40 Shopping Tips To Get You Out Of The Grocery Store Faster

Woman grocery shopping

It is no secret that the grocery store can be a frustrating place. You battle through long lines, crowds of people, and seemingly endless aisles just to get your food for the week. You may even think of ways to get out of the grocery store faster.

Grocery shopping doesn't have to be a tedious chore. By planning, preparing yourself, and keeping a few things in mind, you can make your grocery store trips more efficient and faster. Even time-saving options are available if you are willing to put in a little extra effort.

This blog post will discuss simple tips and tricks to help you get what you need and be on your way as quickly as possible. Let’s get started!


One of the most effective ways to cut down your time at the grocery store is to plan. This means you should know what you need before going to the store. Here are some things that you can do in your next grocery store visit to help you save time:

1. Check for Deals and Discounts Beforehand

Smartphone app showing grocery discount

When shopping, it is too easy to get caught up in buying things that are on sale or look like a good deal, which wastes time and can cost you more money. To avoid this, check for deals and discounts before heading to the store.

By visiting the store's website or weekly circular before your scheduled visit, you can plan your trip around these deals and take advantage of them. This will help you list what you need to buy and stick to it at the store.

2. Make a List

Woman holding a grocery list

A complete list of things to buy before you step foot in the store will save you from wasting time walking up and down the aisles trying to remember what else you need. It will also help you stay on budget and avoid impulse purchases.

Start your list with the essentials to get them out of the way first. This way, if you're running low on time, you can make sure to grab the items that you need most and then worry about the rest later.

3. Be Specific

When making your list, try to be as detailed as possible. For example, instead of "chips," specify the type or brand of chips you want. This will help avoid any confusion while you are at the store. Also, include the items’ sizes or exact quantities on your list so you won’t have to guess how much you need.

Being specific will save time and money because you won't be buying things you don't need. It can also help you avoid making multiple trips to the store.

4. Organize Your List By Category

Organizing your list by category is one of the best ways to get out of the grocery store faster. It helps you stay on track and ensure that you hit all the store sections in an efficient order. 

Start with the essentials like meat, produce, and dairy, then move on to other items like household goods, toiletries, and snacks. If you have listed many items, it may help to make a second list of non-essentials.

5. Categorize by Aisle

Lady in a grocery aisle

In addition to categorizing your list, spend time organizing it by grouping items by aisle. This will help you plan your route through the store, and you don't miss anything.

For example, if you need some items from the produce, meat, and dairy sections, you can group those and hit them all at once. This way, you can avoid running back and forth between different store sections, saving you time and energy.

6. Prepare a Menu for the Week

Healthy Food and Meal Plan

Before making your shopping list, examine the menu you have planned for the week. This will help you take inventory of what you already have and what you need to replenish. 

By preparing a meal plan, you can be sure that you are only buying the ingredients you need rather than wasting money on items you won't use or will go bad before you can use them. Also, if you have a specific menu, you are less likely to impulse buy items you don't need.

7. Have a Budget in Mind

To help you stick to your budget and avoid overspending, list the items you need and their approximate prices before you go to the store.

It's easy to get carried away grocery shopping. But if you have a budget in mind, you know how much you are willing to spend on groceries, and you can avoid wasting time browsing the shelves for items that are out of your price range.

8. Plan Your Route Through the Store

Grocery store aisle

If you have visited the store before, you probably have a pretty good idea of where everything is. Just remember to note any layout or product placement changes so you can adjust your course accordingly.

If you're shopping at a grocery store for the first time, looking at a store map may be helpful before you go in. This way, you can familiarize yourself with the layout before you start shopping. Many stores also have maps available online, or you can ask an employee for a store map when you enter.

If possible, try a quick lap of the store before you start shopping to get an idea of where everything is. If you have the time, you can visit a few times before you do your actual shopping to get to know the layout.

9. Check Your Local Store's App

Supermarket mobile phone shopping app

Grocery apps are becoming increasingly popular and for good reasons! They can help you keep track of your list and budget. They can even assist you in finding coupons for items that you may need.

Most grocery apps list prices for items so you can compare them and find the best deal. If you know the prices ahead of time, you can budget your expenses better and make sure you do not overspend.

Some shopping apps can store your grocery list so you can access it from your phone while shopping. Other apps can even store the prices automatically and add them up for you, allowing you to see how much you spend as you shop.

10. Take Advantage of Call-Ahead Services

Call-ahead service is great if you know what you need and do not want to browse the store shelves. It is especially helpful if you are short on time, have a large order, or do not want to deal with the crowd.

