Last time I walked you through how I plan out my meals on a monthly basis. Now let’s look at compiling the shopping list before we head to the store.
Having a complete, easy to read grocery list can mean a lot less stress when you head to the store. It is sometimes the difference between being under budget, at budget or breaking the bank! Your grocery list must be easy for YOU to read. I stress you because what is easy for me to understand may drive you bonkers and vice versa.
A few years back my sister in-law was in a bad car accident. She is the primary shopper in her family and for a few months I took over her shopping duties while she recovered. Once a week I would get her families groceries as well as ours. (Back then I was shopping once per week for us ) Even then, before I had really begun to budget I still shopped with a list. Her list and my list were very different. She hand writes her list on a paper pad by order of the store. I have a typed “form” list that I mark off the items we need to buy with the quantities we need. I had a hard time following her list because it was not what I was used to doing. So I would take a few minutes to rewrite the list before I left her house so that I would be sure to pick up all the items she needed. The point of this little story is that both lists severed their purpose for eachof us. Neither were wrong, just different. The bottom line is that your list ensures that you get what you need. Don’t feel like your list has to look like someone else’s so long as the list you keep is efficient in listing what you need to buy and reads easily for you so that you don’t miss anything.
While helping out my sister in-law I picked up a tip that works well for us too. I keep a grocery list pad on the refrigerator with a pen. When we run out or are running low on something I write it down right away. (And my husband has picked up the habit too!). This way if we’re running low in mayo it goes on the list and doesn’t get over looked.
So now it’s time to compose a list.
One note, we eat a fair amount of wild game since my husband is an avid hunter. Those items of course I can’t just go buy so I have to know ahead of time if I have duck or trout in the freezer. The rest I can plan to buy after I’ve got the meal plan together.
With my menu in hand I’m ready to figure out what I need to buy. I do a quick total of the menu of potatoes, carrots, peas, etc so I know how many times we’re eating those items to equate to how much I need to buy. At the present time we are still buying some veggies in cans or frozen. I am hoping to eliminate much of that after this next gardening season. But that is another topic for a later time!
I also look at the ingredients that I will need for each item – like everything that goes into lasagna or tuna casserole. Don’t forget to count condiments, spices and seasoning as well as staples like butter, oil, eggs, milk, etc.
Next I go through my pantry, fridge and freezer to see I do not have enough of to make the meals I need. While browsing my pantry and fridge I also make note of things we’ll eat as snacks, lunches, etc. I add to the check list the things we wrote on the refirgerator pad too.
At the present time I do not plan out breakfast and lunch. Lunch is usually left overs and breakfast is toast, eggs, muffins, etc.
There are a few other areas to keep in mind when you’re making your list:
- Cleaning supplies
- Pet supplies (why not buy them when you’re out shopping instead of making a special trip)
- Personal care items and toiletries
- Baby items like diapers, wipes, lotions, formula, etc
- Office supplies like pens, printer ink, paper
You may wonder why I would buy printer ink while I’m grocery shopping. It has been my experience that the more I “run to the store” the more I spend and the more unnecessary things I buy. If I’m going to be at Wal-Mart for some of my groceries I might as well spend the extra 10 minutes to trek to the other side of the store and get an ink cartridge or drive across the road to Staples rather than run back to town later. This also saves on gas especially if you have to drive any great distance to get to the store.
Now my list is complete and I’m ready to head to the store.
How much preparation to you put into your grocery shopping list? What does your list look like? Comments welcome!
Until next time, be blessed!