Usually I tell people that the reason I don't like to grocery shop is because I have four small children.
And that's true! Taking them all to the grocery store, unbuckling them from the car, sprinting through the aisles before anyone has a meltdown, deflecting requests for the most random of items, and then getting all the food and all the children safely back home is not exactly a spa day.
But in all honesty, even before I had any children, I didn't like to grocery shop.
I'd put off the trips as long as possible because menu planning, making a grocery list, and then actually going to the grocery store was just such a hassle.
I also don't like to spend my entire paycheck at the checkout line, so I'm always looking for ways to keep my grocery bill low without resorting to the tips that suggest I visit three or four stores to get the lowest prices on every item. (My sanity is worth more than a 50-cent savings on milk, I think.)
Obviously grocery shopping is something that must be done. And so, to help myself and other reluctant shoppers, I've rounded up some of the best ideas from other people who don't love grocery shopping but do love keeping their expenses down. I hope their great (and simple!) tips help you streamline and save.
P.S.: If you want to use your resulting savings for an actual spa day, well, I think that's a great idea.
Budget Shopping Tips from People Who Hate Grocery Shopping
1. Have your groceries sent to you.
If you just can't bring yourself to go to the store, don't! Try an online service like Peapod, FreshDirect, or Amazon Fresh. For starters, this saves you from having to go to the store. And online shopping makes it easier to track your budget as you add things to your cart.
"I love using online ordering so I can see a running total and know when I get to my budgeted amount!" — Jillian
"I love using grocery pickup because I can see my total as I go while ordering! When I'm in the store I just kind of get what I need and it costs what it costs. But online I can see if I'm going over what I want to spend and take things off that I don't have to have." — Camille
2. Or just pick them up.
You can also see if your local store has curbside pickup. Staffers will organize your groceries and you just have to swing by to grab them.
"Using grocery pick up saves a TON of money because there are no impulse purchases" — Tiffany
3. Take the time to meal plan.
As I've said, I hate meal planning, but I hear it can be fun. (See: 5 Ways to Make Meal Planning More Fun.) And apparently, it's a good way to get in and out of the store and save money.
"Meal planning. If I go without a plan, I always spend more. I have to have a list of recipes and go from there. Also check and know what you have at home before you shop so you don't come back with duplicates! " — Robin
See all our stories on meal planning here.
4. Leave the kids at home.
Well don't leave them home alone unattended ... just shop without them whenever possible.
"Don't bring your children with you! My kids always ask for food that is not on my list and sometimes I have the resolve to say no, but usually I can't deal with the tantrum." — Mary
5. Master your grocery list.
A grocery list that's written down on something aside from a napkin or a Post-It will apparently be helpful.
"Keep a list on your fridge to keep tabs on what you're out of and also compile a list of things to buy at a warehouse club once a month." — Claire
"After you make your grocery list, take a minute to go back and rewrite it with the items grouped by section so you don't waste time backtracking later." — Jordan
6. Organize your wallet.
We don't all have to become extreme couponers, but we should use the coupons we do actually take the time to find and clip.
"Put the coupons next to your debit card in your wallet so you don't forget to use them at checkout." — Sahara
7. Spend less time in the meat section.
Meat can get expensive. It can also slow down your shopping if you have to hunt through packages for the best size, cut, and price.
"Go meatless with your meals one or two times a week. No extra shopping, and lots of savings!" — Brooke
Check out our vegetarian meals here.
8. Plan super-simple dinners.
The more complicated your menu, the more complicated your shopping tends to be. Keep it simple.
"Have a 'cheapo dinner' day where you serve something like ramen or macaroni & cheese." — Becky
9. Shop the sales.
If you're really trying to keep costs down, look to see what's on sale and adjust your dinner plans accordingly.
"I see what meat is on sale and plan my menu around that and then stock up and freeze it when it's a really good deal!" — Mona
10. Do a little bit of math.
No need to start an intense spreadsheet with all sorts of price comparisons at various stores. Just do one simple thing before putting something in your cart.
"Compare the prices of the same product in different sized packages. Sometimes the larger package isn't the best deal. If you calculate the price by ounce, you'll know when a sale isn't a good deal." — Sahara
11. Chat up the employees.
Just once. In order to get the scoop.
"Find out what day your grocery store restocks. That's when they pull things off the shelves and discount them to make way for new things." — Samantha
Do you hate grocery shopping? What do you do to make it a little easier and still stay on budget?