Many stores offer call-ahead services and are usually pretty easy to use. You simply call the store ahead of time and place your order. They will then have it ready, and you can pick it up at a designated time.

11. Avoid Peak Hours

People waiting in the checkout line in a supermarket

Shopping during off-peak times means fewer crowds, short checkout lines, and prime parking spots. By giving your schedule a tweak and shopping at random times throughout the week, you can help make your grocery store trips quicker and less stressful. 

The best time to go shopping is usually mid-morning or mid-afternoon during weekdays when it is not as busy. You can also use Google Maps' Popular Times feature to see the ideal shopping time at your local grocery store to plan your trip accordingly.

12. Check Last Week's Receipt

Grocery receipts

Make it a habit to check your previous week's receipt before heading to the grocery store to see which items you used. You'd be surprised how often you go to the store and buy things you think you need but never use.

Looking at your last grocery store receipt will help you track your spending and consumption. It will allow you to make more informed decisions on what you need to buy and be an excellent reference when making future lists.

Prepare Yourself

Another way to make your grocery shopping trip more efficient is to mentally and physically prepare yourself before leaving the house. Whether it is wearing comfortable clothes and shoes, being prepared will help you save time in the long run.

13. Dress for the Occasion

Young man shopping for groceries in comfortable clothes

It may seem like a small detail, but wearing comfortable clothes can make a big difference when trying to move quickly through the store. 

Sporting a shirt that is easy to move in will help you feel more relaxed. Wearing shoes that won't hurt your feet after a long day of walking is also important. You don't want to stop and rest every few minutes because you are in pain, right? Additionally, bringing your reading glasses can be helpful if you need to read labels with small prints.

14. Be Prepared Mentally

Man happily doing his grocery shopping

Being prepared mentally can help you stay focused on your grocery list and avoid getting sidetracked by things you don't need. It can also help you to be more patient when waiting in line or dealing with a difficult customer.

If you feel stressed or rushed, you tend to make mistakes and are more likely to forget items on your list. So take a deep breath and relax before heading to the store.

15. Eat Before You Go

Shopping with an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. When hungry, we tend to make impulse purchases that we later regret. We are also more likely to give in to cravings for unhealthy foods. So make sure to go grocery shopping with a full belly.

Shop Smarter

While in the store, you can do a few things to save time. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

16. Shop Alone

Woman picking fruits in the grocery store

It may not always be possible, but if you can, shopping alone is one of the best ways to get out of the grocery store faster. It means you can make decisions more quickly and without outside influence.

Another benefit of shopping alone is that you can be more focused. When you are with someone else, you may find yourself chatting and not paying attention to what you are supposed to be doing. It can lead to missing items on your list or forgetting what you need altogether.

17. One Store At a Time

Trying to do all your shopping in one trip can be tempting if you need items from more than one store. However, hitting multiple stores will usually take longer and more challenging.

It is best to go to each store separately to focus on finding what you need without getting caught up in other items. This will help you avoid running around from place to place, saving you time and energy in the long run.

18. Park Your Car Close to the Entrance

Woman putting groceries in the car

One of the simplest ways to get out of the grocery store faster is to park your car strategically. This means parking it as close to the store entrance as possible. It can be a huge time saver as you won't have to walk a long way to the store and can start your shopping trip immediately.

Consequently, parking close to the store entrance allows you to get back in your car quickly after you finish shopping without walking a long distance. This will save you energy, especially if you have a lot of groceries to carry.

19. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Remember, the goal is to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. So, avoid spending too much time agonizing over small decisions. If you can't decide between two products, just pick one and move on.

If you see an item that you need but is out of stock, don't waste time looking for it elsewhere in the store. Just put it on the list for your next shopping trip.

20. Stick to the List

Woman holding a grocery list while shopping

It can be tempting to wander around the store, looking at all the shiny new products. However, this will just waste time and probably cost you more money.

So before you enter the store, take out your list and commit to only buying the items on it. While you're shopping, stick to that list as much as possible. It will help you stay focused on the essentials and get out of the store faster.

21. Put Your Phone on Silent Mode

Woman busy with her phone while shopping in a grocery store

It is easy to get distracted by your phone when you are shopping. You may be looking for a recipe and end up on social media or receiving a text that you just can't resist checking. But this can quickly turn into a time-wasting rabbit hole.

To avoid this, put your phone on silent mode before entering the store. This way, you can focus on shopping and finish it sooner.

