Why my weekly grocery shopping is a highlight of my week
I practice gratitude for being able to buy myself food
I know that for many people the practice of shopping for groceries on a regular basis is felt to be drudgery. For me it has been much the same until the past few years. I can imagine you readers thinking "No way I'm ever going to see Grocery shopping as fun" as you feel it's only second in misery to having an Audit by the IRS.
But, I assure you with a bit of a change in attitude and some simple practices it can be more pleasant for you.
I think one of the shifts that took place for me was one of finding Gratitude in all things. When I consciously decide to be grateful for having the means to go to the store and purchase items of food and cooking products, the process became much more enjoyable to me.
I personally think that the practice of gratitude in all things is a great first step to finding more satisfaction with all things.
To me you are creating positive karma and asking the universe to provide for you by being appreciative of that which you have or are able to purchase.
So, while it may seem too simple to have any effect I suggest you consider trying this prior to your next shopping excursion. It doesn't have to be a ritual practice or a lengthy prayer; but some sort of conscious appreciation for the food you are about to shop for is a good practice to make a habit of.
For me, this seems to work in abundance. Perhaps my budget is very low for the week, but by being in this grateful "space" I will often find that many of the items on my list are on sale or being sold at a clearance price which enables me to have them when otherwise I might have not been able to allow for their expense.
It also puts me in a positive energy space that is reflected to others and comes back to me. So, even when a store is horribly crowded with rude or pushy people, some how the nicer folks will find their way into my path. It has happened like this enough for me to recognize there is a relationship to my attitude and mood and my shopping experience.
Being prepared for any task is always an asset. Grocery shopping is no different. There are several ways that I prepare for grocery shopping before I even leave my home.
The first thing is I always shop from a list! I actually have a pad with a magnet on the front of my refrigerator and I keep a "running" list going at all times. It is quite helpful for me to be sure to get all that I am needing in one trip to the store by keeping an accurate list.
Before I leave for the store, I review my list and make any last minute additions or subtractions. I will then go online to the web page for the store that I frequent most often and review their ads for the week and any coupons. I can download coupons to my savers card and knowing what is already on special can help me make better choices while shopping that will save me the most money per trip.
I do occasionally still clip coupons and I always review the list to have any coupons that can be used handy. I can't say how many times I've had a coupon for an item I need only to leave the store without remembering to use the coupon! Very frustrating, especially when you have a dollar or more savings!
I know many people feel their time is worth more than saving 50 cents here or a dollar there. To me, every little bit I save adds up to a yearly savings in the hundreds of dollars. So, even though 50 cents at a time doesn't sound like much, it will add up over the course of 52 weeks.
I also like to look over my list as I first enter the store and map out my shopping plan. I like to always save the perishable items for the last for obvious reasons. I think having a mental idea of how you want to make your way through the store is also a way of being more efficient and not making more than one trip to a section of the store.
Yes, that's right, I suggest you have fun when you grocery shop. I can hear you readers now scoffing at this idea thinking "how can shopping for food ever be fun?!" and I'm here to tell you how I make it fun.
I have found that many stores that I frequent for food shopping have pretty trendy music playing. Stores like Trader Joe's and Sprouts to name two that I frequent, have a nice selection of music that is cheerful and up tempo. I find myself singing along, and kind of dancing to the music as I push my cart. It makes my shopping experience a dozen times more pleasurable to enjoy music at the same time.
I realize that not all music will be to your liking, but most people can find something pleasant about having cheerful music as a backdrop to a rather mundane chore.
I also like to shop with my daughter and granddaughter as a way of making the experience more fun. We both have to shop, so we go together and share a cart, or each have our own depending on how much we are buying on a particular outing.
We can both get what we need, enjoy the time together and share the cost of gas in the car by shopping together. It is nice to have a buddy along to share information or just to talk to as we dance our way around the store.
Lastly, I like to visit with people I encounter in the store. I find it really improves my shopping experience when I am able to share a laugh or even discuss a products value with a fellow shopper. Instead of being in a rush with my head down or pushing through the store in a super hurry, I like to pretend I have all the time in the world and make a point of making eye contact and smiling at my fellow shoppers. On a really good outing, we will chat and even have a few laughs.
Just yesterday I was in the Produce department choosing a bunch of scallions and an elderly woman was to my right also selecting a bunch. I commented to her "wow, look how big the tips of these things are?" and she gave me a smile with a little blush and we had a shared moment of humor over my unintended double entendre`.
Any job can be made more pleasant when humor and connection are involved.
Reach out to at least one fellow shopper each trip to the store
You might be wondering what I mean by "reach out" to another shopper. Well, it can be something that you do in many different ways.
For me, I have noted that there is no shortage of people shopping at the same time as me that have confusion over what is healthy to eat. And, there are also a lot of shoppers who are disabled or who have difficulty reaching the items that they are trying to purchase.
On one recent shopping excursion, I encountered a woman who was probably in her 70's who asked me where she might find toothpaste. I personally wasn't sure, but I stopped what I was doing and offered to help her find it. I had shopped in the store often enough to have a pretty good idea of where it might be and I led her to that section. Sure enough, the toothpaste was located and she thanked me for my efforts. It took me less than five minutes to help.
Another trip had a fellow shopper asking me about Coconut water. He wondered why I was buying it, and why in particular I was choosing the variety that also contained Pineapple juice. I was able to inform him about the many valuable assets in Coconut water and to also explain that I chose the pineapple juice because it contains Bromelain and that is something I like to get in my diet.
Of course, I am a Health Coach, so answering questions such as the one about Coconut water was very easy for me. I realize not all of you readers are health coaches, and so I would not expect for you to know the same things.
I've had people give me cooking tips for a particular food, share recipe ideas and much more. I've had shopping trips that left me feeling as satisfied as having gone out for a social event because I had so many positive encounters with others.
I am suggesting though that each one of us can likely be of help when asked, even if not in the way we are being asked to help. If you encounter a person who is short in stature stretching unsuccessfully to reach an item on the top shelf, why not just come over and grab the item for them? Most people will simply say thank you and go along with their shopping. Or, like the woman who was looking for an item in the store, be willing to help them find the answer or ask a clerk of the store the question on their behalf.
If you encounter people who have questions about some super food you are purchasing, or some other question about a foods nutritional value, don't be afraid to talk to them. You might well have the answer, and even if you don't you've demonstrated your willingness to talk with another and by discussing you've added to both your and their shopping experience.
While helping others isn't necessarily going to make your shopping for the day a super fun experience it will help you feel positive about yourself. I think of it as the "Pay it forward" principle. Having been helped by me, the shopper when asked if she might help somebody might be more willing to say yes. While you may be rewarded for your efforts, you will surely feel a sense of peace having helped another person. And who among us can ever have too much peace?
So, grocery shopping still may be a chore for you, but hopefully by heeding some of my suggestions it can be more pleasant and rewarding for you in the future.