(These tips work just as well for online shopping as for reals shopping.)
Our favorite natural food market closed down a few months back. They are re-modeling and will be back at the end of the year. In the meantime, we do a two-weekly shop at the next closest location, a 20-30 minute drive away depending on traffic, instead of the weekly shop we used to do. Shortly after shifting to the new location, I created a pre-filled shopping list.
I noticed two things as a result of switching to a bi-weekly shop and using a pre-filled shopping list:
- Doing only two shops each month saves us money
- Having an organized shopping list saves us time
- Doing only two main shops twice a month means that we are more disciplined about both our shopping and about using the food that we have bought so less food spoils (blue apples in the produce bin also helps!). In between shops we only buy what we need – fresh produce, and the occasional main meal or lunch food if we’ve under-calculated.
- Creating a spreadsheet of the items you buy regularly (not necessarily every trip), arranged in the order in which the store is laid out, means you’re not constantly doubling back for things. It also means that you’re not hand-writing a list every time – just adding check-marks and a few words. Mark in pencil so you can erase after the most recent shop, or print out a fresh sheet each time. I’ve calculated that we save 10-15 minutes by using a pre-filled list.
Conveniently, our next shop is this evening and I’ve included a photo of my shopping list. The first column is to tick what we need, or mark the number we need (e.g. 2 cartons). The column on the right, when ticked, is to remind you that you have a coupon for that item. The middle column contains the items you might purchase. To save space, I put several “like” items on a line, and circle the ones we need. Next to “tea” I write the flavors we need. I can also specify personal items, e.g. my husband and I prefer different kinds of mayo and we use them up at different rates. I also have blank rows sprinkled throughout for things that don’t come up too often, e.g. in the veg section – we like spaghetti squash but we only buy it 1 time in 4 – as well as at the end of the list to handwrite forgotten or new items that come up until I have a chance to update the spreadsheet, or one-off ingredients for specific recipes.
Try this approach for two months and notice any changes in your household activity. I’d love to hear your experiences!
How do you organize your shopping? What time- or money-saving shopping tips do you have?