Shopping During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Sarah Balke

Whether you are picking up groceries, home improvement supplies, or stocking up on essential items in bulk at a wholesale club, shopping since the start of the Coronavirus has been quite an experience. I’m guessing some of you are looking at your stock of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and hand soap wondering how long your supplies will last – for some it may be a week or less, and for others, it might be years! Many stores limit the amount of meat, paper products, and cleaning supplies you can purchase in a single visit, kids under 16 are not permitted, and face masks are required for entry.

With all the limitations and supply shortages, shopping trips are more challenging these days. Here are a few tips to help make your shopping trips more successful!

  1. Take extra time to plan your project: If you are working on a home improvement project, take extra time to measure your space (then recheck your measurements) develop a plan, and make a list of all your needed materials. There is nothing worse than getting ready to start a project only to find out you can’t get one item that’s necessary to complete it. Check online to make sure everything you need is available at your local store. This will allow you to make adjustments to your plan if needed as well.
  2. Shopping with children: Many stores are limiting the number of people who can enter the store, and some are restricting children under a certain age altogether. Try to plan your shopping day during a time where you can have someone you trust to watch your kids. This may mean putting off your project for a few more days or becoming extremely creative with your cooking until you can get to the store. If you do not have anyone you can call on to watch your kids, consider using online ordering and curbside pickup.
  3. Wear a face covering: Some stores are requiring a face mask while others are leaving it up to each individual. Wearing a cloth face covering is one of the easiest ways to show respect for the workers. You are wearing your face mask to protect others, they are wearing a mask to protect you. It is quite a selfless act when you think about it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. Wearing a cloth face covering that fits properly will help prevent respiratory droplets, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, from spreading to others nearby.
  4. Meal planning: With some items being limited, meal planning can be very tricky – especially with a household of boys! Start with what you have at home. Use an app or website like SuperCook to get some delicious recipes using what you have at home. SuperCook will show you hundreds of recipes using what you have on hand and also show you recipes that require one or two more ingredients. This is a great way to start building your shopping list while saving some cash!
  5. Shop online: With so many stores offering online shopping these days, open the app for your local grocery store while creating your shopping list. This will let you see what items are out of stock and if there are any quantity limitations. Depending on how many stores you have near you, this may allow you to shop and pickup at multiple stores to help overcome the limitation issues.
  6. Plant a garden: For most of us it is difficult to plant and maintain a garden large enough to provide fresh vegetables to sustain a family. However, having some homegrown, fresh veggies and herbs is a great way to supplement your grocery shopping needs. If you are short on space or have back pain when gardening, get creative with containers and vertical gardens. A quick web search will provide tons of inspiration.

No one is thrilled about the Coronavirus and the abrupt hairpin turn many of our lifestyles have encountered. Keeping a positive attitude and doing your part to help prevent the spread are things you can control. You never know, some of these creative ideas may become fun hobbies that will be a part of your new normal!


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