How To Reduce Grocery Store Anxiety

Grocery store anxiety is nothing new in our household as Mrs. CBB tries to overcome what some find an easy task.

You might be reading this and wonder how someone could get grocery store anxiety. 

The truth is, that it is the truth. Anxiety is a huge problem for many people and it can affect their lives.

Outside of shopping you can’t quiet her up and meeting new people is so easy for her. 

I admit I’m jealous as I suffer from social anxiety at times when I don’t know how to start a conversation.

The inspiration to write about grocery store anxiety came after a Canadian Budget Binder (CBB) reader confessed it is a struggle for her.

Today, I want to also discuss our personal dilemmas with grocery shopping anxiety and ways we’ve worked on taking back the fear to make it a positive experience.

Mental Health Matters

Types Of Grocery Store Anxiety 

Anxiety can affect people for many reasons such as;

  • Health-Related Issues
  • Driving or having to find other means of transportation
  • Dislike of crowds or claustrophobia
  • Past traumatic experience
  • Shy
  • Not understanding how to grocery shop
  • Fear of _________?
  • Little money to purchase groceries and making the right choices
  • Lack of confidence with cooking skills 
  • Waiting in line anxiety (patience)

I’m sure there are other causes as to why someone would suffer from grocery store anxiety.

Related: What Type Of Grocery Shopper Are You?

The good news is that there are options available for customers who struggle with this task. 

Shiny Floors Caused Our Son Grocery Store Anxiety

There was also a time when our son suffered from what we now know was grocery store anxiety. 

He was an early walker and loved to go to the mall or anywhere for that matter except the grocery store. 

For the longest time, we didn’t understand what was wrong with him but now know it was anxiety. 

Our son would not walk on the floors at Walmart, Zehrs, or Sears because they were shiny. 

He would cling to the grocery shopping cart or wanted to be held or sat in the cart. 

That phase didn’t last long but for him, grocery store anxiety was triggered by shiny floors.

His depth perception when looking at the floors would be like walking on water and sinking.

It was such a real anxiety for him that we did all we could to help him overcome that fear. 

The first approach was to get his eyes checked and sure enough, he needed glasses

I’m glad to say he’s doing fine however at the time we just didn’t understand the issue.

Grocery Store Anxiety Is A Real Mental Health Problem

Dear Mr.CBB,

Just recently my husband and I got a divorce after being married for 20 years.

During that time he would do all of our grocery shopping since we only had one vehicle that he mainly used. 

Actually, he enjoyed grocery shopping where I would loathe going because I don’t like dealing with people. 

Any time we needed food I felt the need to be as prepared as possible to reduce grocery store anxiety. 

I know it may sound silly to your readers but it happens although going later at night seems to reduce the stress. 

Do you have any tips that might help reduce my grocery store anxiety? 

I thought perhaps since you blog about grocery shopping you or other readers might have some advice.

If not that’s ok, I still enjoy reading your blog posts because they resonate with me. 


Cherry (Windsor, Ontario) 

People Can Cause Grocery Store Anxiety 

As Cherry mentions above she suffers from grocery store anxiety when she is around too many people. 

Her idea of grocery shopping later in the evening is a great way to get what she needs and get out. 

Coincidentally, Mrs. CBB also dislikes people at the grocery store but enjoys going.

We try to go early in the morning or later at night plus it gets her out of the house since she doesn’t work.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m doing most of the grocery shopping because she gets overwhelmed with the arrows and rules.

She also feels rushed or has little to no patience when it comes to waiting for someone to move. 

As well, she says that if she messes up she doesn’t want to get yelled at by an angry customer. 

Confrontation is not her strong suit and I don’t blame her it’s not easy for most people.

Lastly, she enjoys reading product labels and looking for new products and she doesn’t feel she can do that now. 

I’m certain she is not alone. 

Costco is another nightmare that we battle together or I just run in while she is homeschooling our son.

Even I can get anxious at Costco feeling pushed around like cattle or having to move like a mad man through the aisles. 

Price Increases Can Cause Grocery Store Anxiety

Just when you thought you had your monthly budget sorted out, food prices are predicted to increase.

We’ve already noticed an increase when we go grocery shopping at our two regular grocery stores Zehrs and Food Basics.

Food price increases can be the difference between getting milk and eggs or vegetables for the week. 

Reworking a grocery budget to fit a monthly budget is tough enough when cash is limited. 

Thankfully, there are community groups, the food bank, and even Facebook Share groups to help anyone who is struggling. 

In our city, there is a bakery that donates all of the leftovers to the community centre where people can drop in and get what they need for free. 

During the growing season, many farmers in the area donate fruits and vegetables and they are offered on a pay what you can basis.

In last year’s report, our models predicted that overall food prices would increase 2 to 4% in 2020 and that the average Canadian family would spend up to $12,667 on food.

Based on the 2020 inflation rate to date, they are likely to spend $12,508 in 2020, if consumers continue to visit restaurants at the same rate as past years.

Due to the pandemic, that is highly unlikely. –Food Price Report 2021 Dalhousie 

Granted, Zehrs made my top list of expensive grocery stores we still shop there to see if we can find any 50% off deals. 

If they didn’t have that we wouldn’t bother shopping there are at all unless there was a great flyer sale. 

Both Mrs. CBB and I can see the price differences since we are heavily into understanding food prices in Canada.

2021 Food Cost Price Forecast In Canada

Since 2021 is off to a raging start it’s safe to say say that price increases have happened.

At the beginning of the year we increased our grocery budget for this reason.

We knew that we would have to make a budget adjustment for our groceries due to anticipated changes.

