Frugal Tips & Tricks

4 Tips For Urban Grocery Shopping Without a Car

I’ve been a city dweller my entire adult life, and over the years I’ve really honed my pedestrian grocery shopping strategy. I hope these tips help make your car-free grocery shopping (and other errands) a little easier!


Buy a good cart. I know, I know, the weird discount store down the street sells those metal ones for like $12 but trust me they’re the worst. I used them for years out of sheer stubbornness and cheapness and they are terrible. The wheels on cheap metal carts don’t turn and all of your groceries are exposed to the elements. I’m a big fan of my cart, which totally shields your groceries, is water resistant, and has stroller style wheels that easily turn. It also has a top cover, so when I’m in the grocery store I shop by simply placing a basket on top of my cart. It even folds up for easy storage!


Next, get yourself some reusable bags. I use reusable shopping bags and reusable produce bags. I store mine in my shopping cart so I always have them when I need them. Bonus: they come in super cute colors and patterns! Toss them in the wash once a week for good measure and keep one as a dedicated meat bag for sanitary reasons. I chose hot pink as my designated meat bag because I’m classy.

Pack your cart like a pro. Always layer the heaviest stuff on the bottom of your cart. Canned goods, anything in a box, and anything in a glass jar can go on the bottom. I don’t even put those items in bags I just kind of Tetris it. Layer the second sturdiest stuff on top of that (like grains, meat, butter) but put that stuff in bags, and then put produce and eggs on the very top, also in bags.

Now, here’s a great tip if you’re a petite lady like me. I have steps going up to my apartment and I can’t actually lift my cart up them when it’s full. This is the reason for those reusable bags. I just lift out the bags and take those in first. That lightens the load enough that I can carry in the cart, which luckily has handles on each side.

That’s all there is to it. If any of you have additional (urban, suburban, or rural) shopping tips please share them in the comments!


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