Grocery Shopping Template (+ My Routine)

shopping listI recently learned that writing your grocery list out on an organized “template” can make food shopping so much easier. I realize this is not a new idea…just something I am only now figuring out for some reason!

Surely everyone has a running grocery list of some sort—a list where you write down “peanut butter” when you realize you are getting low or where you add “crackers” because you realize you have none. For many years my running list has been on a basic pad of paper, and I would add anything else we need right before going to the grocery store. And for many years I would almost be done with all my shopping and then look at my list and say “Oh, I forgot the coffee” and quickly retrace my steps back to the beginning of the store to get it. :) I’m sure I’m not alone here!

So between all the categorized shopping lists that come with the meal plan services these days and the template my girlfriend uses that’s organized by the aisles of her favorite grocery store, I decided it’s time to have some sort of template of my own! And I of course had to share my template with all of you, which is why I’ve attached both a PDF version and an excel version below (so you can modify it to your liking).

You could start with a blank template each week or edit the excel version by adding items you buy every week (for us that would be things like milk, bananas, oats) so you don’t have to write those same items down each and every time (and also so you don’t forget them). My organized girlfriend keeps a stack of her grocery shopping templates on a clipboard in her kitchen so it’s always accessible when someone needs to add that item you just ran out of—I think I am going to start doing something similar.

And on that note, here is my current routine that I’ve been trying to (loosely) follow each week…

  • Thursday Late Afternoon/Evening: I ask each family member to pick one dinner recipe (usually out of a cookbook) for the upcoming week. I come up with 1 to 2 dinner recipes/ideas myself, and then I create an extremely informal (chicken scratch) dinner plan for the next 7 days. I put simple dinners and crock pot meals down on the days we have after school activities, and I (try to) put more involved dinners down on the weekends and days where we don’t have any late afternoon commitments. I also almost always leave one night open and write something like “TBD” or leftovers…we rarely need 7 completely different dinners within a week (it’s usually more like 5 or 6 and then the other nights we “scrounge” leftovers or make something simple like scrambled eggs to go with said leftovers). Then I add all the necessary ingredients for those dinners plus some items I think we’ll need for breakfast and lunch to the grocery list/template. I also make a separate list of the items that I can get at the farmers’ market (i.e. meat, eggs, some veggies, etc.). This whole process takes me between 30 min and an hour and I am not going to lie…it’s not something I enjoy doing, but it’s got to be done!
  • Friday Morning or Afternoon: I drive about 20 minutes to Earth Fare to do my shopping. There are dozens of grocery stores between our house and Earth Fare, but I’ve found I can get almost everything I need at a “health food” store and they (by far) have the biggest and best selection of organic produce, which prevents me from having to shop around a great deal. While there I stock up on everything I think we’ll need before the next Friday shopping day rolls around. I occasionally stop at Trader Joe’s (and the bread store) on the way home.
  • Saturday Morning: We get up early and hit the farmers’ market for those items that can be purchased locally! If we don’t get there early we’ll miss out on the “good” stuff. :)
  • Rest of the Week: If I “forgot one thing” or think of something else I could suddenly use, we’ll run a mile down the street to our mainstream grocery store for that onesie twosie thing I need. It happens to the best of us…it seems like more often than not (no matter how hard I try to be organized) I always forget something!

Be sure to check out my meal planning post for more tips…and please share your routine with us in the comments below! I’d love to get more good ideas on how to make this whole process even more efficient. The least amount of time I spend meal planning and grocery shopping the better. :)

Grocery Store Templates (Click to Download):

PDF Screenshot

Excel Screenshot

 

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193 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping Template (+ My Routine)”

  1. For years now, I have used a pre-printed list that came about by accident. Right after I had my second child, my mom came to town and offered to do a grocery store run for me. As it turns out, we were out of nearly everything, so the list was, well, comprehensive. To help her out, I typed it up in store order with headings much like the ones in your template but with a bit more detail for the dry goods section of the store. She appreciated the organized list and I was so grateful for the help!

    Since then, I’ve turned the list in into a half page, four column list by aisle of the things we buy on a regular basis. I have about 200 items on this list. I print 20 or so at a time and keep them on hand in the kitchen with one at the ready on the white board. When I need something, I just circle it on the preprinted list. If I need something not on the list, I write it in the white space in the correct section. Before heading to the store, I review the whole list for needed usual items that I might have forgotten to circle. Besides keeping my shopping trips organized, it also serves to jog my memory about all the usual stuff that I might otherwise forget. “Oh yeah, we do need kitty litter and coffee!”

