8 Ways to Save Time at the Grocery Store

Time is money. And, while you’re more than willing to clip some coupons, page through the ads, use virtual coupons, and buy specific brands just to save a few cents, you may not be thinking about all of the time you spend doing it – to say nothing of the shopping itself. 
Just because you want to make the most of your time doesn’t mean you have to pay full price for everything, of course. Here are some things you can do to speed up your time at the grocery store and still pinch some pennies in the process:

IMAGE CREDIT:  Some rights reserved by blmurch

Start by being dedicated to the task. If you really want to take a leisurely stroll around your local grocery store, do that. But, if you really want to streamline your time commitment, focus on that objective. Every week, remind yourself of those other things you’d rather be doing, and focus on these time-saving measures.

Create or find a map of the store. Many stores now have a map online that you can look at and use to make your plan of attack. If your local grocery store doesn’t have one, consider a special trip to make your own. You don’t need to label every location, just get the general layout of the aisles.

Make a thorough grocery list each week. Every minute you spend creating your weekly grocery list is three minutes less you’ll spend wandering at the store. For example, don’t just write “snacks” on your grocery list; actually list separate items such as “potato chips” “yogurt” and “popsicles.” Each of those things is located in a different area of the store, and you’ll wind up zig-zagging around when you get to “snacks” on your list if you don’t list them individually. Planning your weekly menu will also help with this process, as it makes grocery list creation an easier task.

Map out your path. Figure out which aisles you need to hit and which ones you need to skip. If you grocery shop at a big-box retail store that also carries non-grocery items, consider focusing solely on grocery items during your weekly shopping trip. Chances are that the groceries are all in one part of the store and you can shave at least a couple of minutes of walking time just by ignoring the parts you don’t need.

Get organized with your coupons. If you use coupons, get organized ahead of time. Know what coupons you’re going to use at the store. Organize them in the order that you’ll encounter them during your grocery shopping path. As you get each item, set its coupon aside so that you’re ready to go when you hit the checkout lane.

Utilize virtual coupons and store buyer promotions. There are many products today that you can buy using virtual online coupons that don’t need to be clipped. Whether these come from a coupon service or whether they come from the retailer’s own online site, they can save you not only the time that it takes to clip the coupons, but also the time and effort that it takes to organize them and present them while you’re at the grocery store.

Ignore impulse items. This is often easier said than done, of course. Retailers know how shoppers minds’ work, and they use product placement to draw your attention to the specific items they want to sell you. Not only are impulse items generally something that you wouldn’t otherwise buy, they’re usually at full price. On top of that, it takes time to look at them, consider whether you want to buy them, and then actually buy them. You’re much better off going into the store knowing that you’re not buying anything that’s not on your list, and then sticking to it.

Familiarize yourself with the cashiers. After you’ve been shopping at the same grocery store for a while, you’re going to get a good feel for which cashiers take their leisurely time ringing up your goods, and which ones want to get it done as fast as they can. Consider going with the faster cashiers – even if they have a longer line. Chances are pretty good they’ll still get you in and out quicker than the ones who want to chat up every customer about the weather.
Following these tips can free you up to do more of what you love, and they’ll also remove some of the frustration from the grocery shopping process.

Author bio
Nick Simpson is Social Media Coordinator at SavingStar, a leading provider of grocery coupons. SavingStar has pioneered the process of providing grocery store coupons online and has a rapidly growing customer base of happy shoppers that save money with their store loyalty programs.

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  1. Rick Magennis says:

    Great Tips!
    Before I had my daughter about 1 year ago I used to take my time in the grocery store, but those days are gone. I now have a game plan before I enter the supermarket. I go down the same isles in the same order each time and most importantly I look for specific cashiers at checkout. Some are faster than others and I look for the most efficient cashier because by the time I am checking out my daughter is usually getting fussy. My goal is make the trip as painless as possible and these tips really do help.