Food shopping – pleasure or pain?
Most people find food shopping a chore sometimes (or all of the time…), it’s something that takes time and energy that could better be used elsewhere – so how can you make it easier?
To understand how to make it easier, firstly I want to look a little more at why it can be thought of as a chore…
WHY IS FOOD SHOPPING A CHORE?
There are many reasons why food shopping can be something we don’t want to do – here are just a few – can you relate? : –
- It involves planning – you really need to know who’s eating what and when, your budget, when you will have time to shop etc…
- When at the supermarket you can be drawn in to buy offers that are usually at the end of each aisle – they are laid out that way for a reason! This means you end up spending more money or buying things that you don’t really need.
- If you have young children it can be really taxing to take them shopping with you – and you will do just about anything to avoid tantrums…
- It takes time – usually shopping staples are spread out around the supermarket so that you need to walk down each and every aisle to find what you need OR you may prefer to shop locally in separate stores which is time consuming as well.
- Often you have to go at peak times due to work constraints – so queues are longer and you tend to impulse buy because you are hungrier after work and less likely to resist temptation.
So what are the tricks to get the most out of your shopping, while staying alert to the tricks that make you spend more money and time doing it?
Here are my 5 simple tricks to help make food shopping a breeze – enjoy!
#1 – WRITE A SHOPPING LIST & STICK TO IT
It’s never a good idea to go into a store and buy what you fancy for tea that night – as you inevitably come out with a lot more than you really need.
You either can’t make a decision so end up buying a couple of choices – or you can be tempted to buy the more unhealthy options – or you buy things that don’t help with future meals (in terms of using up leftovers etc…).
If you can write a list (ideally based around a preprepared meal plan) and stick to it then you won’t go far wrong!
#2 – BUY OFFERS ONLY IF THEY ARE REGULARLY USED
Think about an offer before you pack it into your trolley.
For example – 2 for 1 on bags of salad for instance may seem a good idea, but not if you are only in to eat tonight and then out for the next 2 days then it will have too short a shelf life and one of the bags will inevitably be thrown away (so you end up spending more for one bag in reality!).
It’s really only a good deal if you were buying it anyway, or if you regularly use it and so know it will be worthwhile.
Think about what you are planning to eat for the next week/month and look at offers around what you are going to need anyway – thats when it’s a real bonus!
TIP – exceptions to this rule are things that you can store easily that you will use up eventually (as long as you have the space) – like toilet rolls, dishwasher tablets, washing powder, shampoo, soap, and even food items that you can freeze. – For example – I always buy dishwasher tabs and washing powder when they are on offer because they are expensive and I know that we will get round to using them before they go out of date.
#3 – GET YOUR FOOD DELIVERED
I swear by getting a large proportion of my food shopping delivered now**.
There are so many reasons this works well: –
- It takes away any temptations that you may see when in the supermarket – you don’t get drawn to the smells and the offers!
- You can pick a time that suits you completely, and you can save a load of time in the process
- You are less likely to see offers unless you search – most supermarkets allow you to shop from your favourites list, so I rarely even stray from this now that I have everything on this!
- Yes it costs a little, but you have to spend time and petrol if you do it yourself, so the savings usually far outweighs the cost. (You can also find cheaper delivery slots** if you are flexible – often as little as £1)
- You can use this service for bulkier items and still shop for fresh produce etc… if you like. This is especially useful if you rely on public transport or are disable at all and find lifting heavier items hard.
#4 – SHOP AFTER EATING
If you shop for food on an empty stomach you are going to be ruled by your tummy rather than your head.
You’ll make rash decisions about getting more food than you need, as you will be tempted by much more.
If you eat a meal before you go, then you will be much more likely to stick to what you need.
Never again be seduced by the freshly baked bread smells or delicious treats at the deli! (unless they are on your list of course!), and talking of finding a time to shop that suits your stomach….
#5 – PLAN WHAT TIME YOU SHOP
Going to the shops at certain times make sense for a few reasons:-
- Supermarkets often mark down produce at the end of the day so you can get a bargain if you time it right which can help if you are on a budget.
- Shops are often less busy very early or very late each day so consider going out of peak times to save queues.
- Shop when the kids aren’t with you as this leads to added stress and distractions for many of us which can be avoided.
- Don’t shop too many times each week/month – go once a month for a bulk shop and then weekly for fresh produce and you will cut the stress.
#6 (an extra one!)
And lastly – I’ve fallen fowl to this a couple of times so thought it worth mentioning although it is a small detail…
Get into the habit of checking your car boot before you head out to the shops. Theres nothing more frustrating than if you’ve come out of a shop with a trolley load of products only to find the car is full of that stuff you have to take to the tip….
So, don’t let the shop win when you visit – be aware of what you need and where it is, and stick to the list whenever you can.
Always shop on a full stomach and only buy products on offer if you really do use them and will be able to use them before their best before date – an offer is only an offer if it helps!
If you are unsure when a quiet time would be to do your shop then ask someone next time you are there, and plan your next trip around that (as long as it fits in with your schedule nicely!)
Follow these simple rules and shopping should be so much more pleasant!
P.S don’t forget, one of the easiest things to make food shopping less painful is to create a meal plan, and you can find out all about them right HERE – enjoy!