  2. I add to my list all week.. It makes it so simple when grocery day rolls around.. I might see other things while I am shopping but my list has the basics and everything I will need for the week…Its maybe even a little easier for me as I rarely make recipes.. I just eat the food as is..I have a stove, oven and a steamer.. Thats about all I need.

  3. Fantastic blog; thank you. : )
    I make a grocery list like this too, except I just just use a blank sheet of paper and create the various sections as I go. I also note on the top of my list the names of the recipes I’m planning to prepare and their locations (book name, page #, etc.) because I can’t trust my brain to remember.

  4. I have started putting sticky notes on the inside of my cupboards so I can write my “low/out of items” down right there on the spot.(I am blonde and I forget as soon as I turn around! :) lol) I just use the command reusable strips. I hot glue 1-2 strips to the back of the sticky note pad {I like the longer ones, measures approx. 9×3)then stick the command strip to the cupboard door. I tend to start at the bottom of the paper and work my way up to the top. (I tear the list off as I put it to the master list)this way I do not waste paper.
    I also have an app on my smartphone for my grocery list. (mighty grocery shopper lite-free) you can customize your list according to stores and aisle!! (plenty of other great catagories…taxes, coupons etc) don’t get me wrong…it took some time to add my standard list to the phone but it is/was so worth it!!! you can even share your list…love that!! so when my hubby is out and about, he can look at our list to c what we need instead of calling me and asking what I need while he’s out!!! got to love technology!!
    love this site…thanks for the great ideas!! love that smoothie tube!! question, is it reusable? any tip you can share on canning would be great…I want to try but a little intimidated by the whole process!!

  5. sharilyn unthank

    For many years when kids were home, I created a list of commonly purchased items and organized it in the order of grocery store. I made menu plans on the backside. There was a seperate section for the fruit market and for Target. Then I posted it on fridge. At time my kids were old enough to circle the item they had just depleted or something they wanted. Then I was not responsible for having to inventory the fridge, pantry and bathroom for things they had used up or guess what they might want in lunches but since I created the master list it did limit the choices such that sweetened cereals, ice cream treats and junk food were really not represented. You could pencil other things in and I might be inclined to buy them. It really worked well.

    1. It’s a 97-2003 version. My Excel 2010 version opened it just fine, after a pop-up window indicating that it was in a different version. I simply clicked “yes” and it opened perfectly.

  6. I admit, I am not as organized as I should be, especially since we started following a gluten-free diet. My husband bought a magnetic grocery list recorder that stays attached to the side of the refrigerator. As we run out of things, we record it to the list. On Monday morning, I usually browse Pinterest for gluten-free recipes that I’ve collected, and I choose several things to cook during the week. I also try to plan crock-pot meals for nights we are going to be out late, but sometimes I end up buying a salad in town. Monday afternoon, we go to Publix. (Would love to have an Earth Fare nearby, but the nearest one is 1 1/2 hours away.) Publix is about a 15 minute drive. I also usually stop in at the health food store every week for certain snacks and yogurt that isn’t available at Publix. And that’s basically all we do.

  7. The ever elusive meal planning and shopping! Thanks for the template. It’s funny that when I make my list, I end up doing it that way already. My husband actually started doing it that way more regularly.

    I am glad you shared your routine. I usually make a meal plan on Sunday night for the upcoming week and shop on Monday so that I have a relaxed weekend, but I like the idea of getting things started Friday. I really don’t like spending my weekend shopping so Friday still works for me.

    Love the note Cathy posted about writing down her dinners for years. I wish I’d done that. There are so many meals I have made and loved and forgotten…

    Nice to be in company of others as thoughtful about what and how they eat, gather and cook.

  8. Our grocery store,Wegmans ,has an app that is great! You can look up regular purchases, check off items as you pick them up in your cart, scan bar codes to add them to your list, find recipes, and so much more!

  9. We use Evernote that works between iPad, iPhone & android devices. We have lists for Target, Trader Joes, and our regular grocery store.
    Store ads come out on Wednesday so I get ideas from there.
    I buy a rotisserie chicken most Sundays which is the base for 2 meal, I bake gluten free that day too
    We map out the week that day and get anything else I need Monday

  10. I want to say that this website has been a true blessing to our family. I have tried for years to be healthy and cut out processed foods, but I always got overwhelmed and I would then give up. The simplicity of the planning and the templates have made it possible for us to truly put into action what we value when it comes to healthy living. We both work full-time and have 2 small children, and your ease of planning and simple advice works for us. Thanks so much for this template! It’s simple and yet so very helpful.

