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Saving Time at The Grocery Store

Do you dread grocery shopping each week? Are you constantly running to the store because you are out staples like milk or bread? Then try these tips to make grocery shopping as smooth and effortless as possible.

1. Set aside one day a week at a certain time to do your main grocery shopping. Write that day in your calendar. Pick a time when your favorite store is usually well stocked, but yet not too busy. Late evenings are often not very busy, but I find that the produce and meats are often picked over by then. Personally, I work at home with a flexible schedule, so I like to go grocery shopping midmorning and midweek.

2. Pick one store to do your main weekly grocery shopping at. If you are like me, you have one store that has the best prices, one that has the freshest produce, one that has your kids' favorite toothpaste, one that has great double coupon days, etc. If you have endless amounts of time and don't mind driving all over town, that would be great -- you can go to all of the different stores.

However, most of us have a limited amount of time. So pick one store for your weekly shopping and stick to it. Plan your standard menus only with items you can buy at this one store. Ask yourself, "Could my family survive with only the food from just this store to sustain us?" If the answer is yes, and you want to save time in your life, then that store will have to be good enough.

You can still shop at other stores now and then on your errand day to get some special bargains or favorite treats and stock up at a warehouse store once a month for some of the basics, but if saving time is your priority, it helps to do your your main weekly shopping for perishable items at only one store.

2. Make a standard grocery list of all of all the food your family eats. Group the foods on your list so that they correspond to the aisles in your designated weekly grocery shopping store.

Make copies of this list and put them in a notebook with your favorite recipes and weekly menu plans. Each week, put one copy of the list on the fridge or some other place where all of the family members can see it.

3. Tell everyone in the family that if they use up something, they should either circle it on the list, if the item is already listed, or write it in if they want a new item not on the list. (Tell the kids this list is for healthy shopping, and not the latest sugar-laden, attention deficit disorder inducing snack they see advertised on TV.)

4. Once a week, on your designated grocery day, do your shopping based on your meal plans and your shopping list. Then put out a new list on the fridge for the upcoming week.

5. If you have the storage space, once a month go to a warehouse or discount store and stock up on all of the nonperishable goods and freezer items your family will need for the upcoming month. This would be for items like toilet paper, shampoo, pasta, spaghetti sauce, freezer vegetables, freezer meats, etc. These items are all cheaper at the warehouse places and it is more efficient time wise to buy them all at once and in large quantities. As much as possible, limit your weekly shopping to perishable items such as fresh produce, milk, bread and meat.


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