Inspired by Retire By 40’s “Do You Feel Guilty Over Impulse Purchases“, I thought I’d explain how Mrs. Pennypacker and I shop for groceries. We don’t like spending a whole lot of time in stores. Our goal is typically to get in and out as fast as possible. So, to ensure a speedy and successful shopping mission, we make a list and plan out the most efficient route through the store. Now, we don’t normally keep track of exactly how long it takes, so yesterday we decided to get the stop watch app out and see how fast we could do it.
Wal-Mart was the target for the day’s grocery shopping operation. Mrs. Pennypacker guessed we could do it in 15 minutes. That seemed a little fast to me, but I kept my mouth shut and pressed the start button on my phone. Mrs. Pennypacker manned the cart going after most of what we needed, while I shuttled back and forth between the cart and various aisles around the store grabbing miscellaneous items like yogurt and tea. It was going well; we were close to done; we just needed to pick the right checkout lane. We pushed past the first few lanes and settled on a winner – a reasonably fast cashier halfway through a moderate stash of food staples. A few minutes later, we were out the door.
Our time was 13 minutes, 19 seconds. We tracked it from the moment we grabbed a cart to the minute we exited the store. Now, before you say, “Impossible!”, keep in mind this was 9:30 on a Sunday morning – not exactly rush-hour. We also don’t do all our grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, so it wasn’t like our cart was overflowing. Next time we’ll have to see if we can get it done faster.
I floated the idea of splitting our grocery list in half and competing against each other, but Mrs. Pennypacker usually does the cooking and the Wal-Mart shopping. She pointed out, that I wouldn’t know what brand, or how much of each item to get. Great point. She’d easily beat me.
Either way, if your household can find a way to make grocery shopping fast and fun, you might find you make less impulse buys and do a better job keeping your budget in check.
Do you ever make a game out of grocery shopping?