  11. I have been using Grocery IQ for some time now. My husband and I have it loaded on our iPhones and iPads. Either one of us can add items when ever we need to. There is also a web version you can use. You can set up the aisles in order of your grocery store. It works well and saves paper.

  12. I do the same thing only without the template. I use the Notes app on my phone. Each section of the store has its own area heading – Produce, Dairy, Meat, Frozen, Bulk, and Isles – and as I notice stuff that needs replenishing I add it to the appropriate part of the list. Then when I shop I just delete that item from the list. I never delete the area headings as they are in different colors and it would mean redoing it on the computer, then syncing it back onto the phone. I don’t know if this has made sense but if it has, great :) As far as meals, well, right now my husband is working the night shift so I don’t do much for dinner. We don’t have kids so usually just a salad or some chicken or fish for me. He gets sandwich/salad or leftovers in his lunchbox. I’m afraid that probably isn’t much help sorry! :/

  13. As single Mom with 2 1/2 kids at home currently, a job that requires 40-60 hrs a week time is of the essence. Because of where I live (rural MN) I shop at a regular grocery store, there’s no other options. I’ve shopped at the one store for 17 years now. I grab a paper-reused, and write a list through the week of things we’re running out of. I can write it in order because I’ve used the store so long. I keep a running list of our dinners on the computer, divided into regular, crockpot and very fast (average one day a week I need food start to finish less than 20 mins preferably with time to take dog out and scoop kitty litter within that time and those nights I might not get home at all so crockpot is out). Currently I have about 60 meals on that list accumulated in the 12 years since I became a mother (to a 6 1/2 year old so I hit the ground running). About every 6 weeks I sit down with my calender and write the menu down, taking into account activities etc. A few years ago I started keeping my recipes on Tastebook. Now I can easily access all my recipes and don’t have to flip through cookbooks. A day or two before grocery shopping I look at my calender and write my list, looking up the recipe if I need. While putting my recipes on line took serious time (easier because a lot could be searched for and then copied to site instead of typed in), day to day these measures save huge time. In the summer our menu varies more from my calender as we adjust to garden and farmer’s market, but really those meals (salad or stirfry often) are easy to adjust for and give us a needed break from the routine.

  14. We recently moved from the Phoenix area which is a slight mecca of whole foods stores and farmers markets, to Yuma, which is wonderfully hot and full of farm land but a little lacking on the whole foods grocery type stores and once April hits, good bye farmer’s markets, it gets way too hot:). Fry’s and walmart do a pretty good job on the basics but it might be hard to find some things. Any tips or previous posts I can refer to, I did read the one on organic on a budget, etc…I guess we just do the best we can and go from there! Thanks for all the positive advice and motivation to keep going!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Nicole. One suggestion would be to freeze as much fresh produce as you can for the time being. That can help get you through your “dry season”. Best of luck! ~Amy

  15. Barbara Pagoto

    I always shop with a list. And I always use coupons for items that I want to save money. If you’re not using coupons and reading the store flyer for sales you aren’t saving money. I make the list before I go shopping and I check recipes to make sure I get all the ingredients I need.

  16. Kelly Hillman

    Thanks for the great list ideas :) I make a shopping list each week, but leaving it out for updates is probably something I should have thought of a long time ago.

    I know you mentioned your Saturday morning trip to the farmer’s market. I don’t know where in NC you are – but you might want to check out Absolute Organics. I was just told about it, and they deliver organic fruit and veggies right to your door! No contract and great prices! They also reward you anytime you refer a friend – so if you decide to check them out and give them a try, I would love if you used my name!

    Thanks again for this great blog – you continue to inspire me and my husband as we pursue a healthy and real food lifestyle.

  17. This is a great template! Your routine sounds a lot like mine. Are you having any difficulties (like I am) with rising prices? I’m finding when I plan 5 meals and get stuff for lunches (all whole healthy food – my list is usually 3/4 produce) and breakfasts, etc my bill is 200-300 dollars a week. Do you find your costs are similar? I have a family of 3. Thanks!

    1. I honestly have not been tracking our budget very well since lately so many of my food expenses are related to my upcoming cookbook or blog posts (i.e. more food than we would normally need due to testing). I am sorry I can’t help you with a better answer!

