Shopping is a science. There are many things to keep in mind while shopping, to cut down on the amount of time needed to complete a successful foray, without spending Junior’s college fund on the three bags of groceries you put in the trunk.
First and foremost, I’m sure your mother told you time and time again (at least mine did): never shop hungry. Shopping hungry sets you up for impulse buys. Always eat a snack before you go. If you are bringing anyone with you (spouse or child), make sure they are fed as well.
The best time of day to shop is just that – the day. Early mornings are awesome, though when I walk in with my kids still in pajamas, I do get some strange looks. Or maybe that’s because of my pajamas.
I know that daytime doesn’t work for most people. I have stopped at the local grocery store around the dinner hour and been simply amazed at the sheer number of people rushing to grab that last minute item they need to make supper for their family waiting at home. Phew!
The second best time of day to shop? After the dinner hour. Everyone who was rushing through the store just a couple of hours earlier is now home enjoying their family, or doing dishes. The store is typically less crowded and it’s easier to maneuver through the aisles and actually see the shelves. The lines to the checkout are far shorter and even nonexistent at this hour.
I also try midweek shopping, but that all depends on when the new sales flyers come out. Hitting the store on the day the sale starts will ensure you can take advantage of it, but you also won’t be he only person who thinks of this.
In addition, shopping alone is a wonderful thing. While this may not always be practical, it’s far more enjoyable and inexpensive when my children stay home. I am better able to focus on what it is I’m looking for, organize my coupons, use my coupons, and not spend the time breaking up minor squabbles amongst siblings, and saying for the thousandth time, “No, you cannot have pop tarts.” It definitely leaves me less frazzled. However, I sometimes do look a bit crazy as I mumble and grumble to myself about the high cost of everything.
Then again my ideal shopping trip does not always happen. I have been known to shop with children and I have developed a few tips to help them … um, I mean, me … survive.
First, I lay out the ground rules before even walking through the door. They know that their best behavior is expected. Second, I’m not above bribing them. An extra three to four dollars at the checkout for a special treat is worth my sanity in the store. Third, be prepared to remove unruly children (only yours) from the store for a little talk in the vehicle before either venturing back in or making plans to go another time – without kids. Make sure they understand this possibility as well. You might have to do it once to show them that you mean business.
Whatever time of day you shop, be sure to head in with a plan. Say Mmm can help with this. A few extra dollars in your pocket to bribe the kids wouldn’t hurt either.