How much time do you spend shopping each year? Apparently, the average American shopper spends over 11 hours per week making purchases. While the typical household makes an incredible 500 trips a year to the shops. That is a lot of time. If you would rather spend less time at the shops then consider these time saving shopping tips:
1. Learn to shop like a ‘satisfier’ (and not a ‘maximiser’)A ‘maximiser’ shopper must search and search until they find the best value deal. On the other hand, a ‘satisfier’ shopper spends less time shopping by being content with finding products that are reasonably priced. If you want to spend less time shopping then shop like a satisfier.
2. Plan ahead and reduce the number of shop visitsThink about all the time involved in replenishing the stock at home - driving, parking, shopping, transactions, packing, unpacking, etc. The number of shop visits can be reduced by – bulk buys to reduce the number of replenishments (e.g. – buy enough cereal to last a few months); buying quality and longer lasting goods (e.g. – long life batteries, products with longer warranties); check items are in stock before leaving home; and batching your shop visits (e.g. – making one multi-purpose trip to the shops instead of say three independent visits).
3. On-line shoppingThe internet allows us to shop for a wide variety of products without the time sacrifice of travelling to and from the shops. On-line services can provide home (or work) delivery.
4. Outsource, delegate or share your shoppingCan someone else do the shopping for you? Perhaps you could hire a personal shopper to research and buy goods for you. Perhaps another household member could do the shopping. In our household my wife loves to do the shopping and I am happy for her.
5. Shop at non-peak timesIf you shop in non-peak times you can save time due to easier parking and shorter queues. If you want to know the best times to avoid – use the following as an indicator (based on US figures):
- The busiest shopping days are Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- The busiest shopping time during weekdays is late afternoon.
- On weekends the peak time is between 10am to 3:30pm.
6. Give gift vouchersLets face it - how often do we give or receive unwanted gifts. It is not hard to figure out why there is a lot of eBay activity after Christmas. There are at least two advantages from using gift vouchers - (i) the receiver gets what they want, and (ii) quick and easy to purchase.
7. Prepare shopping check lists (and stick to them).Shopping without knowing what you need is bound to waste time (and probably result in extra purchases). Consider maintaining two shopping lists – one for regularly purchase items (e.g – milk. and fresh fruit), and another list for adding ad-hoc items that need replenishing. (e.g – light bulbs, detergent).
8. Shop at work.Two ways to save time at work include: (a) Shop in your lunch break – it means one less thing to do when go home; and (b) Consider using a ‘office delivery’ (as opposed to home delivery) service for your groceries and other goods.
9. Stick with brands you trustIt takes time to decide between all the product offering we are bombarded with today. So once you find a brand or product you trust then stick with them.
10. Buy lessHow much time do we spend buying things we don’t really need? Each year billions of dollars are spent on items that rarely if ever get used. I cringe at thinking about all the time and money I have wasted on unnecessary purchases. We could all save time by buying less.
Bonus Tip - Make use of product comparison websitesThese sites take the hard work out of researching and choosing the right product. One of the best is Consumer Search which was included in Time magazine's top 50 websites for 2009.
Do you have any time saving shopping tips? Please let us know by leaving a comment.
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- American Time Use Survey, Purchasing Goods and Services, 2008 figures, http://www.bls.gov/tus/current/purchasing.htm
- Goodman, John. “Who Does the Grocery Shopping, and when do they do it”, Oct 2008, www.timeuseinstitute.org