Shopping is one of those chores that people typically love or hate. But even those who enjoy shopping frequently admit there it can be time-consuming and frustrating. when you can’t find a needed item or forget something until you get home.
Since most of us lead busy lives, organizing a grocery shopping list can save time and money. Once you have developed a routine, it becomes a matter of simply listing the needed items for the next upcoming shopping trip.
Though shopping may seem like a rather simple task, it actually involves several steps that, when coordinated, can make the job flow smoothly. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Choose a method for posting need items. Some shoppers use a refrigerator magnet list. Others tape a sheet of paper to an inside cupboard door for quick reference. Another way is to carry a small notebook with you for jotting down things you don’t want to forget. An even more organized way of planning is to set up an email file with categories of various needs, such as food, cleaning supplies, pet items, and lawn care. Even these can be broken down further, with food, for example, divided into the five major nutrition groups.
You may want to try a color code scheme. Write meat items in red, for example, veggies and fruits in green, staples like milk and bread in black, and so on. Be sure that you can take a handy form of the list with you for ready reference at the store. Whatever your style, be consistent in posting needs before you shop and removing them afterward.
Check with family members before leaving for a shopping expedition. Ask about lunch packing items, snack foods, and special needs such as an upcoming canned food drive or bake sale at school. This can save a last minute trip later.
Organize coupons in corresponding fashion. Some people prefer to use accordion-style or envelope-size organizers for storing lists with their matching coupons. This helps when you’re at the store, find two competing brands or prices, and can easily check to see if your coupon will make a difference.
After shopping, pull out, erase, or discard the items you purchased, leaving room for the next round of supplies. Check coupon dates to be sure and use them before they expire.
Using a supply list, with or without coupons, helps you stick to a budget and avoid buying unnecessary items. Research shows that people who go into a store without a list or some kind of shopping plan typically spend more money than expected.
Become familiar with your grocery store layout. Know where to find the items you usually buy, such as dairy products, bread, meat, etc. Avoid aisles that stock things you don’t particularly want so you can avoid needless purchases.
Check the newspaper or mail circulars for special sale days or extra coupon savings. Plan to shop on “sample day” so you can try favorite or new products before buying. Watch for special events, such as hot dog and soft drink for a dollar, clowns, or cooking demonstrations, and take your kids.
Make shopping more time-efficient and meaningful by organizing your list and planning ahead.