Grocery shopping can be a dreaded part of adulting for some. Although I actually enjoy a good grocery run, I’m not trying to spend all my time picking out the perfect produce or waiting in checkout lines. Efficient grocery shopping is one of the first steps in my meal prep routine and, as a recipe developer, I’ve spent enough time wandering the aisles to pick up a few hacks. Leisurely shopping during off-peak hours is the goal but not always possible so I have to save time and make the most of each trip. If you hate grocery shopping or just want ideas to speed up your routine, get to scrolling!

Make a List

This is the first step and should go without saying but I think we’ve all been there before so I’ll go ahead say it. 🙂 Make a list and check it twice. If you’re single and/or balling out of control, making a grocery list might seem silly outside of, say, thanksgiving menu planning but it helps keep me on track and ensures I don’t forget anything I really want or need to pick up. Knowing what you’re heading into the store for will even guide your choice of basket. You probably don’t need the full old-school push basket if you’ll be sprinting through the 15 items or less lane. Likewise, you don’t want to be the guy who realizes he needs more than a handheld basket halfway through the store. I just keep a running list in the notes section of my phone and when it’s time to hit the store, proceed to the next tip.

Order your List

This is the step that saves me the most time in store! Because I often make my list over time (like when I open the fridge and notice my pickle supply is low or when I’m out and about and see something I’d like to try), it isn’t usually in any kind of order. Cosmetics and lawn care stuff might be up there with produce and eggs. For this reason, I go through and order the list of items to align with how I would encounter them in the grocery store. It doesn’t have to be exact down to the item but produce items are typically at the entrance of a grocery store so I start with those then list out meat, beer and wine, dry goods, etc. This list should end with whatever items are furthest into the store or on the way to the register. Ice is usually last. This helps prevent having to make multiple trips down an aisle or running from the dairy area back to fresh fruits and veggies, for example. Organizing my list takes two minutes or less and saves me from looking foolish by walking around in circles.

Carry Reusable Bags

I mentioned carrying reusable bags as one of my tips for hacking your errands and am bringing it up again because it works. Reusable bags are not only kinder to the environment, they are usually easier to carry than paper or plastic bags and certainly have greater capacity than plastic. This is key if you hate making multiple trips from the car to your home and try to carry everything in at once. I keep a bunch in my trunk at all times and just grab however many I think I’ll need before heading into the store. Reusable bags are cheap, and can be used for more than just grocery shopping. Some stores, like Sprouts and 365 by Whole Foods even give you a small discount every time you use them.

Use Curbside and Delivery Services

Even though I tend to be a do-it-yourself kind of gal and actually enjoy grocery shopping (I’m also picky about my produce), I have taken advantage of curbside and grocery delivery services and highly recommend them. If you’re the type who gets stressed out by shopping of any kind or are maybe just super short on time and can afford it, do it! I tend to place HEB curbside orders to save time and cut down on stress when hosting an event like a bridal shower or a watch party and have also utilized Kroger’s delivery service for regular ol’ grocery orders in the past. Most stores have some form of this currently or, at least, in the works. Free game: For your first few curbside AND delivery orders with HEB, the fee is waived. Below are all of the curbside and delivery services I’m currently aware of in the Houston area. If you know of any I missed, please let me know in the comments so that I can add to it!

This week’s blog posts have been all about tips and tricks (shared side hustle tips on Monday) but I’ll be back to sharing recipes next week with an easy breakfast idea and a cocktail! If you have any other grocery shopping tips that work well for you, please share them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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Photography by Pharris Photos

Time-Saving Grocery Shopping Hacks