Shopping is an unavoidable chore in every household. In order for you to maintain stocks in the fridge and pantry you need a regular shopping schedule. This does not take into account the more infrequent shopping trips needed for clothes or other household items that you also need to buy from time to time.
The range of options for shopping has improved immeasurably in recent years. Most places give you the option of shopping in store and online. However both options can be equally time consuming if you aren’t careful about it. So with shopping being a non-negotiable household task we have devised a range of practical strategies to make the process as efficient as possible.
Most households tend to do a big grocery shop on a weekly or fortnightly basis. While you’ll occasionally have to hit the shops to pick up certain items that you may have run out of, this is the general schedule for most families and certainly makes sense in terms of managing the demands on your time.
You can also check out our 5 time saving grocery tips for practical strategies for managing your precious time most effectively.
If you’re shopping once a week, or even twice a fortnight it is helpful to plan your meals. You can use our downloadable meal planner here to help you with this.
Once you’ve mapped out your meal plan take note of the ingredients each meal requires as you go along.
Using the notes you’ve made from your meal planner you need to take an inventory of your fridge and pantry.
Make a list of items to add to your shopping list that you need to buy or ones that are running low.
There are few things more frustrating than discovering that you’ve run out of key things that you needed for your cooking that night, or that the family need for breakfast in the morning.
A practical way to prevent this from occurring and to save you valuable time where you have to do an unscheduled trip to the shops is by having a whiteboard on the fridge.
The adults or older family members need to note down on the whiteboard when key items are below the halfway mark. So if you’re halfway through the milk or cereal note it on the whiteboard. That way you can add it to the shopping list and integrate it into your grocery shop next time.
Now you’ve got your shopping list make sure you schedule your shopping trip for a quiet time at the shops.
It will save you valuable time trying to find a parking spot and will also mean you’ll have easy access to shopping trolleys and much shorter queues.
Most stores have extended trading hours now so it should be fairly easy to save time by shopping when the car-park is half empty and the store is quiet.
When you’re packing and unpacking make sure you put like items together. It will save you valuable time at home.
Keep frozen items together and put your vegetables and fruits together. It makes it much faster to unpack them into the fridge and freezer if you’ve grouped them according to where they belong in the kitchen.
When it comes to clothes shopping the best way to save time is to consider your wardrobe needs.
If you are shopping for your little one you will usually need to buy them new clothes based on seasonal changes. They grow so quickly in the early years that you will often find yourself frequently restocking their wardrobe.
Before you hit the shops take the time to go through the wardrobe carefully and work out what you need.
Sometimes you’ll find with a bit of de-cluttering that you can save yourself time and skip the shops altogether.
Set yourself a limit before you go spending. Not only will this save you money in the long term, it also saves you wasting time looking at clothes that are simply not within the price range you’ve set for yourself.
As well as saving you money it’s always a good idea to shop for new clothes when the sales are on.
Many clothing stores will notify you in advance of their general sales about upcoming specials if you sign up to be a member or get one of their club cards. They will often offer special pre-sale events which means you get to shop before everyone else. And it will not only be less stressful, it is also likely to save you time as well with shorter queues at the till.
These tend to be the big buys that only happen once every few years like a fridge or chairs and a table. With big-ticket items you tend to be focusing on saving money rather than time.
However, the best way to do both is to spend time doing your research before you hit the shops. Check out the local catalogues and do some investigating online as well. That means that you will know in advance in which shops you are likely to find what you are looking for and which ones are also offering the best value for money.
The trend towards online shopping has exploded in recent years. It’s a great way for time poor parents to save valuable time when it comes to shopping. Initially you may need to invest some time and energy into the process, but it will work out better in the long run as well. You can check out our tips for saving time doing online shopping here.