HomeArticles CREATING A GROCERY LIST – Easy and Simple


Posted in : Articles on by : Karen Metz Tags: , ,

Making a grocery list before going into the store will help you get organized, help you spend less money, and ultimately help you spend less time in the store. For me, a list is a lifeline when I am shopping. If I didn’t have it, I would have to return to the store several times a week for things I forgot and I probably would come home with only snack foods! I am going to show you how I go about creating a grocery list in just a few short steps. You can combine this step with making a menu to help things go even faster.

Getting Organized

Since I need the same supplies that I need when making a menu, I try to do these two things simultaneously. First I make a menu, then I take that menu and make my grocery list. You will need a pad of paper and a pen that you will take with you into the store. Warning! Do not buy expensive pens for this! I have lost more pens than I like to admit. Usually I take my clipboard, that has my menu and grocery list on it ,right into the store with me. This provides a nice hard surface to be able to scratch off the items as I get them. I see people checking off items on their phones as well. There are some nice programs for your phone that you might want to look into if you are not as “old school” as I am.

Have your menu for the week, sale papers from your local store that you plan on visiting, and any coupons you plan on using, gathered up in once place. Choose a quiet place to work and allow yourself 30 minutes to an hour. As you will see, when you master this and make it a habit each week, the hour you spend organizing and planning will create so much more time for you during the week you will not want to go back to your old ways of not having that list with you.

Create a Grocery List

Now take your menu first and go through each day and each of the meal times and write out on your grocery list any ingredient you do not have. This may take some investigating into your pantry and refrigerator or freezer if you do not know if you are out of a particular item. I am always having to check my spice cabinet. Don’t’t forget these little things, especially when trying new recipes.

Now take your sales paper and go through it to see if there are things on sale that you need and didn’t get on your menu, for example, cleaning products and pet food. Or maybe there are sale items on things that you will not need for a while, but the sale is too good to pass up on. I just bought 30 lbs ground beef at $1.79 for a graduation cook out we are planning for next month. This is the lowest price I have seen in a long time, so I went ahead and purchased it and put it in the freezer.

To start your list, arrange your list by your store’s departments. I normally shop at Meijer, and at my store the produce is first and the meat is last. So on my list I will put the headers:

  • Produce
  • Bakery
  • Dairy
  • Soup
  • Cereal
  • Baking
  • Frozen
  • Meat

These are not all the isles, but it gives a general idea of the way the store is organized to allow my list to flow. Leave enough space between headers to be able to put your needed items in under them.

Another way, and a way that I often do, is to just write a random list from my own menu and scanning my list while in each department of the store for those items. For example, while I am in the produce department, I will scan the whole list and get any produce products, then cross them off and go on to the next department. The trouble with this method is that I often skip items and have to back track in the store to retrieve them. When I do this kind of list, I normally take an older child or my husband with me who I can send back to get those items for me.

In The Store

Now you are almost ready to go to the store! I highly recommend eating before you go. My husband and I make grocery day our “date day”. We either go out for breakfast or lunch before going into the store. At the very least we will cook a big breakfast for the family before going, but I really do like our “dates”. If you are full before going, you are much more likely to stick with your list and not buy unintended items that skyrocket your grocery budget and waist line!

After making sure you are not starving, get your list and pen ready. Take them into the store with you and cross off each item as you put them into your cart. This seems so simple, but yet everyday I see so many people in the store without a list, just randomly buying. I wonder how often they have to go to the store or are struggling to find something to eat because they blew their whole food budget on convenience and snack foods or plan their meals on the spur of the moment?

When you get home, take a new blank list and put it somewhere you have access to it during the whole week. I keep mine either on the refrigerator or on my computer desk. Then during the week as you run out of staples, add them to your list. This will keep you from forgetting at the end of the week and you already have a head start on your list.

You Did It!

Once you try making a menu and creating a grocery list, you will see how it frees up more of your time during the work week. It only takes 30 minutes to an hour to make my menu and grocery list. It really takes the frustration out of my week by having a menu planned and knowing I have all the ingredients for each meal. Plus, having a grocery list ready means I can get in and out of the store faster. I am finding that the older I get the more valuable my time is!

Hopefully these tips will cut back some frustration during your week and allow you more time to spend with your family. With a plan you can succeed!


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