Buying milk used to cost $3.99 however, now it’s $4.29 and meat prices have certainly kept us looking for reduced prices. 

Related: 8 Ways To Save Money When Buying Meat

Reduce Grocery Store Anxiety With Your Grocery Budget

The great news is that we are still able to eat a balanced diet by searching for, weekly sales, price reductions, using coupons and cashback apps, stockpile budget, and building our Optimum points.

Related: Where To Find Coupons In Canada

meatless meal ideas
Lentil Sloppy Joe with sour cream and cheddar cheese on top

Another smart way to reduce your grocery bill is to incorporate Meatless Meal Monday.

One of our favourite meatless meals is Lentil Sloppy Joes and crispy baked sweet potato fries.

This is a day or even any day of the week where your meals revolve around anything but meat.

I’ve talked to people who tell me that they create a meal plan around what the weekly sales are. 

Related: 10 Easy Meatless Meals You Can Incorporate Into Your Budget

For a family to spend $1000 or more a month on groceries can overwhelm any budget.

This year community gardens ran out of plots quickly as Canadians want to grow fruits and vegetables. 

We have a garden plot and use lots of pots and hanging baskets for the Ontario growing season. 

Italian Basil
Growing Basil in garden pots

Food Categories Anticipated Changes (%)

  • Bakery 3.5% to 5.5%
  • Meat 4.5% to 6.5%
  • Other 2% to 4%
  • Dairy 1% to 3%
    Fruits 2% to 4%

Total Increase in Food Prices 3% to 5%

  • Restaurants 3% to 5%
  • Seafood 1.5% to 3.5%
  • Vegetables 4.5% to 6.5%

Ways To Overcome Grocery Store Anxiety

I’m no doctor but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to offer suggestions to those who suffer from grocery store anxiety.

  • Seek Therapy and discuss your anxiety – Mind Beacon Online Anxiety Therapy is Free For Ontarians
  • Talk to your doctor about possible anxiety medication or a referral to someone who can help.
  • If you have a partner or spouse talk to them about your anxiety and see how they can assist you.
  • Meditate and stretch for 10-15 minutes before you grocery shop.
  • Take deep breathes and count to 10 if you find your grocery store anxiety building while shopping
  • Exercise with Yoga or doing your favourite sport to get the good endorphins going.
  • Talk to yourself with positivity and motivation to get through the grocery shopping process
  • Grocery shopping online with delivery such as Costco or Instacart.
  • Order groceries online and collect them outside the grocery store – PC Express
  • Shop local and buy meat from a reputable company such as TruLocal who will deliver to your door.
  • Use services such as Urthbox Organics for vegetables shipped to your home. $10 OFF + A FREE BONUS BOX when you BUY or GIFT any Multi-Month UrthBox!
  • Ampli is a cashback app that will help you save money. Sign up for Ampli then enter the Promo Code: AMPLI5 to get $5 Free Cash added to your balance.
  • Hire a personal grocery shopper to pick up what you need for a fee.
  • If cooking causes anxiety a food kit delivered to your door from Good Food or Hello Fresh will help you to make nutritious meals.
  • Use The Flashfood App to score products between 50-75% off the original price.
  • Ask a friend or relative to buy your groceries
  • Order grocery items from or Amazon Canada

Compare Prices

Some of our favourite Amazon Canada grocery purchases are add-ons or grocery deals of the week.

Often we find that buying from Amazon is cheaper than what we’d pay at the grocery store especially if you have a Prime Membership.

We’ve had one for years now and it has come in handy many times to find what we need without having to leave the house.

Comparing prices has always been something I would do in order to get the best prices and save money.

Educate And Build Your Strengths

Lastly, I have hundreds of blog posts about grocery shopping in The Ultimate Guide for Grocery Shopping In Canada.

I know it’s easy to say that any of the above would help someone with grocery store anxiety but it’s not.

Everyone reacts differently to certain situations based on prior experience or thoughts of what might happen.

In saying that, I hope Cherry and anyone else who finds themselves experiencing grocery store anxiety talks to their doctor.

Stay positive, stay safe and practice making your day better than it was the day before.

Discussion: Do you suffer from grocery store anxiety? What other tips can you add to what I’ve suggested above? Leave your comment below.


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  1. I live in the country and have 2 grocery stores within 10 minutes (Foodland and Your Independent Grocer). But they are expensive.
    I like Costco ( 1.5 hours away) but suffer from anxiety due to crowds and rude behavior! I only go twice yearly for major stock-ups. To save the money I do it anyway!

    1. If you know what you want from Costco you could easily do a stock up for the year and freeze most things. We hardly ever buy bakery, vegetables, and fruits at Costco as they go off quickly. I’d rather go to the market in the summer or the grocery store for bits and bobs. Like you I’m not a fan of big crowds and would rather go to smaller grocery stores or shot early or late when it eases the anxiety for the both of us. Thanks for sharing Bonnie. Mr.CBB

  2. Thanks for addressing this topic and thanks to your reader for bringing it forward. I find my anxiety comes from a belief that i should be shopping at multiple stores and pushing to find the best prices. It is overwhelming sometimes. I think i need to choose one store and maximize your tips to save.

    1. These days that’s what typically do since Walmart doesn’t price match. Our main stores are Zehrs, Food Basics and on occasion No Frills. Costco we go as needed. In the summer we save on vegetables as we grow what we would normally buy or wait for a sale. Right now we stock up on 50% off products including meat. The struggle is keeping anxiety low while trying to grocery shop and save money since we often feel more concerned about Covid space between people. If we order online we just won’t save the same amount of money as we’ve experimented with it. Good luck Barbara and let me know how it goes for you. Mr.CBB

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