Lost In The Supermarket? Master The Grocery Store In Minutes!

I know I’ve done my fair share of complaining about grocery shopping on here.  And it’s true, there’s plenty of days I just don’t feel like doing it.  But occasionally, I feel the fire deep inside.

You see, grocery shopping is challenging – there’s always too many people, too many aisles, you see other stuff you need.  What starts out as a 45 minute trip becomes 2 hours of aimless rummaging.

Planning helps a lot.   Writing a list only takes a few minutes (and it feels like a breeze after deciding what to cook for an entire week).  Executing the list is a whole nother story.

How To Write Your List

I like to write my lists in a stream-of-consciousness style, with whatever enters my head ending up on the page.  This results in items from all over the store mixed in together – if I were to follow this list from top to bottom, I’d be in there all day.  And while the steps are great for me, I’d rather do that walking outside.

So I make a few categories based on the major sections of the store:

  • Produce
  • Breads
  • Meats
  • Sauces/Pasta/Rice/Baking
  • Frozen
  • Dairy

This is roughly the order that my grocery store is laid out.  You walk in, and produce is first (on the right).  The meats are in the back, but you pass the breads first, so I stop there.  Then I go down the pasta/sauce/dressing/rice/baking aisles (usually 2-3 aisles).  Now I’m at the back of the store again, and I can go down the frozen aisle, come back up the dairy aisle (on the opposite end of the store), and end up at the checkout line.

The main points are:

  • Don’t pass an aisle twice
  • Stay out of aisles that don’t have items on your list
  • Move slowly across the store, not back and forth

Now, this is all pretty easy to type out here on the computer, but in the heat of the moment things get real crazy real fast.  You forgot to write something on the list, they’re out and you have to find a replacement, a section is crowded so you decide to come back later…

This is where you lean hard on your list.  Your list is your rock.  Your list is what keeps you from buying stuff you don’t need, stuff that’s bad for you (I don’t have any candy on my list so I have no reason to even be NEAR the candy aisle!), from pushing that cart around more people than you absolutely HAVE to.

Your list should match the layout of your store.  It should also match your goals with regards to budget and diet.

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