Shopping for food is one of those things that we often do without thinking. We head to the store knowing we need a few things, but we leave with a cart load of stuff. This article on How to Make a Grocery List will give you the tools you need to create an efficient plan.
Frugal living is all about saving money, and nowhere is it more important to save than at the grocery store.
Grocery shopping can be both tedious and time consuming, especially when you don’t have a plan ahead of time. Without organization, it’s easy to end up aimlessly wandering the store aisles, wondering if you are out of this or running low on that.
Usually, trips like this end up costing us more money than we planned to spend. Our goal is to help stop those impulse purchases and transform your weekly shopping trips into an efficient task needed to run an efficient home.
What is an Effective Grocery List?
An effective grocery list should be simple, organized, and comprehensive. You want to make sure your list is concise enough that you can quickly find what you need in the store without being tempted by impulse purchases.
Additionally, having a list with things listed in the order you may find them in the store will save you loads of time shopping. The key is to plan ahead so that your shopping trip is as efficient and stress-free as possible.
The Benefits of an Effective Grocery List
Creating a well-organized grocery list has numerous benefits. Not only does it help you remember all the items you need to purchase it also helps you stay on budget. With an effective list in hand, you’ll know exactly what to get and won’t be tempted by random items that you don’t really need.
Steps to Make an Effective Grocery List
Since I am not a fan of grocery shopping, I have found easy ways to make this chore as easy as possible. Here are my top tips.
Step 1: Meal Planning and Creating a Menu
I know this seems like too much work to bother with, but once I committed to making and using a weekly menu, I was able to slash my grocery budget by 1/3. Give it a try for just 1 month, and you will see the benefits both with your budget and the time spent each day cooking in the kitchen.
How it works:
- Before you head to the store, plan out what meals you’ll be preparing for the upcoming week.
- Use the produce you have in your refrigerator now as a starting point. This will ensure you use up that expensive food before it goes bad.
- Create a menu that fits your schedule for the week ahead. If you have a busy night on Wednesday this week, plan to make a crock pot meal.
- Write up your list and post it where you will see it each morning. This will make sure you stick to your menu and allow you to do morning prep for an easier dinner time.
Making a grocery list around a menu will help you buy exactly what you need without any extra items.
Step 2: Taking Inventory of the Pantry and Refrigerator
Once you’ve got a menu planned out, it’s time to take inventory of what is already in your pantry and refrigerator. Inventories are a huge game changer and one that will get easier as you practice them.
How it Works:
- With your menu in hand, go through the food in your fridge, freezer, and pantry to see if you have all the ingredients needed.
- As you find something missing, add it to your shopping list.
Food inventories help reduce food waste since you won’t be purchasing items that you’ve already got.
Step 3: Make a List of What You Need
Now that you know what meals you’re cooking and the items you’ve already got, it’s time to make a list of the items that you need to buy. Be sure to include both essentials and ingredients for your planned meals.
How it Works:
- Start in one food storage area, looking at what you have with your list in hand.
- Make a note of anything you see you are running low on.
- Once finished, move to the next area and repeat these steps.
- Finally, go to your linen closet and medicine areas and do a quick check as well.
To save even more time, consider using an online grocery list app to help keep track of all your needs in one spot.
Step 4: Group Items on Your Grocery List by Aisle
Once your list is complete, the next step is to group items on your grocery list by aisle. This will help save time when you’re in the store. If you know which aisles each item is located in, you can easily navigate through the store without having to backtrack or wander around looking for what you need.
Step #5: Shop at the Best Time
Fighting crowds can cause you to skip the list so you can get done and out more quickly. To help, look to shop at non busy times to make your experience more enjoyable.
Aim to go early in the morning or late in the day to miss the crowds. Avoid shopping between 4 and 6 p.m. during the week or anytime on the weekends.
How to make a budget for groceries?
Making a budget for groceries is an important part of efficient grocery shopping. RTS.com states that “The average American family of four throws out $1,600 a year in produce.” Having a budget and an effect list can eliminate most of that waste for you and your family.
How It Works:
- Calculate how much you need to spend on food per week or month.
- Decide how much you can realistically afford for that period.
- Consider what items are necessary versus which ones are extra.
- Look for ways to save money, such as using coupons or buying generic brands.
- Make sure to keep track of your spending so that you can stick to your budget.
This will help ensure that you shop efficiently and save money in the process.
Creating a grocery list is an essential part of shopping efficiently. Allocate time each week to plan out your meals and take inventory of what you already have on hand so that you can make a grocery list that will save you time in the store.
With a little bit of planning, grocery shopping can be an efficient and stress-free task.
More Shopping Tips:
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