Save Time at the Grocery Store with One Simple Trick

How to save time at the grocery store. Use a printable grocery list template to stay organized.

I’m all about efficiency when it comes to meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep. Between taking care of your kids, your home and yourself, who has time to waste at the grocery store?

Before we get to the super easy strategy that I’ve been using for years to save me time at the grocery store, let’s talk for a minute about meal planning.

One way to spend less time on grocery shopping is to limit the number of times you go to the store. Making a weekly meal plan – and sticking to it – allows you to shop once for all of the ingredients you’ll need for the week’s meals. Yes, you may occasionally run out of milk on Thursday and need to make a quick grocery stop (been there). But for the most part you’ll keep both the time you spend at the store and your grocery budget to a minimum with one weekly shop.

So, you’re going to meal plan and go to the grocery store once a week. Good for you! Now, I have an even simpler way for you to save time at the grocery store every time you shop.

Organize your grocery list according to the layout of your grocery store.

Why? You can make one quick pass through the store and pick up everything you need, with no backtracking.

How? I use a grocery list template that I’ve created on my computer. I print out a copy each week and post it on my refrigerator.

How to save time at the grocery store. Use a printable grocery list template to stay organized.

My grocery list template lists all of the items that I buy most weeks. These items are categorized according to my local grocery store’s layout. I leave extra space between items and categories so that I have room to write in items where I’ll find them in the store.

This is what my current template looks like:

How to save time at the grocery store, with a grocery list template.

I edit my template from time to time as our food preferences and needs change.

With this list posted on my refrigerator, I can add items as we run out of them. When it’s time to grocery shop, I go through my template and cross off anything we don’t need.

Then I go through the week’s meal plan, recipe by recipe, and add any ingredients that I need to buy to the list.

My grocery list template isn’t fancy. Originally I used a simple word processing document, which I’ve updated over time as my eating habits changed and our family grew.

You might notice that the whole left side of my list is dedicated to fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce makes up a big part of what we shop for each week. I try to focus my shopping on the perimeter of the store, since that’s where the healthiest options are. Your store’s perimeter is where you’ll most likely find the fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and whole grains. Avoid the packaged and processed foods in the center aisles as much as possible.

During the spring and summer, I like to buy most of our fruits and vegetables at the farmer’s market. Since they’re grown locally, they often have more nutrients and flavor. It does take more time overall to make another stop for food shopping. (But less time in the actual grocery store!) My family enjoys our trips to the market, so it doesn’t seem like a chore to go there.

Once you get home with all of those fresh fruits and veggies, here’s how to meal prep to make sure you eat all of them!

By sticking to your organized grocery list, you will also save money on grocery shopping because you’ll follow your list, rather than walk down every aisle of the store. Focusing on your list helps to avoid the temptation to buy less healthy options.

How to save time at the grocery store:

  • Use a grocery list template.
  • Organize your grocery list according to the layout of your store.
  • Make a weekly meal plan.
  • Shop no more than once a week.

More organization ideas:

How do you organize your grocery list?

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