7 Ways to Save Time During a Grocery Run, According to Time-Management Experts

published Aug 30, 2017
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(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

If you’re on this site, chances are that you love grocery shopping. It’s probably not a chore for you, right? No matter how much you enjoy it, though, you don’t always have hours and hours to spend, slowly moseying up and down each and every aisle. Because, well, life.

That’s why we asked some brilliant time-management experts for their best tips to help us all get in and out of the grocery store quickly. These smart ideas all go beyond the generic make-a-list tidbits, which you already know. Use them whenever you’re crunched for time.

1. Maximize the trip.

“To avoid wasting one trip on just one errand, maximize your productivity while you’re out of the house by adding in errands along your route. Schedule tasks around the same time as your grocery trip, like dropping off dry cleaning, squeezing in an exercise class, and making a return to a store since you are already out and in your car — you’ll spend more time out of the house, but you’ll also get more done.” — Rachel Rosenthal, organizing expert and founder of Rachel & Company

2. Shop at off-peak hours.

“Stores often open really early, so if you can fit in your shopping first thing in the morning, you’ll have the place to yourself — same goes for shopping after 8 p.m.” — Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers

3. Stay off the phone.

“Stay focused while you’re shopping — you can’t do that if you’re distracted with phone calls and texts. Pay attention to what you’re doing, and you’ll get in and out much quicker.” — Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert and founder of The Digital Breakthroughs Institute

(Image credit: Lisa S./Shutterstock)

4. Go for speed over perfection.

“Some things just aren’t worth your time, and saving a few cents on the price per sheet over paper towels falls into this category. If you’re in a time crunch, just do your best and don’t worry too much about picking the perfect peach or finding the best price on every little item.” — Zaslow

5. Keep your go-to items handy.

“Pick your top three go-to meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and keep a running list on your phone of the ingredients so when you’re hurried, you can grab your favorites in a pinch. Changing it up is fine and fun when you have time, but having those go-to items takes the thinking out if it and makes the shopping experience almost automated.” — Monica Leed, cofounder of Simply Spaced

(Image credit: Tyler Olson)

6. Know thy checkout line.

“Although Murphy’s Law says you will always get the slowest check-out line, you can stack the odds in your favor. Study the cashiers in your local store so you know who’s the fastest and who chats up each customer. The shortest line isn’t always the speediest. Scope out the shoppers in front of you — see if you can determine who will be redeeming hundreds of coupons, studying the receipt to get price adjustments, or (OMG!) paying with a check.” — Zaslow

More on Checkout Lines

(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

7. Send someone else to the store.

“Grocery stores and apps like Instacart or companies like Peapod make it possible for someone else to take grocery shopping off your plate. If you are tight on time, want to make sure you don’t add extra items into your cart, or just simply dread the task of grocery shopping, consider automating the process. Depending on your grocery store, there are also delivery and pickup options available, so once you’ve made your list, you’re done shopping.” — Rosenthal

More on Grocery Delivery

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