The dreaded day is coming up quickly. You have been out of bananas for several days. You are using the last of the fresh vegetables for dinner tonight. The milk is running low, the bread is just a bag of crumbs now, and you can hear an echo when you call into the fridge–you need to go grocery shopping. I know it’s hard to hear, but it’s time, Mama. You know that you can’t hodgepodge together one more meal from the pantry and freezer (cause there is nothing there!). Put on a brave face, get the car keys, and grab the kids. Don’t worry. We know that you’ve got this.
Does that sound eerily familiar? As if grocery shopping wasn’t a job in and of itself, but if when you have to lug the little ones along with you, it can quickly turn into a nightmare! It’s time to alleviate the stress and trauma that shopping with children often brings, and check out these amazing grocery store hacks for moms! They will surely make your grocery shopping experience less of a mission impossible and more of a breezy outing.
Grocery Store Hacks to Make Mom’s Life Easier
If you are anything like me, going to the grocery store can bring on a load of panic and stress. All of the noise, the people, the bright store lights, it can be overwhelming to some. But, throw in a kid or two and you’re sure to feel the weight of stress before you even step foot in the building. Don’t worry! Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. Really! We promise that these awesome and fun and awesome grocery store hacks will make your life easier and your grocery trip more enjoyable!
1. Be Intentional Where You Park
Okay, so the first thing that you need to know is that where you park is crucial in making your shopping trip go smoothly. Even though it seems like it would be easier, there is no need for you to park by the entrance. Instead, be sure to park closest to a cart corral. This will allow you to put your kiddos immediately in a cart instead of having to chase them down in a crowded parking lot. And when you come out, you don’t have to worry about packing the kiddos to put the cart back (because FYI, it is actually illegal in some states to leave the kids in the car to return the cart if it’s more than X feet away).
2. Pool Noodle Handle
The worst thing about carts at the store is the germs! Especially when you have little ones that like to touch everything and then put their dirty little hands in their mouth. Or worse…they like to put their mouths on the handle. YUCK! But, we have a brilliant tip that will keep kids from getting those germ buggies all over their hands and mouth. Just put a cut pool noodle over the germ-infested cart handle and VOILA! You now have a germ-free handle. And guess what? It even doubles as a safety bumper, too!
3. Stay on Track
It is so easy to lose track of what you came for when you go to the grocery store. If you have to bring little ones with you, their non-stop chatter, babbling, or heaven forbid, crying, can make it all the more difficult to stay on track. But, we have a couple of handy tips that will make it much easier for you!
- Make a list BEFORE you leave the house (sounds simple, but so many people do not do this!)
- Don’t forget to take the list with you! (It might be helpful to create the list on your phone!)
- Stay on track and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store to avoid snacks and sweets (and pleas for snacks and sweets!)
Seriously folks, make a list and use the list! Not only will it save you time and stress, but it will also save you money if you’re sticking to a budget!
4. Buy Pre-cut Meat
This is a tip that won’t necessarily help while you are at the store, but it will definitely help you when it comes to supper time! You’ll spend less time preparing your meal if you simply ask butchers to trim the fat and cut meat into usable portions before purchasing!
5. Save Space in the Cart
Even having one kid along can take up precious space in your cart. You want to make sure you are leaving enough space for what you are purchasing that day.
- If your child is old enough to walk, have them walk.
- If they aren’t old enough, try using a baby carrier so you can keep them close, but have your arms and cart free! Tip: This also prevents strangers from trying to touch your little one’s face (creepy much?)
- Don’t waste valuable cart space with your purse or diaper bag, tie it to the cart handle with a plastic bag from the produce section
If you are buying food for a large family, then having plenty of space in the cart is a MUST-HAVE!
6. Keep the Little Ones Occupied
If your little one gets bored easily, then you may want to come up with some ways to keep them occupied during your grocery run.
- Keep a few special items in your bag that only come out during the grocery store
- Bring a book
- Let them bring a special toy or stuffed animal in
- Play “I spy” with them as you walk through the aisles
Whatever you choose to do, make it fun and simple!
7. Snack Necklace
If you have to go to the store around snack or mealtime, then you definitely want to take some kind of snack for your kiddo to enjoy while they’re waiting. Because we all know how hard it is to go into a grocery store hungry! Right? Try making them a cheerio necklace to avoid embarrassing snack spills.
8. Make One Trip
This one can be tricky but to make your shopping experience stress-free and easy on your child and you, try to keep it to one store and one trip. Don’t put pressure on yourself to skimp on items that you need in order to use the express lane–statistically, the wait is the same as the regular line anyway so you might as well get everything you need in one go! This keeps you from having to come back to the store in a couple of days.
9. Keep Cold Items Together
Here’s another grocery shopping tip that will help you at the store and at home! Make sure that you keep your frozen and cold items together, that way you will know to unload those first. You can bring your own bag to put the frozen items or ask that the cashier to put them together for you.
10. Easy Haul
If you’re like me, you will load your arms from the wrist to the shoulder if it means making one trip from your car to your home. Right? Well, this hack is so simple that you won’t believe that you didn’t think of it first! To make hauling your groceries easier, keep a laundry basket in the trunk of your car. I mean, it’s pretty genius!
11. Organize Your Kitchen
Grocery shopping isn’t just about going to the store. It’s also about coming home, unloading, and putting groceries away…all while your little ones are hanging onto your arms like monkeys. Okay, maybe they aren’t THAT bad. The point is, in order to make the entire day go smoother, you should be sure that your fridge and pantries are organized BEFORE going shopoing.
One way that you can do that is by dedicating a bin in the fridge to foods that need to be eaten soon. This allows you to see what items you need and don’t need, while not being wasteful.
12. Be Smarter Than the Soda
Unpacking soda can seem daunting. But, with this tip, it will only take seconds! Just open both ends of your 12-pack of canned soda and push it through on the fridge shelf. Every can of soda is out of the box in no time flat!
13. Binder Clips and Freezer Bags
If you have room in your freezer, then try using binder clips to hang open freezer bags from the shelf in the freezer. This will keep your frozen items fresh and from getting freezer burnt, while also allowing you to easily sort through which items you need and don’t need.
14. Prep Your Kids
While all of these tips and hacks are great, they will be more successful if you do one thing beforehand. Prepare your kids for the day. Let them know what you plan on doing and where you plan on going. This is also the time to lay down ground rules (depending on age) and let them know what will and won’t be tolerated.
Tips and Hacks to Help Moms Survive Their Grocery Store Trips
Yes, going out in public with little ones can be a bit stressful and even frightening sometimes. However, with these tips and hacks, any mom (or dad!) can survive their much-needed grocery store trip.
And there you have it–grocery hacks for moms! Shop on, Mama friends, fill your pantry and feed your people like a pro!
Are you looking for more mom hacks and organization tips? Then you’ll love these:
- 18 Pantry Organization Ideas That Your Kitchen Will Love
- Back to School Hacks Moms Will Love
- 15 Kool-Aid Hacks Every Mom Should Know
- 15 Stroller Hacks Every Mom Needs to Know