unpacking at home but it will also save certain foods from melting too quickly as well.
Plan your shopping list according to your store layout and that will help you to streamline the process as well.
You can follow our guidelines for planning your shopping list here and you can download our shopping list template here. You will usually have a set of staple items that you need to buy every week like milk, eggs or bread. These items can stay on your Master list. You can then add other one off items to the list as well.
Some parents find that popping the list into their phone and deleting them as they put the item in their trolley is another way to ensure nothing gets missed off their shopping list.
A shopping list will save you from impulse buying. Stores will try every trick in the book to make you do so, and you will save valuable time in the queue if you haven’t given into temptation and have stuck to your list instead.
When you’re doing your grocery shopping it is worth knowing a few things about it in order to save you both time and money in the process. In Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have said that: “Unit pricing is compulsory for large supermarkets and online grocery retailers.” In New Zealand, it is not compulsory, however both the big supermarket chains have voluntarily introduced unit pricing. This means that with some exceptions you should be able to “compare the prices of products, regardless of their size or brand.”
So before you head to the shops you can check out the unit prices of many of your grocery products in a variety of places. The ACCC suggests sources including: “newspaper and catalogue advertisements and online listings.” Doing some price comparison before you head to the shops will not only save you time while in store it could also save you money as well.
Remember that grocery stores want you to buy as much as possible so lots of enticing products will be at eye level. Make sure you stick to the list and focus on your needs rather than wants. In addition, lots of grocery stores have lolly free aisles these days. It’s worth choosing those when you’re shopping as well.
This is much easier said than done when you have a baby or little ones. For many parents it simply isn’t possible. If you do need to bring your little ones with you then it is even more important to minimise your time spent shopping as it can often be a stressful event for both parties. Try to schedule your shopping trip round their nap times as you’ll usually find that they are much better able to cope with it than when they are hungry or tired.
If you can shop alone you will usually find it far quicker to do so. Most stores have extended trading hours so you may find that you can do the grocery shop very early in the morning or late in the evening if someone else can look after bub. The other benefit of this is that the shops are usually far quieter as these times of day.
Stockpiling canned or frozen goods can be a valuable time saver. These items tend to have a long shelf life and buy getting them on sale and in bulk it can reduce the time you spend during future shopping trips.