Easily Write a Perfect Grocery List
By April Moate
One of my favorite old sayings is, “A stitch in time saves nine” and I can’t think of any other time that this is more applicable than with grocery shopping. We’ve all been there - you go to the grocery store without a list and you end up spending twice as much as you planned AND you still forget something that you needed. Not to mention the fact that with our busy lives and with products moving and changing constantly, grocery shopping can be overwhelming and time consuming. While there are plenty of ways to make a digital grocery list, if you are like me, you prefer the old-fashioned way of handwriting a list to guide you through your shopping trip. There’s just something so satisfying about having that paper list in your hand and crossing things off as you go.
Step one to planning any grocery store trip is to do a little research on current deals and ways to save money. There are a number of resources available, including grocery rebate apps and digital coupons. The first place I tend to look is the store flyer. Although I still prefer the paper version, these aren’t as easy to find as they used to be. I miss the days of sipping my coffee and perusing the Sunday paper or the Wednesday supplement for all the upcoming sales. These days, even if some stores still produce a physical sale paper, they all have a digital version online. While I find it impossible to find every item my family wants on sale, I do my best to balance their requests for items that might be full-price with the best deals available on other items.
Step two to making your grocery list is to check what you have on-hand. I’m sure I can speak for most of us when I say that I have an overabundance of some particular items in my pantry or freezer. I recently had to dispose of several boxes of waffles that were so freezer-burned that they were virtually unrecognizable. Some of this comes from my child wanting only strawberry waffles this week and next week refusing to eat anything but cinnamon waffles, but mostly it’s from those times that I strayed from my list and bought something that I only thought I needed. Checking your current inventory is the best way to avoid over-buying on any particular item.
Once you’ve had a chance to check the sales and see what you already have in the pantry and freezer, it’s time to move on to making your actual list. I have found that there are three ways to make a grocery list - by department, by aisle, or by meal plan. I have used each of these methods depending on my needs at the time and my familiarity with the particular store where I’m planning to shop. You can choose a list-making method based on your level of grocery shopping expertise. Making an efficient grocery list does take a little time up front but in the end, it will be worth it to get you in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible.
Making a grocery list by department (for the beginner)...
Making a grocery list by aisle (for the veteran shopper)...
Making a grocery list by meal plan (for the planner)...
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