10 Way to Grocery Shop in UNDER an Hour

Anyone else have those tantrum, panic attack, chaos filled trips to
Wal-Mart that feel never-ending like I do?

I've come along way from the Facebook picture post with the caption that read

left the house with both girls in the Jeep @ 10:30am for a quick run to Wal-Mart for tons of diapers, sale cokes, and a swimming pool...almost 5 hours later, she's home and has unloaded all those things out of a church van because her hubby had to come rescue her and the girls from the Jeep with a blown radiator hose in the parking lot of a Taco Bell

I have three children now {14 months, 2, and 3.5 years old} and we have been grocery shopping two weeks in a row in UNDER an hour {really close to 45min}. This includes but is not limited to 1 potty break, 2 diaper changes and normal sibling squabbles. Here are some of the things that have helped us get in and out!

  1. Have a budget. Use cash makes it easier to force yourself to stick within your budget.Use a calculator to keep track of what your spending so you stay within your budget. {I use my phone}
  2. Make a detailed list. {helps to know your simple menu for the week}Write your list in order of the store's layout then shop in order{we start with non-food in the front of the store working our way back and across and then move through the food from back to forward}Only get what's on the list.
  3. Shop as early in the morning as you can. Fewer shoppers, happier kids, easier shopping. {we attempt to leave our house by 9am and with driving across town we get home around 10:30}
  4. Plan your parking to park on the side of the store you plan to check out on and near a cart rack. I know most people don't like parking near these bc their vehicle may get smacked by loose buggies but it's so much more convenient for loading and unloading children. {hint: germ-X and a baby wipe}
  5. Plan a potty/diaper change break as soon as you walk in the store so you don't have to figure out what to do with our cart full of stuff {there may still be the inevitable break in the middle of shopping though}
  6. Minimize tantrums by bring snacks/sippy cups/bottles/paci for the littles {I give them their snack when we head to the grocery side- about 1/2 done shopping and it keeps the from wanting everything on the shelves to snack on} AND by making the trip teachable. If you allow your children to look at the toys but in an educational {distracting} way there will be less of a fight, as well as not allowing them to get something every time you go. {ex: what colors do you see in the ball rack, is there a letter on that sign}
  7. Make your small ones ride.



    This could possibly be the single most important thing for making our trips faster. I have the little bitties so when our store used to have though awesome, ridiculously big, blue monstrosities that seated two of the kids I USED IT! Looks crazy and is a little harder to steer but well worth not having to constantly discipline a loose child. They no longer have them so I make everyone ride until after potty break and non-food. They have to "Sit knees or bottom while we're moving". {I don't know how many times I remind the of that, "knees or bottom"}. It may get crowded but you can walk 10 times faster without having to take toddler steps. Now that I've instituted the snack my oldest wants to keep riding so she can have her snack. Some days we have bigger items so I reward them by allowing walking {behind the cart, holding on when they are not asked to get what I ask them to}.
  8. Utilize your cart space. Carry large items like dog food on the bottom rack or make a seat for your children by laying bottled water packs flat. Sort by like items when possible. {frozen, pantry, fridge, non-food} This will help you load items at the register, get them in similar bags so sorting at home will be easier.
  9. Plan a SIMPLE meal planned for after shopping. {We have Macaroni Mondays!!!!} Even shopping in under and hour can be stressful by the time you get home, unload, put away and then attempt to cook something you just bought. Keep it super simple and have it already set out so you can make it really quick while the littles set the table ;o)
  10. Relax! Try and enjoy the trip, people watch, point our new things to your children, look for good behavior to reward.

Hope these help you like they have me. If you have any thing to add to the list PLEASE SHARE! Happy shopping!

 
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Comments

  1. I do NOT miss those trips! But you seem to handle them like a pro! Good for you! I often waited until the kids were in bed at night and the hubs was studying to run to the 24hr grocery store… If I needed more the 10 things or more then two stops. I was a bug fat chicken!!

    • Some days are really better than others but having a plan had really helped. We’ve tried everything: making the hubs go with me with him pushing the heavy cart or a cart for each of us with one or two kids each but he didn’t really like being just the cart pusher, shopping at night by myself but I’m usually so tired I don’t think clearly, or sending him and my list weren’t detailed enough for him to grab the ‘right’ stuff. They are almost too big to all ride though and then we’ll have to transition into another game plan. So far, know exactly what I need, grocery-wise for our menu, has help stick to the budget and go faster.

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