Full disclosure, I love love love grocery shopping. Which is funny because as a child, I have strong memories of my brother and I going with my mom each week. Ironically enough, I never got the feeling it was anything enjoyable. But now? Bring on the food stores I say. I will happily peruse the stores for hours, aimlessly wandering up and down the aisles, checking out new things, getting cooking inspiration and checking out what others are buying.
My preference is definitely to spend more time in the healthy stores, ones with bulk bins and lots of olive oils available for purchase than traditional grocery stores.
And I'm quite certain that all my experience has made me understand how to do smart grocery shopping. In fact, I employed my simple tactics this past Sunday, reaping the benefits of knowing exactly where to go and how to dart in and out for all necessary (and fun) items.
Here are my five smart grocery shopping tips:
1. Be picky. Don't buy everything in the same place. You should go to different stores for different prices AND better quality. There are two stores I go to for my produce. One isn't super duper near anything else I visit (made harder to reach because two bridges that cross the river to bring me to the store are out of commission!) So my decision to visit one store over another always comes down to this :
Do I have the time to make the trip?
Do I want to make the trip? (If I haven't been to one store in awhile, I'm usually up for a trip to go check it out.)
Am I going anywhere else in that neck of the woods for any other errands? I always have a scale in my mind, weighing the pros and cons of visiting each respective store.
Do I need anything else that I might be able to get elsewhere? (Rendering a trip to one store really unnecessary and out of the way.)
Ultimately, every time I go to the produce store that isn't on my way to anything, I always leave feeling great about myself. Thanks to the type and amount of produce I purchased for a great price, I'm always happy to schlep out of the way for that one.
Other times when I visit the more expensive, but closer to home produce store, I'm pleased for the time it saves me as I am always near it. It all really depends and you just need to think about, in that moment, what you value most.
And no, it's not too crazy to go from one store to the next just for similar items!
2. Plan plan plan. I don't think that you are batty if you want to shop around BUT you must plan ahead and figure out what you are going to buy where. Otherwise you will (and that's a guarantee) drive yourself bonkers hopping from one store to the next.
While I might really want to go to one store in the moment, I do always think ahead and plan out other errands. If I'm going to be in that area later that week, I'll just wait to buy whatever I needed at that later date.
3. Price shop. It's worth it. I don't mean cutting coupons, but price shop. Know where to buy what you buy for the cheapest prices. Now, what this does NOT mean is becoming the crazy woman who shops from one store to the next for a price difference of .02/lb for bananas.
Sure, there are definitely times when I pay more for something than I would have elsewhere BUT perhaps I'm paying for convenience. And that's fine, but it's not something I make a habit of.
When I'm heading out, canvass tote bags in hand, I know that it's worth it to buy beans at Trader Joes when I am there because they run at least .30 cheaper than other stores. I always stock up to make the trip worth my while (and because we eat a lot of beans!)
4. Use the bulk bin. Love me the bulk bin. Not only do I get a cheaper price than items on the shelves, I can choose the quantity I want AND reduce all the packaging and plastic waste. Win-win all around. La dee dah, la dee dah.
5. Food shop in the morning. You will avoid the crowds which is awesome because it saves you time. Time you might rather spend not grocery shopping (unless of course you are me.) And avoiding lots of people at the store might just be less stressful as there are less carts to clog up the aisles. Stores are generally restocked in the morning, so if you are looking for something, there's a better chance it will be available.
Whenever and however you grocery shop, remember your canvass bags!
Now, I'd love to hear from you. Which smart grocery shopping tip do you already do? Got any more to share? Leave a comment in the section below to share with us all.
Thanks so much for reading this article and being a part of my world.