Have you ever timed how long it takes for you to grocery shop? Today it took me 71 minutes. Yikes! I learned some valuable lessons from my trip to Smith’s today. First, I realized I’m a slow, methodical shopper. When I include coupons, it takes me longer. And, I do buy things on impulse once in awhile, even when I use a list. I’m human.
Before I go on with my story, here are some shopping facts I thought you would find interesting:
- The average time spent grocery shopping is 41 minutes. (Time Use Institute)
- Saturday is the busiest shopping day of the week. The next busiest days are Friday and Sunday. The least busiest are Monday and Tuesdays. (Time Use Institute)
- Men do more shopping than women on the weekend. (Time Use Institute)
- On weekdays, the busiest time to shop is late afternoon – 4 to 5 p.m. On weekends peak time is 11 a.m. (Time Use Institute)
- Between 2003 and 2007 consumers have reduced the frequency of trips, but spend more time shopping. (Time Use Institute)
- “Studies show that for each additional minute you spend in a grocery store past half an hour, you will likely spend between 50 cents and $1.” MyRecipes.com So what this means is in one hour you could spend an additional $15 – $30 more!
- In 2010, shoppers spent an average of $99.90 weekly on groceries. (FoodProductDesign.com)
Today my plan was to stick to my shopping list and shop quickly. When I walked into the store I set the timer on my cell phone. However, a bag of my favorite pita chips caught my eye. And I noticed some hummus on clearance close by. I knew I had a coupon for the hummus, so it only cost me 29 cents, but those pita chips were not a great price. Neither one was on my list, but the hummus was calling to me and I was hungry.
It is easy to rationalize using a coupon, but did I really need the chips? By the way, I recently stopped using a coupon binder and switched to this cute coupon organizer from “Grandma’sLittleLilly.”
|Grandma’sLittleLilly Coupon Organizer|
It fits in my purse and can be conveniently hung on the grocery cart. I put more dividers in it, and now I only clip coupons for items we do use.
Next, I noticed some large bins at the front of the store filled with sale items. I spotted the food bars that were on my list, and reasoned that if I grabbed them now it would save me time. But I wasted time glancing in the other bins at the other items. Later, I visited the breakfast aisle in the store where those same bars were located. So I didn’t really save any time.
My plan was to walk the perimeter of the store first, and then hit only the needed aisles. As I entered the produce section I refocused my efforts, stuck to my list and was finished in 5 minutes.
Then I came to the deli and bakery section. “Don’t look,” I told myself. “Don’t sniff.” However, the muffins caught my eye. I grabbed the package reasoning that my kids would thank me. I moved onto the meat, and then the juice sections and stuck to my list. Then I began working my way down the necessary aisles.
The toiletry section was easy because most items are expensive, so I followed my list. I usually save more money on these types of items at drug stores like Walgreen’s or Dollar Tree.
Then I meandered to the canned food section and spotted a deal on a brand of canned chicken, which I happened to have a coupon for. “Don’t look!” I was weak. It’s food storage, right? But did I need it then? I found the coupons in my organizer and grabbed the cans.
The condiments, bread, breakfast foods, and baking sections were easy. As I entered the freezer section I suddenly realized that my mini cart was too small for more items. So I had to walk to the front of the store to get another cart. Another waste of time. Obviously I can’t fit a week’s supply of food in those little carts.
With the freezer items loaded up, I headed to the checkout pushing one cart and dragging the other behind me. 🙂 I carefully loaded my items on the conveyor belt, typed in my phone number on the keypad, and clutched my coupons in anticipation. I reminded the checker that I had two sets of “Buy 10” items. She informed me I was two items short which surprised me. She pulled out the receipt and we both looked it over. I tried not to look at the annoyed lady in line behind me. Sure enough I was confused on an item, so I hustled across the store and grabbed a few more granola bars. Thankfully all of my coupons were accepted.
I saved $24.00 with my coupons, and spent $22.00 on impulse shopping. I have to laugh at this, but it was a real eye opener. I suppose you could say I got them for free, but I really think that what I saved I also spent. The moral of this story is to stick to the list. Don’t rationalize purchases. And get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. I don’t mind spending time in a store as long as it’s put to good use. Here are some tips:
How to Shop Quickly to Save Money
- Sign up for a store loyalty card to get sale prices.
- Do your planning at home with a Menu Plan.
- Shop with a categorized shopping list of your favorite store and stick to it. List in order the sections/aisles in the order you will shop.
- Paper clip your coupons to your list.
- Shop on Monday’s or Tuesdays if possible.
- Shop early in the day or later in the evening.
- Shop on a full stomach.
- Shop in the produce section first, then the perimeter, and then the necessary aisles.
- Open several produce plastic bags in advance, then fill them with items on your list.
- Use a pencil to check off your list. Also number the items that are part of a Buy 10-type sale.
- If possible, get in line behind a man without children. Men typically have fewer items in their carts.
- At the checkout, unload heavy items first and group other items such as freezer foods, produce, etc. Add the bread items last.
- Have coupons ready to hand to the cashier.
- Good luck saving money!
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