Smart Shopping 8: The 8 Ways to Save Time at the Grocery Store

In our eighth and final installment of our Smart Shopping column, Jessi talks about how she cuts corners and saves time when the last thing she wants to do is grocery shop.

I don't know about y'all, but there are times when I absolutely, unavoidably have to go to the grocery store and yet I would still rather eat stale crackers than do so. There is something about having to drive to a designated location to play bumper carts through the aisles as you decide whether or not heirloom tomatoes are a better deal than the hothouse grown Marzano variety.

It's all just so unappetizing. So naturally, you're always going to look for ways to cut down on time at the grocery store. Although I love to save time, I'm no expert--I've only been doing this on my own a little less than a decade--however, I have found 8 little tricks that make it bearable to venture through the halls of sustenance on a weekly basis.

1. Shop basics in bulk.

If you know you eat a lot of potatoes, buy enough for a month. Do the same with noodles, rice, beans, and almost anything that you can store in bulk.

You'll be glad that you have stocks on hand for that inevitable moment when you realize that you really, really don't want to go to the store at any cost.

2. Go when no one is around.

No, not football lights, I mean grocery store ones. I know there are a million things that you'd rather do than go to the grocery store on your Friday night, but I promise you won't regret it.

After everyone is home from work and getting ready to go out for the evening, you can quickly sneak into your local supermarket and stock up for the week when the aisles are empty and the employees are available to help you out.

3. Stay out of the inner aisles.

50 shades of green 💚 📷: @witenry

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Just stay out. There is really nothing you need there, except for maybe the occasional salsa or Asian sauce.

However, outside of that, there is no reason you need to waste time wandering up and down extra aisles and admiring the packaging of food that isn't all that good for you.

4. Stick to a list.

It's tempting to go to the store and compose a mental list on your way there. However, that is dangerous. Not only are you sure to forget some important basics, but you're also extremely likely to spend time looking to buy all the things you don't need because they caught your fancy in the moment.

So take some time and make a mental list. If you haven't used a guide yet, check out the Wide Open Eats meal planning printable to make your grocery shopping trip as seamless as possible.

5. Know your favorite brand.

When mom catches you helping yourself to peanut butter! #FanPhoto 📸 Credit: @inheaven_with7

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Sure you can compare prices as you debate which is the better bargain. But at the end of the day, you're only really saving a couple cents. Instead, just save yourself the time, have a go-to brand, and pick it up every time.

6. Try a farmer's market.

Sure, you still have to do your shopping on a weekly basis, but at least you'll get to know the producers. Plus, you know that everything you're buying is hyper fresh and eventually you'll find that you have a good time wandering around outdoors and chatting with familiar faces.

7. Shop like a team.

On a scale from 1 to 🍌

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Do you have roommates or a partner that lives with you? Great, use them. Designate a time and a place that you're going to do groceries and then divide the list down the middle to get shopping done in half the time.

Just make sure you both know which brands to choose so you don't spend time lingering unnecessarily in the aisles.

8. Just ask Instacart or a grocery delivery service.

Having fresh groceries appear outside your home is practically magic! 💫 📷 @breadandbutterlife

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As a last-ditch resort, there is always Instacart. That's why they have this service after all!

Thanks for reading our Smart Shopping columns! Check out our first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh installments. Want us to cover a certain topic next? Let us know in the comments or through [email protected]!

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