Shopping is a major time sink. Between the travel, the traffic, and the checkout lines, the actual shopping almost seems
pleasant. Almost. Here’s my super-secret ninja plan to reduce the unpleasant time wasted while giving away my money in exchange for the privilege of not scooping manure straight from the source onto my crops to get both my burgers and my salads.
First, The List. I’m not going to tell you to use a list. You know that already. My secret? Organize your list by department. Divide the list into sections. Make sure it has a produce section, a meat section, a baking section, and any other section you will be visiting. Don’t leave the department until that section of the list is complete. That will eliminate chasing back and forth for things you forgot, which is a huge timesaver.
Shop where you know. When you are in a hurry or stressed by crabby kids, don’t go check out a new store. You won’t enjoy it with the kids in tow, AND you’ll be tempted to buy more, since you will encounter more as you explore the store trying to find what you need. Go somewhere you know. That will eliminate any hunter/gatherer-style shopping. If you know where you need to go, you’ll get through the shopping trip much faster.
Skip the bad aisles. I resist temptation best by avoiding it. In the store, I avoid it by skipping entire aisles of stuff. If there’s nothing I need in an aisle, don’t go there. Why tempt myself with that many more choices? I’m sure I can find something I’d like to bring home in almost any section of almost any store. So I avoid the unnecessary sections.
Shop at the right time. Don’t go on Saturday afternoon when every other 9-to-5er is free to run errands. If you absolutely must shop on the weekend, either go late–I prefer 3am–or go right at lunchtime when everyone is stopping to feed the hungry children. Me? I’ll either feed them first or fill them up on samples at the grocery store.
Use less, eat less. You’ll need to buy less that way. If you eat smaller portions, or learn how to cook with a versatile mix of staples, you’ll need to buy less, either through lower consumption or lower variety. I’m not saying eat boring, just get creative with the basics. I know a couple of different ways to cooks rice and beans, without getting bored. When you add the perfect-food-makers, like bacon, it’s easy to keep meals interesting.
How do you reduce wasted time shopping?