This past August I made a huge switch. Like changed my life kind of switch. I switched to Bi-Lo.
Yes, now you think I am crazy. Or REALLY easily satisfied.
The truth is, I switched my entire grocery shopping philosophy. And I love it. Now my husband is very used to the phrase coming out of my mouth, “I LOVE Bi-Lo! I went to the grocery store and had the best day!” Not a joke. And the truth is, this post isn’t about Bi-Lo, but how one grocery store switch has made me love grocery shopping all over again.
I’ve written about grocery shopping before here, so read that post first. I am going to repeat some of the tips I wrote there, but the truth is that in the past years I had made grocerying a completely practical and unimportant aspect of my life. I was stopping a not-pretty, not-fun grocery store several times a week on the way home from work, just to survive the dinner hour. And then, I would have to stock up again within a day or two. Not fun.
I switched to a nearby Bi-Lo (honestly, the actual store name has little to do with this post – except that my Bi-Lo is awesome!) and immediately found a new grocery experience. Now I look forward to it. I take my time and feel spoiled. I have “me” time. Here are a few tips I have compiled that have made my grocery shopping wonderful again.
Find a store that makes you happy.
This sounds simple. But, every time I went into my old store, I just rushed through because it felt dirty and unpleasant. Now, the produce stands make me happy. The samples are yummy. And the actual store is pretty. I love the local produce and the manger that is so nice every time I am there. Yes, I actually like the actual store. If you don’t like your store, maybe it’s time for a switch.
Find a time of day that the store is quiet.
Because I work from home now, I like to go early afternoon when there is a lull – and the samples are out. I have also heard that another great time is early morning. (In fact, a Publix near me serves free coffee before 10 am. Look for something like that near you!)
Take your time.
I love wandering the aisles and checking out the latest produce. I also love the displays and seeing what’s recently on sale. I don’t do a lot of pleasure shopping in my life, so I sometimes feel I can splurge on a new ingredient when I might not on a new pair of shoes. Explore the international food aisle, and check out the new yogurt flavors. Yes, the Almond Coco Loco is my favorite. (More favorites here.)
Start in the parking lot.
So, I like to park far away from the door so I can get steps in with my Fitbit. I also love parking near a shopping cart collection point so returning my cart is easy. It’s the little things, people.
Find a store that makes saving easy.
I have been amazed with how easy it is to find Bi-Lo sales. When I am not couponing, I still feel like I can get a really good deal! And, I have started loving their gas perks so much. Even when I am not trying, I am saving money. I get surprised every time.
Shop with your friends.
So, this is a total girl thing. When I walked in the morning every morning with my neighbor, we would talk about our dinner ideas, and what we got at the store. And, it was super thrilling when we bumped into each other at the store. Also, sometimes a friend and I have just taken little afternoon excursions to the store to get ingredients for our separate dinners. For some reason it is way more fun to make it a social experience.
Make it “you” time.
Grocery with a cup of coffee. Drop your kids off with a friend first. Buy a new shampoo. Sometimes, that’s all we need to feel back on top of the world :).
So, I love couponing and shopping sales, but I also love buying a gut reaction item. Sometimes the sample they are cooking at the front just smells so good – and I buy it right then and there, no questions asked. Some of my favorite meals have been ideas on the whim that I just go for – even if it means buying more expensive food than I would normally purchase.
See the store through the eyes of a child.
Or, in my case, my husband’s eyes. He loves every dessert, every fun cereal, and makes shopping fun. Instead of being practical all the time, grab a box of donuts or the Christmas Crunch cereal (yes, super sugary but total kid!). Life’s way too short. Along that note, buy gifts and treats for people. I LOVE surprising my husband with things I buy just for him. Little sercies are way more fun to give than get.
Sometimes I bring in two reusable grocery bags only allow myself to fill them up, no more. Sometimes I walk around with a calculator and don’t let myself go over $50. Sometimes I buy two frozen lasagnas and do an experiment comparing the two over the next few weeks. Sometimes I only buy produce and meat and make myself shop my own pantry at home for the rest. You get the idea. Make yourself a challenge. Shop with your eyes open. Be fully engaged. Have fun! Please share your favorite grocery shopping tips below! I’d love to hear your ideas.