DISEASE MANAGEMENT: Tips for making grocery shopping easier


Courtesy of Grace is Sufficient

Who loathes errands like grocery shopping? *spoonie hands fly up* Yep, me too. But there are things you can do to mitigate the negative effects that might come with performing this necessary task.

1. Before you even leave make sure you have enough energy. If necessary, divide the list up into a couple little trips. You know what’s best for your situation, and don’t let anyone else tell you what you “should” do.

2. Try to park near the same spot each time. That way you’ll always know where your car is! And if possible park near a cart corral so it’s easy to drop it off when you’re done.

3. Pick a day that isn’t as crowded. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are better in my area. If you’re not sure what days are less crowded you can always ask an employee. They’ll probably be happy to tell you since it means they don’t have to deal with as many customers at busier times.

4. Always grab a cart instead of those little baskets. Even if you’re running in for three little items the odds are you’ll pass the water or juice and remember you’re running low. Now you’re left trying to lug those heavy extras around with you. Also, the cart is great to help keep your balance and offer a bit more support while walking.

5. If necessary you can get the motorized carts and take them for a drive! Remember you have to get these items in the house and put away once you’re done. A motor cart can help you conserve some energy! Don’t worry what others think – you might feel self-conscious behind the wheel the first few trips, but if anyone says something rude simply tell them, “I have an illness. You can’t see it, but I feel it. Thanks for the concern, though!” Oftentimes a response like that catches those nosy Nellies off-guard and their mouths will be hanging open as you zoom away.

6. Go against the extreme couponers and be brand specific. If I’m looking at 75 bottles of shampoo I’m not going to be able to focus and I’ll get overwhelmed. I find a brand I like and keep buying it. Believe it or not, this also makes couponing easier because you’ll only have to clip the coupons for the products you’ve chosen and it will minimize your coupon work!

7. Use a list that places the items in order according to the aisles at your store. You can make an Excel spreadsheet by store row, adding the products you use most to the template and leaving room for additions. You can even make a notes area for each store row in case there’s a buy one, get one promotion, you have a coupon, etc.

8. Use an easy coupon keeper. I organize mine by aisle number to match with my grocery list. This way when I’m in an aisle and notice a sale I just go to that aisle pocket and check for a coupon to match.

9. Bring a helper if you can. That way if you’re getting too tired to even let go of the cart you’ll have an extra set of arms to grab what you need. They also come in handy if you happen to remember you forgot to put sour cream on your list and it’s eight aisles back! Thank them with a slushee or something – that way they’ll be willing to help again sometime!

10. If you do get sick and just can’t continue don’t beat yourself up. If you see an employee, let them know that you’re sick and have to leave. They’d rather be notified so they can put away the frozen food instead of happening upon a full cart with thawed items that now need trashed. You might even be able to leave the cart there and have someone come get the items for you, especially if you can pay for everything before you leave. Don’t overdo it trying to make things easier on others, but if your groceries are paid for, the store can put the cart somewhere until another person comes to pick them up.

11. Try to arrange items on the conveyor belt according to where they go in the house. That way all the body wash and shampoo are in the same bags so you can just carry that bag to the bathroom. This also helps once you get home. If you’re running on empty by the time you arrive at your house, you can choose to leave things in the car until you gather a bit of strength or till another family member or friend arrives and can grab it for you, since you know you’re not leaving perishables in the car. I don’t remember the last time I carried bottled water, Snapple, etc into the house.

12. Most stores will call someone over to help you get your items to the car if you need the help. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’ve used a motor cart and the store doesn’t allow them to leave the building you can ask the bagger if they’ll grab a cart so you can load the groceries in there to take out to your car. If you need to use the motor cart all the way out to the car let the cashier or bagger know that you have no greater desire at that moment than to follow their rule but you don’t have the strength to walk that far. Leave the option to them. They can let you take the motor cart or carry you.


The upshot? Organization, planning, and not being afraid to ask for help are the keys to getting through tasks like this. And hey, if your local store delivers or allows you to shop online, even better! There are services out there to assist – use them!