A few weeks ago I sat down and finally tackled my grocery shopping. For too many months I had let things go and we were spending WAY too much at the grocery store. I often went without a plan and as a result I forgot things that we needed. And as a result, I would end up at the store more often retrieving the forgotten items only to pick up more random things we really didn’t need.
While I was still staying in our budget, I wasn’t really happy with the way I was going about things. This year you might remember I’m working on prudence and this was one area I knew I needed to get under control. With another baby on the way, I wanted a system that would make life easier and help us get out the door and finish our shopping faster.
So I made a master grocery list. There are many versions of these if you search the internet but I wanted one that was customized to the things we actually ate. There are a few staple items like lunch meat, condiments, ice cream, Cheez-it’s and pop that my husband really wants us to always have in stock. After forgetting so many times, this list has transformed my shopping.
I’ve also started menu planning again and although I haven’t quite gotten to the point of planning for the entire month at once, I am planning for the week and that makes grocery shopping even easier. My friend Jenny recently posted her monthly menu on Instagram and I was so inspired that I think it may be in our future. Her monthly menu planner template can be found here. Right now we have some days always planned; like some version of pizza is always on Friday and Sunday after church we always go out to eat. But filling in the gaps and having a plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner is not something I have been doing. But I’m inspired to start!
The list is divided into general categories and oftentimes you will notice I will just list one item like chips-assorted. I have enough room that I can just write in whatever type we are out of instead of having to list them all. After I menu plan, I take a highlighter and go through the list, checking my cupboards to see if we are out of, or almost out of anything. It doesn’t take long at all and as I go I highlight what we need at the store. By using a highlighter what we need is really easy to see and read while we are shopping.
With 6 major grocery stores within 3 miles of our house (Aldi, Sam’s Club, Rainbow Foods/Copps, SuperTarget, Trader Joes, Whole Foods) we have our pick of places to go. It’s not uncommon for me to cart our daughter around to more than one store to get what we need. For example, today we hit up Aldi, SuperTarget, and Trader Joes, and we had our entire week’s grocery shopping done in an hour from start to finish. Having the list has cut down on the amount of time we spend randomly walking the aisles and we can be in and out really quickly.
I made my master grocery list in Excel but I’m including a downloadable copy a Google document. It’s divided into categories based on general grocery store layout (ie: dairy, meat, produce, baking, etc.) The best part is that if you have a printer that can print duplex, your entire list will fit on one sheet of paper. Also it’s entirely customizable…so you can create a list based on exactly what your family eats.
Hope this helps make grocery shopping just a bit easier and less stressful!!