I am not a great shopper. I think this is mainly because I hate to waste time wherever I can, and shopping can feel like an all day event at the best of times.
As such I am often trying to find ways to cut shopping time down, and I wanted to share my top time saving tips for shopping with you today – I hope they help!
#1 – Have a list
This is arguably the most important tip to remember when shopping.
Having a list of what you need can help you to stay focused and not browse too much. It’s all too easy to walk into a store and be drawn to a new promotion or sale stand – only to find that you have wasted 20 minutes and now have to rush to find what you actually came in for….
Having a list saves you time, but also money and energy as you can stay on track and make a quick exit knowing that the list has been completed!
#2 – Pick your location wisely
Knowing where you are going to go shopping in the first place can save you time.
If you have a few shops to go to, or a few different items to get, it’s definitely worth sitting down at home and working out the best place to go that is likely to have everything you need in one location.
This will stop you having to get back in your car, or the bus, to several different towns/places – and will make the whole process a lot easier and quicker.
#3 – Have a plan
If you know where you are going to go shopping, and you know what you need to buy, then the next step to save time is definitely to plan your shopping route.
Make sure that you park your car in a suitable spot that’s close to the shops you need to go to, and try and plan out a route that takes the least amount of time while still getting to everywhere you want to get to.
#4 – Get to know your supermarket
If you are food shopping, then try and write your shopping list in groups as they appear in the shop – this will save time going back and forth between aisles to get all you need.
#5 – Go alone
Shopping alone helps you to stay focused and get things done more quickly – as you only have to get what you want and not have to worry about kids/partner/friends.
(Of course, this is when you have lots of errands to get done – it’s lovely to spend time with people when you are simply browsing…)
#6 – Know what vouchers you have and have them to hand
There’s nothing worse than getting back from the shops and going through your purse only to find a voucher that could have saved you some money had you remembered it was there. I have done this too many times to mention now and really need to take heed of my own advice here!
Before you go to the shops, check through your vouchers (hopefully they are all in a safe place together, whether this is already in your bag/purse, or in your home somewhere), and collate the ones that you will hopefully be able to use while you are out.
Attach them to your shopping list so you know you have them to hand, and asterisk the items on the list that have a voucher – this way you will save time not having to work out at checkout whether you have a relevant voucher – not having to dash back for another item so you can redeem a voucher – and not having to waste time searching for your voucher at the bottom of your bag.
#7 – Go contactless
I love it when I can go through checkouts as quickly as possible – whether that be via a quick pay till (trying to shop with under 10 items in my basket is a common pass time!), or just playing “guess the shortest queue” when ready to pay!.
The quite recent introduction of contactless cards for payments has simplified checkouts for smaller purchases even more.
Lots of bank cards are now offering contactless paying for purchases under a certain amount – and this saves precious time and effort at checkout as you don’t need to remember your PIN or tap it into the machine, and you can be out of the shop that much quicker.
It’s also a great incentive to keep your purchases small – saving money as well ;o)
#8 – Avoid queues as much as possible
We all have queue stories – and I always seem to find myself behind someone who looks like they have a simple purchase to make, but who ends up needing to call a manager/getting extra things out of their bag to sort out etc… – grrr!
What I always try and do is possible is shop at odd times of the day. Off peak shopping can minimise the time you are spending at the shops – because there are less people then it stands to reason that there will be less queues to tackle.
What about food shopping at a 24hr supermarket really early or really late one day?, or going shopping mid afternoon on a weekday rather than at the weekend (after the school pickup for example).
#9 – Make sure you have finished before you leave
Finding more time to go back to the shops because you have forgotten something, or you need to return something can be so frustrating.
I know it’s a pain sometimes to try clothes on in store, but taking an extra 10 minutes to do this will ensure that you don’t need to find a few hours to go back to return an item and find something else.
#10 – Go online
My biggest time saving way of shopping is going online.
I can sit one evening and do my shopping on my laptop/ipad in the comfort of my own home, and can choose everything I need for food/gifts/cards etc… easily and quickly (I now have a list of my favourite shops to go to that I trust and that I know will be perfect matches for people I am buying for which is great!)
Not only can I be more focused on just looking for what I want, I can also save loads of time and money not having to travel to and from the shops (no more traffic or petrol costs!) – bliss!
Time saving when you are out shopping can only ever be a positive thing – unless of course you have time to spare!.
I hope that using these time saving tips next time you are out and about will help you to get there and back that little bit more quickly – giving you time to do what you really want to do instead – and what could be better than that!