22. Know Your Brands and Be Loyal to Them

Man comparing two brands of beer

Maybe you are loyal to a brand of cereal or coffee or prefer organic produce. Whatever you prefer, stick to it.

Brand loyalty will help you narrow your choices and make decisions more quickly. You won't be standing in the middle of the aisle trying to decide between two products that are basically the same.

23. Stick to the Perimeter

Woman shopping along the grocery store's perimeter

The grocery store's perimeter is where you will find the freshest food, like produce, meat, and dairy. And if you're looking to eat healthier, this is where you will find most of the items on your shopping list.

The grocery store's perimeter also ranks as the easiest and quickest section to navigate. Plus, the center aisles are where all processed and frozen foods are located in the center aisles. Sticking to the perimeter will save time and money by avoiding the temptation of unhealthy snacks and junk food.

24. Play Some Music

Grocery stores play slow, relaxing music to encourage shoppers to take their time and browse the aisles. If you find this type of music soothing, by all means, enjoy it. But if you want to get out of the store as quickly as possible, it is best to bring your tunes.

Listening to fast-paced music will help you move faster and stay focused on your grocery list. Also, when you find yourself getting frustrated while grocery shopping, playing some music can help relax your mind and lift your spirits. So grab a pair of headphones and cue your favorite playlist!

25. Keep Track of the Prices

Using your list, you can record the prices of the items as you put them in your cart. It will help you track the money you are spending and whether or not you are staying within your budget.

Tracking the prices can also help you with overspending in the future. If the price of an item goes up and you find that you're not using it as much, you can skip it and simply jump to the next item on your list.

26. Leave Your Cart and Come Back

Shopping cart left at the corner of a grocery store

Using a shopping cart is inevitable if you have many items to buy. In such cases, it may be faster to leave your cart while doing your shopping. Just do a quick lap around one section to grab all of the items you need, and come back for it when you're finished.

Leave your cart near your section’s entrance and avoid parking it in the middle of the aisle to prevent blocking traffic. This will save you time because you won’t have to keep stopping and starting as you move through the store. Also, you won't have to worry about maneuvering a big cart through a busy crowd.

27. Skip the Coupons

Woman with coupons, money, and groceries

Coupons can be a great way to save money. It may seem like a good idea to use them when shopping, but often they can take up a lot of time. If you're not careful, you can spend hours clipping coupons and finding the best deals to save a few cents.

If you want to leave the store as fast as possible, it is best to skip the coupons and head straight for the items you need. You can always come back and use them another time, or you can look for deals online before you go to the store.

Coupons can also be tricky to use, and some stores do not accept them. If you are unfamiliar with using coupons, it is best to avoid them altogether. It's probably not worth the hassle, especially if you're short on time.

Another disadvantage of using coupons is that they can sometimes encourage you to purchase things you wouldn't normally do, which can be counterproductive if you try to stick to your budget.

28. Bring Reusable Bags

Woman carrying a reusable bag with groceries

You can simply put your items in your reusable bags as you go without having to worry about getting a plastic or paper bag at the end. It is good for the environment and will help you shop faster and move through the store more easily. Some stores even offer discounts if you bring your own bags.

Grocery stores typically have a limited number of bags, so if there are many people in the store, you may have to wait for a bag. This can add valuable minutes to your trip.

Additionally, reusable bags are typically easier to carry and can hold more items than plastic bags. This means you can make fewer trips back and forth in your car.

29. Ditch the Cart

Cart in the grocery store

Using a shopping cart is usually more convenient. It allows you to carry more items at once and frees up your hands. However, pushing the cart around can slow you down if you are in a hurry, especially if it's crowded.

If you have a small load, consider ditching the cart and carrying your items in a basket instead. It will help you move through the store more quickly and avoid unnecessary obstacles.

Whenever possible, bring your reusable bags and carry your items in them instead. Reusable bags can accommodate more items than a traditional shopping basket.

30. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Customer service staff helping shoppers

If you need help finding an item or want to ask a question, do not hesitate to approach one of the store employees. They are there to assist shoppers and make sure everyone has a positive experience.

So the next time you can't find something, ask a store employee for help. They will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. By asking for assistance, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

31. Be Friendly With the Employees

Shopper chatting with a supermarket employee

Employees typically know the ins and outs of the store so that they can give you valuable information. Additionally, they may be able to tell you about any sales or deals that are currently going on. They can even give tips on the best time to come in so you can avoid long lines.

