5 Ways to Streamline Grocery Shopping

  • By Jess Dang
  • September 1, 2013

How many grocery stores do you visit every week to get everything you need?

I recently posted this question to our Facebook page and received a wide variety of answers. There were a few “1’s” but most answered a lot more than 1. One member even replied, “A gazillion. I live there.”

I used to feel the same way (but admittedly I probably enjoy grocery shopping more than most). However, I’ve made it a goal to streamline my grocery shopping routine, and here are the 5 tips that have really helped me:

    1. Meal plan & make a list: Clearly no one is surprised that I would suggest this? Now that I run a meal plan service, I have to meal plan or I’d have a lot of unhappy customers! Because of this, I never go to store without a plan and a list, which means fewer mid-week trips because I forgot “x.”
    1. Limit your stores by stocking up on things you know you’ll need: I shop at 7 different markets because they offer different items – we like to get our granola from Trader Joe’s, but I like to buy bulk grains and canned goods from Whole Foods. However, on any given week I only allow myself to go to 2 places. I can do this by shopping for the week and then some for pantry staples. The only thing I buy for the week is fresh produce, milk, and eggs. For pantry staples, I’ll buy more than I need because it’s a staple and I know I will use it. For example, if I’m headed to Ranch 99 (an Asian Safeway), I’ll purchase fresh noodles for the week and maybe 2 more packages that I can freeze. This means I won’t need to go back there for at least 3 weeks. Same thing for meats at Costco or granola at Trader Joe’s. For pantry help, here’s our list.
    1. Look to your pantry for substitutes: Having a well-stocked pantry has been great insurance for me. Even if I’ve somehow forgotten an ingredient, I can likely find a substitute in my pantry.
    1. Skip it: I used to worry that I needed to follow the recipe to a T. After over a decade of cooking experience, I realize that’s not true. If the missing ingredient isn’t going to make or break the dish, then I won’t make a special trip for it. Sure the dish might be better with parsley, but it will be fine without it too.
  1. There’s an app for that: I use an app to share grocery lists with my husband. We use Wunderlist (available on iOS and Android) to share the grocery shopping duties. I still do the bulk of it, but if he needs to stop by the store on the way home from work, he can see if there are other things the household needs. We separate our lists by store to make it super easy to figure out.

What are some ways you’ve made over your grocery shopping routine? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below! Of course, make sure you to like us on Facebook too for all sorts of enlightening topics like this one.

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