When it comes to shopping in Spanish, “ir de compras” is about as far as your Spanish book is going to take you.
Ir de compras means to go shopping, but not for groceries. It’s used to refer to going shopping for clothes, shoes, etc.
When it comes to going grocery shopping, you need a different way to say this.
Let’s start with hacer las compras.
Voy a hacer las compras
I’m going grocery shopping
Hacemos las compras dos veces al mes
We go grocery shopping twice a month
Next we have hacer mercado.
Siempre hago mercado los sábados
I always go grocery shopping on Saturday
No me gusta hacer mercado
I don’t like to go grocery shopping
You can expect hacer mercado to be primarily used by Colombians, but it should be understood everywhere.
And lastly we get to hacer despensa.
Es más barato hacer despensa y comer en casa
It’s cheaper to buy groceries and eat at home
Normalmente ella hace despensa los domingos
Normally she goes grocery shopping on Sundays
You can also say comprar despensa.
Hoy compro despensa
Today I’m going grocery shopping
There’s actually a couple of things you need to know about this option.
The first thing is the phrase hacer or comprar despensa is very much a Mexican usage.
Next, despensa actually means pantry. But in Mexican Spanish it’s used to refer to groceries, mainly the basic staples. Bread, cheese, etc. What they call the canasta básica.
The canasta básica is essentially what Mexico considers the basic foods everyone should have in their household. There’s a bit more to the story than that, but for our purposes that’s all you need to know.
And that’s it.
There are likely other options to express the idea of going grocery shopping, but one or more these three options should serve you quite well no matter who you’re talking to.
¡Ojalá les sirva!