If you’re like I was a few years ago, making a simple and straightforward grocery shopping list might give you headaches. After gathering all the notes stuck on the fridge and trying to guess what was still in date and what wasn’t, I had a very limited concentration span to seek what was missing and then rearrange a proper list. So I always ended up having the same journey in the grocery store, wandering through the same aisles and putting what I thought I needed in my cart.
The results were always the same: a lot of duplicate items when coming back home, a lack of necessary ingredients for one particular meal I’d planned, and most importantly, extra money spent on useless stuff that would rot in the crisper of my refrigerator.
So, if you also find yourself in this situation, here’s a mini-guide about how to set up a proper shopping list:
There are two ways to create a shopping list:
- Manually write your shopping list on a paper, recycled cardboard or whatever you can write on.
- Print it from a computer
1. Printable shopping lists
I believe this method is preferred for people who feel really disorganized.
This system will allow them to move on to the second method after a while.
2. Handwritten shopping list
Here are some tips for writing up your shopping list and not forgetting anything:
Take inventory of the food and beverages you already have in the refrigerator, freezer or cupboards. Watch the expiration dates and identify products that need to be consumed quickly.Think about the meals you will need to prepare during the week and try to include perishable products. Plan your menus and list what you are missing.
Once the list is done, go around your cleaning products to identify what you might be missing: e.g. toilet paper, cotton balls, wood cleaner, wipes, gloves, paper towels etc.
Prepare the grocery that you will divide into 8 parts, corresponding to the different supermarket shelves:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Pasta, rice and canned stuff
- Oils, vinegars and condiments
- Frozen products
- Cheeses, yogurts and other dairy products
- Meat and fish
- Personal care and maintenance products
When going shopping, this combined list will save you valuable time on the shelves; even if you shop with one or more people, you’ll share the work.
Provide a table or list on the fridge where you’ll note the products that have run out and any idea of items you might need to buy to get you through the week.
I divide my draft list into 4 columns (child number 1, child number 2, home maintenance, supplies) before rewriting it down.
While shopping, carefully compare the price per weight or volume of the different products.
Do not start filling your cart with eggs, fruit,vegetables or chips and then crush them with drinks, for example. Similarly, if you buy frozen products, save them until the end so they do not thaw while you continue shopping.