How To Grocery Shop In 30 Minutes Or Less

Going to the supermarket is a necessary part of life, and people often spend way more time that anticipated roaming up and down the brightly colored aisles and standing in lines. Sometimes perusing the store is totally fine — some even find it fun! — but other times you really just need to get in and get out.

There are so many tips out there for easy and speedy weeknight dinners or ways to transform pantry staples into dinner, but what about tips for shopping quickly and efficiently? Time is a precious commodity, but these easy tips will help you whiz around the store, successfully stock your pantry and get your shopping done in 30 minutes or less!

Plan Your Meals for the Week

If you know what you're cooking for the week, you know what you're going to buy. That will cut out precious minutes of indecision and ensure you get your shopping done quickly and efficiently.

Don’t Go Shopping Without a List

Again, being prepared is an essential way to save time at the supermarket. Having a list in hand will ensure you don't forget anything essential and keep you on task the whole time. Make sure you stick to the list 100 percent, though; any dawdling is just going to cause you to lose focus and could easily result in an hour-long shopping trip.

Have a Backup Plan for Essential Items

If you are determined to get in and out of the store in record time, then always have a backup plan before you get there. Know what your essential items are, whether that means certain ingredients or a particular brand of packaged food. On the off chance that they aren't in stock, having a backup plan means you won't even have to hesitate when choosing something in its place.

Look up Sales Ahead of Time

If you are the type to always make the most of a good sale, then do some research beforehand so you know what sales interest you. No need to browse at the store and waste time, just know what sales you are going to look out for before you get to the store.

Organize Coupons Before you Get There

Like with sales, if you are using coupons, make sure they are organized before you start walking those aisles! Whether you sort alphabetically or by department, find a system that works for you; this will cut down on any coupon sorting you usually do mid-shop.

Organize your List into Categories

When writing your oh-so-important shopping list, make sure it is written in a logical manner. If you are trying to get the shopping done in a flash, you really do not want to spend precious minutes scanning your list over and over again to make sure you've got everything you came for. Organize your list by department — produce, dairy, bakery, etc. — and fly through the store!

Know the Layout of Your Grocery Store

If you know your store really well (or if you can look up a map of the store online), then plan tactically and figure out the most efficient route through the aisles. You can even write a list whose order follows the layout of your favorite grocery store, so you simply stick to a planned route through the store and check things off the list as you pass them.

Avoid Shopping at Peak Hours

If you can, avoid going to the grocery store during peak hours — usually weekends and Monday evenings are busiest. Plan accordingly and try hitting the shopping cart in the mornings when things tend to be quieter and less crowded.

Buy 10 Items or Less and Use the Express Checkout Line

It's not called express checkout for nothing! If you really need to shop in a flash, buy less than 10 things and use the fast lane! Be careful, though — if it is rush hour, the express checkout line might not save you much time at all. Make sure you always compare lines no matter how many things you are buying.

Don’t Shop Hungry

This is a cardinal rule no matter how long you have to spend at the supermarket. Being hungry can be a huge distraction you really don't need when trying to shop speedily. Make sure you keep your laser focus by having a snack before you shop.

Wear Comfy Shoes

Like being hungry, wearing uncomfortable shoes can be a major distraction. Wear comfy shoes and you'll be able to whiz through the store at lightning speeds rather than hobbling about.

Avoid the Counters

If you are in a rush, there's no time for idle chitchat. Avoid the deli or butcher counters, where you'll have to wait in line and then have an entire conversation about what you're looking for. Most things, from fish and meat to cold cuts and cheese, can be found packaged and ready to throw in your shopping cart, so there's no need waste time with unnecessary human interaction.

Leave the Kids at Home

The best way to shop efficiently is to leave the kids at home, if possible, and shop solo. You'll be able to stay focused and won't have to contend with children asking to buy things that aren't on the list or bursting into spontaneous tantrums in the cereal aisle.

Don’t Stop for Samples

There simply isn't enough time! Don't stop and contemplate the different flavors of hummus that are suddenly between you and the produce section. Remember to stick to your list! There will be other trips to the store — trips that are not a race against the clock — so save the sample tasting for those occasions and walk stoically past that tiny table toward the arugula and avocados.

Buy Nonperishables Online

For nonperishable household staples like paper towels, dishwashing liquid and toothpaste, ditch the brick-and-mortar store entirely and buy online instead! That will easily cut the amount of time you spend at the store dramatically. You can even set up automated delivery for things you find yourself buying again and again. If you need something in a hurry, there are lots of different ways to get same-day groceries delivered!

More from The Daily Meal:

America's Best Supermarkets for 2019

21 Great Dishes You Can Make With Supermarket Rotisserie Chicken

20 Ways Supermarkets Trick You Into Spending More Money

15 Grocery Items You Should Stop Buying

35 Grocery Store Items You Should Never Pay Full Price For