Shopping is an unavoidable part of life, but still, there are ways to make those weekly trips shorter and more efficient. Some people might love to shop, but regular grocery shopping might get tedious and too long for our tastes. Others might be dreading the very idea of that mandatory holiday shopping.
If we don’t watch out now, we might even find ourselves taking more than one trip to the grocery store every week. Plus, holiday shopping (or shopping for any other reason) can take up several days due to the crowds and our search for that perfect gift.
Fortunately, there are several ways to cut down on our shopping time. We can’t rule out this task altogether, but the following tips might help us shave several hours off our monthly trips:
Make Lists and Stick to Them
Whether you’re shopping for groceries, gifts, or anything else, have a proper list with you. Don’t just get by on a mental list in your head; jot down what you need on paper or use a notes app on your smartphone. This way, you’ll have a definite picture of what you need and won’t have to go back for anything at a later date.
The list technique is also great for resisting the promotional placements of seasonal items. Stores are designed and stocked in order to distract the customer into making purchases they don’t need. When you have a list in front of you, you’re more likely to follow it and save both money and time.
It might also be a good idea to organize the list according to the store’s layout. Have a separate section for dairy, produce, decorations, etc. This will save you from going down any aisle more than once. For other kinds of shopping, such as clothes, books like this one might help:
Christmas Planner - An easy-to-follow system for a stress-free holiday season: Save money & time with this countdown calendar & checklist organizer, ... list & more! Beautiful light purple cover
This work by Andrea Linett and Kim France guides us on what to wear and how to buy it without much hassle. With these guidelines, we no longer have to be confused by the often contradicting statements in fashion magazines or websites.
With over a thousand color photos, this book even has a ribbon marker and flexi-cover so you can take it with you to the store. However, we do suggest that you read up on what you need beforehand in order to make your trip as short and useful as possible. Following the instructions will help you put together chic outfits even if you’re low on cash and time.
Shop During Slow Times
If the store is crowded, it’s going to take more time to get what you need. The distractions, anxiety, and shooting stress levels are another story altogether. All in all, this means that we need to avoid stores that are crowded no matter how tempting they seem.
Instead, try to take some time out and visit the stores when there are ‘off’ hours. If you let your holiday shopping run too late, the crowds probably won’t thin anytime soon. In such cases, try to complete your shopping as early in the year as possible.
Other than the peak season, stores experience slow hours during the early morning and late evening. If you really want a quick and efficient shopping trip, don’t put it off till the weekend or plan for it directly after work hours. Yes, you might have to get up a little earlier or have a rushed dinner, but the peaceful and productive shopping trip is worth it.
If you’re not sure about the best time for shopping easily, ask one of your local store associates. Some stores might have certain nights that are slower than others for some reason. Use this knowledge to your advantage and be ready to fly around the store at the right time. This Christmas Planner might come in handy as well:
This planner presents a system for stress-free holidays, or as close as you can get to something like that. There’s a countdown calendar inside as well as a checklist organizer to keep you on top of your shopping this season. This will make it easier to tackle your shopping as soon as possible, even helping to manage occasions like Cyber Monday and Black Friday.
Do Your Research
Many stores have sales flyers or special deals on certain items. You might get this flyer right at the beginning of your shopping trip, but that’s not the time to get distracted by it. Instead, go online before shopping and check out the deals in advance. This way, you can go straight to the right place in case the offer really is an attractive one.
Store websites and social media pages will help you decide which deal you want to utilize. A little browsing at home will also help you think with a clear head. A certain deal might seem delightful when you’re already in the store, but not that generous when you mull it over at home. This sort of planning will help you cut out what you don’t need, saving you from wasting time and making bad decisions. These smart products for saving time (Smart Products for Saving Time) will also help to accomplish this goal.
Shop Alone or With Adults
It might not always be easy to leave young kids at home when you’re out shopping. However, it might be worth your while to find a way around this issue, as kids can really slow down any kind of shopping. Older children might be able to get you the items you need while you stock up on something else, but the young ones can be quite distracting at best.
We all know the hassle of having kids along in any kind of store. They’re attracted by the displays and might repeatedly ask for certain items. They might even throw tantrums in order to get what they want. With all this demand for our attention, it can be easy to forget items or even purchase the wrong things by accident.
If you don’t want to hire a babysitter every time you go shopping, perhaps swapping this duty with a friend might help. Ask them to look after your kids while you go shopping, while you can do the same for them next time. This might also be a good time for your spouse to take the kids to a park or for a movie.
Of course, some might argue that it’s necessary for kids to experience shopping. there’s no doubt that this could be a bonding activity that stimulates their curiosity and interest as well. In order to accomplish this as well, plan a monthly shopping trip especially with the kids. This way, you’ll be mentally prepared to focus mostly on them. For those rushed weekly trips, however, find a way to go alone.
Shopping by yourself will also help you to get your coupon game in order. This might not save time unless you’re very organized, but it will save money. Check out this book for guidance about a responsible shopping experience:
The book will help us get acquainted with the art of couponing, which can save you a lot of money in the long run. Plus, with the deals and savings on specific items, you can also cut down the time it takes to decide what to buy.
Plan Your Meals
After having a shopping list, a meal plan is one of the best ways to organize your shopping and get just what’s needed. Meal plans will make it much easier to cook healthy meals for your family on a regular basis. You cut out much of the thinking process, both while shopping and while cooking. This will also cut down on the number of repeat trips you have to make to the store in case of missing ingredients.
Meal planners are a great way to organize your meal schedule for the week or even the whole month. You can look at these quick and healthy breakfast ideas to get started on a proper meal plan (Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas). Such planners are also available on the market, such as this one:
This meal planner will help you plan out a whole year of meals. This includes dinner, lunch, and breakfast, though there should also be space for snacks and tea. As far as your grocery shopping goes, there’s a separate page for your grocery list each week.
With such a planner by your side, you’ll be able to save both money and a lot of time on a weekly basis. It might take some getting used to, but the result could be a healthy, diversified, and efficient diet.
Saving money on your shopping trips will hopefully free up some hours for you to get other stuff done every week. This could include pursuing a hobby, catching up with your peers, or just de-stressing for your own mental health. Overall, cutting down the time for your shopping trips will also help in improving your management skills. (How to Improve Your Home Management Skills)