How to Grocery Shop Faster Than Ever (Plus a Free Grocery Shopping List!)

Use our shopping insights, and you’ll be in and out of the grocery store faster than you can say “double coupons.”

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The average time spent grocery shopping—not including time spent getting to and from the store—is 41 minutes, according to Time Use Institute. Whoa! That’s nearly an hour picking up bananas, bread and ground beef.  I would rather spend my time cooking (or eating breakfast for dinner), so I like to find ways to shop quickly.

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Make a List

To finish the chore fast, the key is having a well-organized grocery shopping list and a plan of action.

Download Your Grocery Shopping List Template

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Woman with notebook in grocery store, closeupsergiophoto/Shutterstock

Coordinate Your Meal Plan

I actually make two lists: a healthy meal plan and a grocery list. I start building my grocery list around the staples we’ll need for the week, and then I add any special ingredients we’ll need for the meals on our meal plan.

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sale, shopping, food, consumerism and people concept - woman with basket buying pomelo at grocery store; Shutterstock ID 558274159; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeSyda Productions/Shutterstock

Organize Foods by Department

This will speed up your shopping like nothing else—and our free printable will definitely help! Your grocery list should have “apples” and “bananas” next to “lettuce,” and “milk” and “yogurt” should be in the same column. (You get the idea.) This keeps you on track, and you won’t have to circle back to pick up peanut butter when you’re already in the frozen foods.

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Woman at supermarket pushing a shopping cart filled with fresh fruit and vegetables.Stokkete/Shutterstock

Follow the Same Path

Every week, your grocery shopping should follow the same well-worn path. I’m not sure if there’s science behind this, but I feel like when I follow the same routine, I can set myself to autopilot. My subconscious brain will help me remember to grab oatmeal as I’m walking past the cereal aisle!

(Grocery stores count on you taking the same path, too.)

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clipping abstract discount couponigor kisselev/Shutterstock

Double-Check Your Coupons

I like to compare my coupons to my grocery list before I leave for the store. I mark anything on my list that has a coupon with an asterisk, and then paperclip any coupons to my shopping list. It means I’m not fumbling for paper coupons in the checkout lane, or running back to pick up a coupon item I forgot.

Keep in mind—your grocery store may offer special perks!

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Customer Giving Packet To Cashier At Checkout CounterTyler Olson/Shutterstock

Shop on Wednesdays

Really, as long as you shop any day that’s not Saturday or Sunday, you won’t get caught in the crowd and your checkout speed will be faster. Bonus: Lots of weekly sales start on Wednesday, and that’s usually double-coupon day, too.

With the right shopping list, plus our insights and a bit of luck, you should be in and out of the grocery store in 20 minutes! Make sure you know all 10 of our secret shopping tips before you go.

Lara Eucalano
Lara is a writer, editor and gardener who loves to cook almost as much as she loves to eat. She will absolutely hop on a plane in search of good food!