How I Save Loads of Time in the Grocery Store

posted by Andrea | 05/21/2012

I’ve already shared the simple system I use every week to find the best grocery deals, clip coupons, make our weekly meal plan, and then create my grocery list.

I’ve also shared some of my best tips for saving money on groceriesbut I still haven’t shared one of my best tips for saving loads of time at the grocery store.

It’s actually such a simple tip and should only take you about 5 extra minutes before you get to the store. However, I need to share it with you because last week, I forgot to do this… and it took me twice as long to get through the store (see, it really does work!)

So what is my “secret”?

I organize my shopping list based on the store’s layout.

For example, all the dairy items at my local Meijer are in the very back of the store, so I group all the dairy items together and put them at the top of my list.

The baking aisle is usually my next stop, followed by the pasta aisle, the snacks/cracker aisle, then the breakfast aisle, etc. etc.

By that time, I’m just about at the meat/cheese section of the store, which then wraps around to bread section, and ends in the produce section.

My last stop is the frozen food aisle and then I make my way to the checkout.

By grouping all the items on my grocery list by category (or by aisle) and then arranging my shopping list to start in the back of the store and work my way to the front, I eliminate TONS of wasted time walking aimlessly up and down the same aisle multiple times. I also rarely forget or over-look anything on my list… and I think you’d be amazed at how quickly I can get in and out (even with all my coupons).

A couple weeks ago I actually timed myself and it was exactly 17 minutes from the time I walked into the store until the time I walked out! I did luck-out and found a cashier with an empty lane… but I attribute my speediness to an organized list and the fact that I walk really, really fast!

So every week, I look through the ads and write down all the items I need to purchase. Then, once my shopping list is complete, I go back and re-write my list based on my grocery store’s layout.

photo source

I know this might sound a bit compulsive to some of you, but it literally takes me 5 extra minutes and saves me SO much time in the store (which is helpful when I’m shopping with a fussy baby who needs to eat every 2 hours!)

Oh, and if you can’t remember your store’s layout, most grocery stores offer maps at the customer service desk — so just ask for one the next time you’re there :)

Do you categories and/or organize your shopping list? 

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53 comments

  1. Sarah

    08/13/2014

    I recently came across an idea to organize a spreadsheet in this way (in order of store layout) and it is working SO wonderfully for me. Saving time at home and store. I print the sheet weekly, hang it from a magnetic clip on the fridge, and hi-lite as I use something up and as I go through the sale ad. I only have listed the usual items we shop for, cleaning and personal items included. I love it and wanted to share with you. As soon as my little guy is old enough, I plan to print a shopping list for him with a few pictures of items he can look for (might help keep him occupied).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sounds like a good plan — I know Nora always loves holding the “fake coupons” I give her while we’re shopping :)

    [Reply]