If you are a regular customer, some store workers may start to recognize you and go out of their way to help you. Some may even hold items for you if they know you are running short on time.

Check Out Faster

It is time to check out when you are done filling up your cart! This is where things can get a bit tricky and take more time than necessary. You want to be careful of a few things to get out of the grocery store as quickly as possible.

32. Use Self-Checkout

Man using the self-checkout counter

Self-checkout is a great option if you have a small purchase. You can scan and bag your groceries without waiting in line for a cashier. Plus, it is usually faster than the regular checkout lanes.

Of course, self-checkout is not always an option. But if it is, give it a try next time you're in the grocery store! Remember that alcohol, tobacco, and other items may not be available for self-checkout.

33. Pick an Efficient Checkout Counter

If you're not using a self-checkout line, look at the different checkout counters and choose the one that looks to be moving faster, not the one with the shortest line. If all lines seem to be moving at the same pace, go for the one with the fewest people.

When checking out, we tend to skip the longest line or the one with a shopper who has an overflowing cart, thinking it will take forever. However, this is not always the case. You can pick the shortest line, but if the cashier is new or taking their time, you will be stuck in line no matter what.

The key here is to observe the people behind the counters and how they do their job. You want to pick a lane with a checker and bagger who work efficiently and quickly. It is one of the surest ways to get out of the grocery store faster.

34. Check the Customer Service Area

Store register with shoppers checking out

If all counters are busy and the lines are too long, go to the customer service area. The staff can help you complete your purchase on a cash register and bag your groceries. They can even assist you in loading the bags into your vehicle.

The staff can page the manager if they don't have a cash register in the customer area. The manager will then open a new register for you. This usually happens during busy hours or when all lanes are backed up.

35. Pay Attention When Checking Out

Store register with shoppers checking out

While in the line, be mindful of the person in front of you. If they take a long time or have trouble with their purchase, you might want to consider switching lanes.

Also, be aware of your items and have them ready when it is your turn. This will help you move through the line quickly and not hold up the people behind you. Once the cashier is scanning your items, pay attention to the total and ensure everything was run correctly to avoid mistakes or missed items.

36. Pay with Cash

When you use cash, you are more likely to stick to your budget because you can physically see the money leaving your hands. It can help you resist temptation and make better choices about what you purchase.

Another advantage of paying for your groceries with cash is that it usually speeds up the transaction. You don't need to wait for the cashier to process your credit or debit card.

37. Bag Your Own Groceries

Woman bagging her groceries at a supermarket checkout

If the store is busy and there is no bagger, ask the cashier if you can bag your groceries. They will usually appreciate the gesture and be happy to let you do this.

This will help the cashier move along faster and get you out of the store sooner. Plus, using fewer plastic bags is an excellent way to be more eco-friendly.

More Grocery Time-Saving Hacks

There are other ways to make grocery shopping more efficient, whether ordering ahead of time or shopping online. Choose the best option that suits your shopping needs, and start saving time today.

38. Buy in Bulk

Woman buying tissue paper in bulk

It may not be an option for everyone, but bulk buying is worth considering if you have ample storage space. Instead of going to the store multiple times per week, try one big shopping trip and buy your staples in bulk once a month. This will save you time and gas money in the long run.

Bulk buying is especially helpful and cost-effective if you have a large family or live far from the store. You can usually get a discount when you purchase items in bulk, which is preferable when buying non-perishable items such as rice, pasta, cereal, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.

39. Shop Online

Many stores now offer online ordering with in-store pickup or home delivery. This is especially useful if you cannot go to the store yourself or do not have a lot of time to shop.

You can order your groceries online ahead of time and have them delivered right to your doorstep. It is a convenient option for those who don't want to deal with the crowds at the store.

40. Try Subscription Services

Grocery delivery courier at home

If you find yourself running out of time to shop, you may want to consider signing up for a subscription service. It is ideal for people who have busy lifestyles or live in areas with no grocery stores nearby. These services will deliver your groceries regularly, so you don't have to worry about running out of food.

When using a subscription service, there are a few things to remember, such as the cost and the delivery schedule. But if you find one that works for you, it can be a great way to save time on shopping.


Supermarket runs can be time-consuming and frustrating. But with the many ways to get out of the grocery store faster, you can make shopping a breeze. Whether you use a grocery delivery service or simply plan ahead of time, you can easily shave minutes—even hours—off of your next grocery trip.

Do you have other tips on getting out of the grocery store faster? Share them in the comments below!

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