How to Streamline Your Grocery Shopping (So You Don’t Hate It)
Only after I finished the Highly Sensitive People (HSP) chapter in Reading People did I finally understand why I struggle so much at the grocery store. (You probably think I’m going off the deep end here, but give me five seconds to explain!)
- Overwhelmed by bright lights, lots of visual stimuli, and noise (AKA the grocery store)
- Have a hard time making decisions (oh the choices, including price comparisons)
- Tire very easily after just one errand (let alone running to 2 or 3 stores in one day!)
Don’t worry, this isn’t a deep dive into personality traits, but knowing I am part of the 15-20% of the population who is Highly Sensitive suddenly gave me perspective. I felt understood, not weird. And understanding myself inspired me to try some ideas on how to streamline my grocery shopping, so Publix didn’t feel as overwhelming or exhausting anymore.
However, these time-saving tips are not just for HSP’s, they’re for any woman who juggles a busy schedule and wishes she could get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible. Or have the grocery store delivered right to her door!
Tip #1: Use a Grocery Pickup Service
With this convenient service, you (most likely) don’t even have to step foot inside the store. Employees bring your groceries straight to your car!
You just place your “order” online, schedule a time for pickup, drive to the store, and full grocery bags magically appear in your trunk. Okay, so you still have to drive, but at least you don’t have to walk around the store picking groceries out yourself!
The only potential downside is in how some stores treat refrigerated items. I can’t definitively say this is true for every store, but in my experience with the Sam’s Club Pickup service, I had to wait a little while for the employee to run back and grab my refrigerated items (which took only an extra 5 minutes but it wasn’t as grab-and-go as I would have liked.)
My friend, Rachelle, however, has the inside scoop on Walmart Grocery–they apparently get your groceries only a few minutes before you arrive and keep them in a refrigerated area so you don’t have to wait! Walmart Grocery now delivers in some areas, too!
Stores that have the pick-up feature:
- Sam’s Club
- Walmart Grocery
- Lowe’s Foods
- Harris Teeter Express Lane
- Publix Curbside
- Target [select items]
- Kroger ClickList
Even if your preferred store doesn’t offer the grocery pick-up service, you can hire an Instacart driver to not only go grocery shopping for you but deliver them straight to your doorstep. Check here to see if Instacart is available in your city!
Tip #2 Try Sam’s Club Scan & Go
I don’t know of any other store that does this yet, but Sam’s Club (and no, they didn’t sponsor this post!) offers a mobile app that allows you to scan your groceries as you put them in your cart.
When you finish shopping, you just “check-out” on your phone (the first time you’ll have to type in your credit card, but it saves securely for future purchases) and show your mobile receipt to the employee at the door.
This is an incredible feature for two reasons:
- You don’t have to wait in the long Sam’s Club lines behind customers with two carts each (happens every time!).
- It’s much easier to keep track of your budget when the amount totals up for you right on the screen. If you “spend” too much, simply delete the item off your phone and put it back on the shelf.
Tip #3: Download the OurGrocery app
As a pen-and-paper gal, I love making tactile lists, but the OurGrocery app has been such a convenient time saver, it’s one of the few things I don’t track in my bullet journal!
It’s so easy to add ingredients to your list, and you can categorize them based on the type of food—refrigerated, pantry, frozen, produce, etc. Once you categorize an ingredient, it will always pop under that category in the future. Yay for organized grocery trips!
Another fun feature is the ability to create multiple lists. I have lists for each of my favorite grocery stores and lists “sync” between phones, so Joseph knows what to pick up if he’s running the errands (and truthfully, I delegate a lot of those to him so this HSP doesn’t have to go to the store!).
Tip #4. Download the Flipp app
If you prefer to create meal plans based on store sales (which is a good habit to get into!), the Flipp app saves you from combing through the messy stack of circulars from your Sunday newspaper. Or if you don’t normally get the paper, it saves you from opening yet more different tabs on your internet browser.
That’s because Flipp houses ALL local and current grocery store circulars in one convenient app!
You can also:
- Favorite your most visited stores to quickly see what they have on sale that week
- “Clip” specific items to your shopping list
- Add loyalty cards (just pull up the bar code on the app to scan at the register)
- “Clip” manufacturers coupons to load to a loyalty card or redeem as rebates (double your savings with Ibotta! Check out my Ibotta app review!)
If it weren’t for the lack of multiple shopping lists, I would probably ditch the OurGroceries App all together and use Flipp to house it all. Hopefully, they come out with that feature soon! (Yay for an streamlined app screen!)
Tip #5: Shop Online
Now that we’ve streamlined our must-make trips to the grocery store, what if you could avoid the grocery store altogether? Amazon makes this possible. Not for everything, of course, but they are quickly getting there!
For instance, Amazon Subscribe & Save is one of my favorite online features. You just choose which items you want to be delivered and how often (every month, every two months, etc), and on your specified day, Amazon will send those items straight to your door.
You get a 5% savings by subscribing to that item, and 15% savings if you subscribe to more than five items every month. I only have a handful of items shipped through this service (for now!), but am always comparing prices to see if I can get them cheaper through Amazon than at the store.
Another Amazon Prime perk is access to Amazon Prime Pantry for just $4.99 per month. From beverages to snacks to cereal and shampoo, you can add as many items to your box as you like, use manufacturer coupons, and only pay a $7.99 flat shipping fee. However, if you spend more than $40 per order, you get free shipping!
The downside is that $4.99 per month in addition to your Prime membership fee, so depending on how much you buy, it may not be worth the extra cost.
Tip #6. Use a Meal Delivery Service
A few months ago, I experimented with Blue Apron after receiving a promo coupon to use in the mail. The food tasted great! And I loved that they included ALL of the ingredients, even down to the itty bitty spices. You don’t have to go shopping for anything.
For busy families, meal delivery services can be a life saver, especially if you enjoy cooking but not all the meal planning and grocery shopping. For Joseph and me though, we couldn’t justify the price since we also had to do the prep work and cooking. I would have much rather spent that money at a nice restaurant and have someone else make it (and do the dishes)!
Obviously, I’m not the target audience for this type of service, but that’s not to say you won’t enjoy it. There are plenty of services to choose from (Plated, Hello Fresh, and Home Chef to name a few) and they keep popping up everywhere!
Tip #7. Keep a Price Book
In addition to figuring out what to buy at the grocery store (or online!), price comparisons are the next major decision factor. It can be difficult to remember exactly what price is a good price!
That’s when a price book comes in handy. You can keep a paper one in your purse or create a digital version using Google Sheets so you can access it on your phone. All you need to list out is the item, the stores you typically shop at, and the price of the item at each store.
You’ll not only identify sales prices a lot easier, you’ll also know exactly where to buy what. For instance, I have a separate Sam’s Club and Aldi list in the OurGroceries app because there are some ingredients that are much better prices at those stores, no matter what!
The point is to spend less time at the store—whether you’re a super busy individual or an HSP like me—and I’m thrilled to live in a modern era when groceries arriving at my doorstep or appearing in my trunk from a gracious employee are possible!
Let’s chat about grocery shopping:
Have you found other ways to make this dreaded chore easier to manage?
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.
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Great post! Thrive Market is another great option for online shopping. If you prefer to eat healthy/mostly organic, you will save 25-50% off store prices, and shipping is free if you spend $49 or more. My box is usually at my front door in 1-2 days.
Great tips, I’m obsessed with the Scan and Go app. I also really love using Shipt grocery delivery for when I am home with a sick kiddo. Instacart is great too but Shipt’s customer service is absolutely fantastic.
I haven’t tried Shipt yet! Going to have to look them up. 🙂