The Art of Grocery Shopping
August 2018

Y'all, I like to grocery shop. I do. I admit it. I think that makes me an outlier among... well... most people. Grocery shopping works for me because it's almost like a game - how do I beat the grocery store?!

It is possible. It is possible not to hate grocery shopping. It is possible to feel accomplished when you leave Target or Publix or wherever you shop. Here's my strategy:

1. Always have a list. 

Always. Before you shop, really think about what you're going to buy. What do you need? What have you been craving lately? Does the hubs need lunch for the week? What are we doing for dinner tomorrow night? Having direction is key. I also recommend working your list as items come up. We love to use our Amazon Echo when we realize we're low or out of something: "Alexa, add salsa to the shopping list." That way when it's time to shop, there is much less to add to the list. We also use a shopping list app that both of us can add to at any point.

Two Pens on Notebook

All of this to say, having a list ensures that you don't forget something you need and helps you avoid buying things that you don't. If the box of chocolate chip teddy grahams isn't on your list, do you really need it? I mean, sometimes the answer is totally "yes." But at least this way, you think about it before just tossing stuff in your shopping cart (or "buggy" as we say in the South).  

2. Be on the lookout for ways to save


This is where grocery shopping becomes like a game for me. Few things make me happier than seeing "You saved $XX" on my receipt. If you shop at Winn Dixie or Publix, you know there are always BOGOs happening. The key here is only to engage in a BOGO if the item is something you either do need or something you know you would buy in the future anyway. If that's the case, go ahead and get the free one too! Personally, I love to grocery shop at Target. For certain meat or produce items, I may run over to Sprouts or Publix, but for most things we keep on hand - it's all Target. Y'all, if you're not using Cartwheel at Target (for grocery shopping or otherwise), you need to download the Target app now and start using it! Simply scan the item you're putting in your cart and see if there's a coupon. That's it.

A final Target hack is the RedCard debit card (click below to get yours!). The credit card is great too, but I didn't want another credit card when I signed up, so I opted for the debit card version (which just required a voided check, no credit application). I pay out of my bank account but get 5% off my purchase. Between Cartwheel and Red Card, I rack up the savings. Not to mention, Target will periodically send coupons based on my purchase behavior (meaning the coupons are for things we buy regularly). It's creepy, but awesome.

3. Have a store plan

It can be tempting to go down your list and cross items off one by one. This, however, is inefficient shopping. Instead, know how the store is laid out and cross items off as you physically come to them. I love our shopping list app (we use Anylist) because it groups items by category, so I can usually cross several things off at once as I finish each aisle. Running back and forth around the store is exhausting and frustrating. Instead, be strategic with where you start and where you finish (for example, I work the store so that ice cream is always the very last thing on my list). 

With these tips in mind, you don't have to hate grocery shopping. Make a list, have a plan, watch the savings add up, and don't make more trips than you have to. You can do it!

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