7 Habits of Highly Effective Grocery Shoppers
1. Scope out the store.This may seem like overkill, but trust me, it will make your life easier in the long run. Take some time to note the organization of the stores you go to. If the aisles are numbered, jot down what is offered in each aisle. When you make your list, you will organize everything using this information.
2. Make a list of what you already have.Before you even think about what you need to buy, go through your cupboards, fridge, and freezer and write down everything you already have. This will take a while the first time, but after that it will be quick to update the list, crossing off things you've used and adding things you've purchased (you can even post your completed shopping list on the fridge door as a record of what you've got). If items are running low (rice, sugar, flour, etc.), add them to your shopping list.
Now when you go shopping, you can be confident you're not buying yet another can of tuna or jar of capers, and you're much less likely to end up tossing half the things in your fridge simply because you forgot you had them and they've gone bad.
3. Plan some meals for the week using what you haveGather your list of what's on hand and some recipe books and magazines before putting together a rough meal plan for a week. Add the ingredients you will need to buy to your shopping list.
4. Organize your list & get on the phoneUsing the intel you gathered in step one, divide your list by store and then by aisles within each store. You should be able to start at the top and get everything without crisscrossing the store trying to find the right aisle.
Call the store ahead of time and order your meat and fish so they'll be ready to pick-up when you get to the market. Or, if you're not that organized, go to the meat and fish counter first and order what you need, then shop for the rest of your groceries and pick up your meat or fish when it's time to check out.
5. Buy fragile items lastMost grocery stores encourage you to start in the produce aisle, but resist this urge. If you leave produce for last, you can ensure that your delicate lettuces won't end up squashed by cans of tomatoes
6. Bring a pencilThis seems so obvious, and yet it's so easy to forget: Put a check next toeach item as you add it to your basket. Don't forget to add spur-of-the-moment items to the list so you have a record of what you're taking home with you.
7. When unloading your basket, put like items togetherKeep refrigerated items, produce, bread etc. separate, so they'll go into the same bag. Putting your groceries away (the worst part of shopping, in my opinion) will go a lot faster if you follow this simple piece of advice. Just ignore the looks you get from the people behind you.
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