6 Tips for Smart and Efficient Shopping

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all fallen victim to going into a store for a certain item(s) and leaving with much more than expected and maybe not even what you came there for in the first place.

It’s such a common occurrence that stores are designed with that in mind. They are set up to distract you as soon as you walk in. There are bursts of heat or cold, depending on the time of year, and the smell of cinnamon during the fall. Pretty sneaky!

Flowers or a bakery at the front of the store are there to make sure that you are in a mindset to buy and enjoy all that the wonderful stores have to offer.

If you are a realist, you might find it a bit ridiculous, but lots of consumers are very pliable in the hands of advertisers!

If you are a romantic, watch out for these advertisements. It’s a little self-explanatory, but ads are only trying to get you to spend more money! It’s pretty crazy the lengths that companies will go to in order to get you to buy things you didn’t want or need or even know about!

However, there are lots of ways to beat those stores and be the smartest and most efficient shopper you can be. If you’d like to know some ways to do that, this is your list!

Write a list!

I cannot stress this one enough. A list is so important, and not just an “I’m a mom and I’m so distracted that I forget everything I’m doing” thing. Though I am a mom and I do forget everything, I would need a list anyways.

For me, writing a list throughout the week of things I run out of, works the best. Trying to sit down last minute to make the grocery list always end up with me leaving something out and not remembering it until we’re driving away from the store.

When I can look in the fridge and cupboards to see what I need it makes the chances of leaving the store without the things I need much smaller.

When I make my list, there are two things that help me immensely when it comes down to actually shopping.

The first is writing the items I need in order of when I will pass them in the store. For example, in Walmart I walk to produce first, since it is one of the first things I see when I walk in the door. So fruits and veggies go first on the list! Can I say first one more time? Then I mentally go through the aisles and write down everything I need.

The second thing that I keep in mind when writing my list is to keep half of the list for non-food items. It helps a ton to keep them separate so it’s easier to read in the store, especially if it is super busy. I simply separate the household purchases from the food, and it cuts my time down significantly.


This one is super simple. Just plan your trip about thirty minutes to an hour after a meal. I always do this anyway because I would rather my two-year-old son be happy and not hangry.

However, it is never a good thing to go into a store hungry. Even if you are going in for two things, don’t go in hungry. You will end up grabbing 4 different options for dinner for one night, plus unhealthy snacks.

Sometimes it happens though, so if and when it happens that way, keep in mind one thing and stick to it. Make it something easy that you will actually want to cook when you get home.

Budget it!

My husband likes to do the budgeting for our family and I like to do the shopping. We’ve found that creates a great balance for our marriage.

I love the fact that my mother raised me very money conscience. She is a professional (like not actually certified, but qualified) penny pincher. I’m glad to say that I’ve inherited this trait.

One of the things we loved to do together, and still do when we visit each other, is going to thrift stores and just browsing, seeing what cool items we can find. Ever since I was a teenager it’s been our thing.

The vast majority of my wardrobe has come from second hand stores and I’m never ashamed to admit it. You can find literally the best brand new clothes from those types of stores. I even found my wedding dress from a second hand store. I didn’t need any alterations, and it was in perfect condition for only $80.00!

So the trick to this is just to set a budget and stick to it! Sometimes when we’ve been really strapped for cash, I will look on the website of the store I want to go to and look at my receipts from past weeks.

I will go through and write down how much everything is that I need to buy. This way I can see the necessities, what they cost, and what other things I can buy.

Buy in bulk! But not more than you’ll use.

This one is a hard thing to learn, especially if you are used to just buying for yourself and now you have extra people to consider. What I like to do is choose to buy in bulk when we have a little extra money.

Every week we go grocery shopping for the daily needs, but once every two months or so we have to purchase things like toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish soap, rice, and other things that are super easy to buy in bulk.

For tighter budget weeks/months, take what you need for that week, unless it will save you money next week. Most weeks, I can make groceries stretch for about 1 ½ -2 weeks. Produce is a little tricky, but bananas are typically the only thing I’ll need sooner than that two week mark.

Meal plan!

Let me start off by saying that I am not a meal planner. I don’t make massive meals and then save them to put in the fridge. If I have more kids in the future, that would probably change, but for now, I prefer to not have the same two meals for a whole week. I just can’t find that sustainable for me, personally.

However, what I really try to keep in mind is what kinds of meals I like to cook and what base ingredients I will need to make those meals.

I usually have my staples like rice, cereal, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, and pasta. Then I figure out what I want to spice those things up. I grab some veggie chik’n nuggets and tofu, and any extra ingredients I need to make my favorite chinese stir fry, which will be posted very soon! I get lots of other things too, but that is the gist of my list. Poet. That’s me.


It’s not what you think; BRING YOUR OWN BAGS! Bring canvas bags. Bring freezer bags. Most importantly, bring your leftover bags!

I know that my house collects grocery bags so quickly, I need to recycle bags pretty frequently. It’s super convenient, too, that places like Walmart and Target have areas that you can take those bags back.

It’s so important that all those bags get to a place that they can actually be taken care of. You can’t put them amongst other recyclables because it messes up the process of sorting. They definitely shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. Our generation should know better than any other previous one the dangers of pollution and landfills including plastics.

Final thoughts

All in all, these tips go hand in hand with each other. I really tend to do my grocery shopping with all these things in mind, save the bring your own bags one. That one I forget a lot. Haha

We all start somewhere, right?

This was a fun article for me to write, and I really enjoy sharing some of my tips and tricks for the way I shop. If you’d like to see more pieces like this, sign up for our email list and leave a comment down below to give us some feedback. You can also contact us through our social media!

Happy shopping!


About The Author…

Briggy (Brigetta) Jones is an easy-going, art loving boy mom and dog mom. She loves to make music with her trusty guitar, create art, cook vegan food, and write. She enjoys going to farmers markets and exploring the city of Dallas with her husband. Briggy joined The Quiet Nonsense team to focus her skills and passions into a platform to engage with her readers in a personal way. One day she hopes to have her artwork displayed all over the world.

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Photo and graphic credit: Erin

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