9 Tricks For More Efficient Grocery Shopping (And Actually Enjoy It)

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Does Grocery Shopping Feel Like A Chore? Try These Tips To Improve The Process

At Made In Nature, we’re all about efficiencies. We bake our bacon rather than frying it in a pan (so we have a big batch). We keep this and this in our bag so we never have to worry about feeling hangry. And, we keep an audiobooks like this one on our phone so downtime (in a waiting room, while commuting) is never wasted. Given our proclivities for eating well and often, grocery outings happen frequently – and nowhere are efficiencies more essential. Between bumper cart situations, the inevitable not-so-happy baby, and navigating reading food labels, there’s often a lot going on. We’ve dialed in how to make grocery shopping not only a snap but also something we dare say you might look forward to. Here are our go-to tips.

Our Top Tips For Efficient Grocery Shopping

1. Make a list.

Don’t go to the grocery store without one. Period. Otherwise, you’re bound to spend more money than you want to, and inevitable miss picking up something you really want or need. In the store, stick to what’s on your list (with the caveat of tip 9).

2. Make a master.

Make a master grocery list of the staples you’d like to always have on hand. Rice, pasta, lentils, toilet paper, almond butter and other things like these items might appear on it. This way, you’ll always have what you need to whip up something in a pinch like this or this.

3. Plan your menu.

When you know what you’re going to be eating for the week, you can make sure you buy everything needed in one stop and minimize stressful emergency grocery store runs.

4. Don’t go hungry.

If you go hungry, it will be your hunger rather than your rational brain that’s in the driver’s seat. This often results in a higher grocery bill and the addition of foods that tip further towards junk food on your health meter.

5. Look for certifications.

Label reading is great if you have the patience for it. Otherwise, save time by making sure whatever you’re buying is Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic. This is the best way to avoid genetically modified ingredients and harmful chemicals in your food. Right now, the USDA is soliciting public comments on a draft rule about how genetically modified foods will be labeled by manufactures. We’re not fans of what they’ve come up with.  Sign a petition advocating for clear, consumer-friendly GMO labels.

6. Make shopping part of your routine.

Put grocery shopping on your calendar. Once or twice a week should suffice. This way you’re less likely to need to be there when everyone else is there – weekends, and right after work. Midweek, later in the evening and weekend early mornings are generally lower-traffic times to shop. If you have a flexible schedule, mid-week mornings and afternoons are best.

7. Bring your bags.

You’ll save some cents if you’re in a state that charges for bags, and even if you’re not you’ll feel better for helping out the planet and not adding to your growing collection of disposables.

8. Stick to your budget.

Shopping may induce anxiety because it’s associated with overspending. Go to the grocery store with a budget in mind and stick to it by doing quick calculations with the items in your cart (round up to the nearest dollar). You’re more likely to make smarter choices in the grocery aisles and be pleasantly surprised at the register.

9. Just say yes.

If the grocery store is the place where you find your “I-want-it-now” edge, give yourself a little leeway (and make shopping more fun) by allotting yourself a certain number of items or a budget for splurging.