A well-prepared grocery shopping list can make all the difference for your food budget and the amount of time you have to spend shopping. Learn how to the perfect grocery shopping list every time.
I’ve never been someone to grocery shop without a list but I haven’t always made the best lists. I used to just write everything down that I knew we needed and that was it.
Sure it’s better than going into the store with no list, that is going to cost you a lot of money and frustration over time. However, a poorly planned grocery shopping list is still going to cause problems.
I only grocery shop once a month so if I don’t plan well it can cause problems all month long. We also try to eat mostly organic food which can cost a lot of money. Planning well really helps keep our food budget low.
We don’t live near any of my favorite natural grocery stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Natural Grocers and Sprouts. This means when my husband and I end up in a nearby town we often will stop in one of those stores.
We always think we are just going to pick up a few fun snacks for the weekend. We get to the checkout and are shocked by the cost and how much ended up in the cart. At least we don’t do that for our main grocery shopping! It’s a good reminder of why I spend the time to plan my shopping trips.
How to Save Money With Your Grocery Shopping List
- Keep a running list. Have a list on your fridge and each time you run out of something or notice you are running low add it to your list. This will save you so much time when you write your full list. Be sure to add household products as well.
- Keep a food inventory. I’m not always perfect about this but it makes my life easier when I stay on track. Knowing what’s in your pantry, fridge, and freezer without even looking is very helpful when planning your shopping list and meal planning.
- Meal plan. Speaking of meal planning, this is one of the most important steps. You don’t have to plan which days you are having the meals but make sure you have enough meals for the number of days you are shopping for. Don’t just buy random ingredients with no plan, that makes dinner time stressful. Also, be sure to keep items on hand for a couple of quick meals. A favorite in my house is quesadillas so I always have tortillas, cheese, and some type of pre-cooked meat. I can throw that meal together in no time.
- Organize your list. When writing your final list, be sure to first group things by store and then by type of item. If you know the store well write the list in order of how you shop the store. This saves so much time. When I don’t get this done I’m going back and forth all over the store.
- Track sale prices. Make a note of sale prices next to items. Some sales aren’t advertised or may still not be the best price. So if you shop at multiple stores having this note will help you get the best price. This really helps create a great budget grocery shopping list.
- Make a note of coupons. I hate it when I have a coupon and forget to use it. It’s like wasting free money. Put a star next to items you have coupons for so you remember to use them.
- Keep your meal plan with your list. If you really want to save money take your meal plan with you. Sometimes you will see sales you didn’t know about and if you have your meal plan you can often make a few changes to use the sale item instead of something else you needed. A few months ago I had a meal plan that was heavy on chicken. I went to the butcher counter at Whole Foods and saw they had an amazing sale on ground beef. I looked at my meals I had planned and made a few changes so I had less chicken to buy and could stock up on the beef.
- Shop online. Before heading to the store check to see if any items you need can be purchased for a better price online. I really like Thrive Market and Amazon for online grocery shopping. You may able to shorten your grocery shopping list and save money. Just be sure you mark the items off your list so you don’t buy them twice.
Keeping Your Grocery Shopping List Organized
To help with all of these tips be sure to check out my grocery shopping printable pack. It includes sheets for meal planning, food inventories, shopping lists, and a running shopping list to add to your fridge.
I like to keep several copies printed off and in my home management binder. As soon as I finish one shopping trip and I can pull out new sheets and start the process all over again.
I keep my last shopping list and meal plan as well. These are helpful when planning next time. Since I shop once a month our meals are pretty similar each month so a lot can just be copied over when I’m ready to start my next list.
All of these things together make for a more affordable and less stressful shopping experience. It also prevents me from having four bottles of ketchup at the same time.
Don’t forget to sign up below for my free Once a Month Grocery Shopping Guide. It can help you make your grocery shopping to the next level and save even more time and money.