Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple, Lazy Grocery Shopping Tips

I like grocery shopping - I like pretty much any shopping, so the supermarket is no exception.

But I can be kind of lazy about it. And I can just about count on one hand the number of times I've actually left the store without forgetting something. So while I like to wander the aisles, by the end when I've had to wander each aisle twice because of my disorganised shopping list, and then I leave with things I didn't come for and without things I did come for, I think...there's got to be a better way to do this.

I know you're meant to write a list and only buy what you wrote on it, but that doesn't work for me for two reasons.

1. I forget to write things on it. If I only stuck to the list we'd have to go without toilet paper or cheese one week, because I didn't think of it til I was at the supermarket.

2. What I buy is often dependent on what's on special. I might be thinking beef, but if the chicken is on special today, I'll probably stock up on that instead. And my husband often teases me about the time I bought about 15 cans of tinned tomato on special - but now we're out of it and need more and it's not on special, so I'm justified! I should have bought more!


1. Tip Number One: 'Print a permanent' shopping list.

Keep it on your fridge or on the bench, then every time you notice you're out of something, just tick it or circle it on the list.

Why is this better than just jotting down a list on a piece of paper like normal folk, you ask?

I like this system for a few reasons:

1. It's pre-organised - no matter what order you think of the stuff you need, it's already organised into categories for you - or even aisles if you are super organised and shop mostly at the same supermarket. No more getting the honey and then realising 6 items down the list you have to go back for the peanut butter.

2. It's a memory jogger - even if you forgot to tick something on the list, it's still written on there and might help you think of that item once you are actually in the supermarket.

3. It's got all your usual items, so if something is on special, even if you didn't go planning to buy it, you are reminded that it could be a good idea to stock up.

(We don't have the same system in Australia, but if you're in the US or somewhere where you use coupons, you could also put mark next to the items you have a coupon for.)

You can download and print a free copy of mine HERE if you want, but basically it's a printed list of all the things you most often buy, organised into sections, with little check boxes next to them. I suggest making your own personalised version so it's got the things you buy on it and in the order that works for you and your supermarket.

I just did it in a word processor, by creating a text box with columns. I added the check boxes by setting the square as the bullet point. (As well as the items, I also left lines for writing on extra stuff that is not as common, and leave enough space around so that you can write quantities or brands for certain items.)

2. Tip Number two: Put 2 things back.

If you're at all like me, even with an organised list, you probably buy more than you actually need. Especially if you're feeling even slightly peckish.

So just recently I've started putting at least 2 things back before I go through the checkout. That box of biscuits that I don't really need? The packets of chips you bought because the special price made them seem like such a good deal? Put them back and save $5 - and 5 million calories. You might wish for a few minutes that you'd kept it in, but later you'll be thanking yourself.

If you're really bad with this, maybe even start with putting more things back with the aim of training yourself out of it. My aim is, for most shopping expeditions, to eventually look in my trolley and not find anything I can take out.

Putting things back right at the end is somehow easier than not getting them off the shelf in the first place. I think because you don't have time to change your mind, whereas if you walk past the chips and don't grab them you have too much time to think about them and go back and get them later as you walk past that enticing end of aisle display.

So they are my two simple tips for easier, lazier - but organised - grocery shopping?

Got any more tips? Comment below!

Happy shopping!

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