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At the start of my “official” meal planning journey (and before I really knew it), a friend gave me a computerized grocery list. She had found it online and started using it shortly after her first child was born. As the mother of a newborn at the time myself, I took the list, thanked her and then thought, “Yeah, right, I think my old list making method of writing everything out on a piece of notepaper works just fine. This seems way too complicated for me!”
Having an organized grocery list will save you time in many ways. I’m not really sure what made me eventually try the list my friend gave me, but now, years later I can’t imagine any other way! I’ve customized my list for my own local grocery store that makes finding things a cinch and getting in and out of the store a lot quicker! As you can see, it is organized by aisle number so I’m not dragging myself and the kids from one end of the store to the other to pick up forgotten items. This was a lot bigger deal when my kids were toddlers and preschoolers but even now that they are preteen and teen age, they STILL ask to buy things that may not necessarily be on my list (sorry parents of younger ones, it DOES get easier but in a different way!)
How does it work? I just make up several copies of the list, clip together and hang inside my pantry. Whenever I run out of an item, I can simply check it off and when it’s time for shopping day I just grab the list and go. The other thing I like about it is that by scanning the list it jogs my memory for things I may have forgotten to add to the list. How many times have you been in the kitchen and interrupted by a crying baby, talking toddler or ringing phone? Scanning the list helps me remember to add those items that I’ve run out of but got interrupted before I could add it to the list at the time.
It’s also handy to have on hand for your family members. When they use up the last of something, they can just check it off the list and I know what’s needed. I’m not going to lie, it took awhile to “train” my family to do this but now they know the routine. And they know that I don’t read minds so if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t get purchased. And while I do the majority of the grocery shopping for our family, having this list is handy for when my husband stops by the store instead.
Whether you use a customized grocery list like this one or something different, making a meal plan and creating your list BEFORE you head to the store will save you money. And learning how to create a custom grocery list like this one, it will help you to go to only the aisles you need to shop on and not get distracted by all those other items that might lure their way into your shopping cart. By avoiding those impulse buys when you shop with your
I know there are lots of apps out there now to create and keep track of grocery lists, but call me old school, I still like my paper list. I don’t like to bury my head in a small phone screen, clogging up the aisles trying to figure out what item I need next. You can read more about How to Save Time and Your Sanity in my blog post here.
CREATE YOUR OWN CUSTOM GROCERY LIST
As you can see, this list is for my own local Kroger store and I know each store varies in it’s layout. Perhaps you have a different favorite store…use this list as a guide to make your own custom list! I’ve even noted which items on the list are on the Dirty Dozen list of produce that you should buy organic if you can. I’ve also made a section for me to note what is on my menu plan for the week so that when I’m in the store it will jog my memory about anything I might have forgotten (I need all the help I can get on jogging my memory these days!)
You can download a copy of my grocery list here to help you get started. If you want to create your own list for your own store and are a little computer savvy, it’s not too difficult to make a custom list for the store you shop at most often. Here’s how to get started:
- Ask the customer service counter for a map of the store. Most of them have one that lists many commonly purchased items by aisle. If your store doesn’t offer this, make note the next time you go to the store what aisle the items you are purchasing are located. This may take a few trips, so don’t get frustrated if it does! Or, if you have the time, you can make note of the
- In an Excel (or similar spreadsheet program), enter all the items in one column and in the corresponding column to the right, list the aisle they
Give it a try and let me know if it really does simplify your shopping trips!