  18. I agree, I have found that if I plan out my meals, I can shop only once a week between Natural Grocers, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (I usually just go to one or two a week) and I don’t have to go to the”regular” grocery store. I just write the meals for the week out in my planner and then make the list out before I head to the grocery store on Mondays. I just add the staples we always use and I’m ready to go.

  19. I have a magnetic list on the fridge so I can write down supplies as I run out, when I am most likely to remember to write it down. Then after I plan out my weekly menu I add any remaining items.

  20. Hi, I loved this blog. I have always shopped with a list (well my late husband did as I hate shopping!!) and I always planned a weekly menu, but I love this template which takes it to the next level. Thank you for sharing. I have printed up 10 of these even though at the moment I am ordering on line apart from what I can get at the Farmer’s Market. Thanks again!

  21. I love trying new recipes, so I put them in my Cook’n recipe software, which allows me to drag the recipes I want to try into a menu section and then use that menu to print a grocery list which you can add extra items to that you need but aren’t in any of the recipes. You can check off what you already have before you send it to the printer so it doesn’t include things you already have. I print it on recycled paper.

  22. I’ve tried several apps and the best I’ve found is an app called Paprika. It pretty much does it all:
    -syncs with all your devices (iPhone, iPad)
    -easily add recipes from lots of sites as well as your own recipes. Formatting is super easy. On most sites you can just click save recipe and it will be saved to your recipe list already formatted.
    -maintain several grocery lists organized by dept
    -has a meal planning feature
    -easily adds ingredients from your recipes/meal plan to your list.

  23. Our family does the main grocery shopping once a month. It is the most economical way to shop (it takes 20 minutes for you to drive to the store every week–multiply that out, and you are spending over an hour driving only one way to the grocery store–not to mention the gas/CO2 emissions). Most staples will keep for a month (peanut butter, flour, sugar, etc…)–you just have to be sure to buy enough to last that long. We get our fresh produce at the farmer’s market each week during the summer. Try starting out by shopping every 2 weeks at first, and making it longer between each trip. If we all did this, think of the money, energy, emissions, and time American’s would save!

  24. I have been using the Fresh 20 meal plan for the last 6 months that I found on your Web site…..our whole family loves it!!

  25. I keep a dry erase board on the refrigerator to write down things we need. I receive a box of organic fruits/veggies from door to door organics every other thursday right now. I start planning some dinners with what I end up with. For example, last week we ended up with 7 tomatoes! So we had tomato basil frittatas for sunday breakfast, grilled cheese with bacon and tomato for lunch and then the next day we had blt pasta for dinner. Tonight we are having quiche made with zucchini because I have some of that to use up. I organize my grocery list into departments before I shop, but am still looking to streamline where I shop. I hate to have to go to multiple stores but have yet to find one with a good selection of organics. I have been buying grassfed beef and amish chicken from my local butcher.

  26. Off topic, but this being your most recent post I’m hoping you’ll see it. I am curious what you suggest for eating first thing in the morning to alleviate morning sickens. Use to use saltine’s but those don’t follow any real food guidelines so now I’m looking for something new. Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Lindsey. I so remember those days. How about you just try a whole grain cracker like Ak Mak? It should have a similar effect. Best of luck and congratulations!!~Amy

  27. I have to be organized, and have a definite list. In our small town there’s no organic offered anywhere. So I drive 45 min to the closest store with organic offered., but still can’t get all I need. So once a month I travel to whole foods or fresh market and they are both 90 miles away. I stock up.. I also use vitacost, amazon, and us wellness meats online for other things. It’s a challenge and not a convenient one at that.!

  28. I use a template I created in Excel that has 9 boxes on a 1/2 sheet of paper (so when I print, I print 2 at a time): meat, produce, dairy, bakery, frozen, canned, dry goods, miscellaneous and cleaning (although I rarely put anything in the cleaning isle since I make most or buy someplace other than grocery store). The items I buy every week like milk and fruit are already typed on there. On the other side of the template is the weekly menu. I usually print 5-6 pages at a time and keep them on my desk.

    So first I go to the menu side, write in any appointments we have that week that may affect cooking/eating times (doctors, sports, meetings, playdays, etc.) Then I decide on lunches and dinners and write those down. I use the menu list, go through my pantry and freezer and see what I don’t have, then list anything I need to buy on the shopping side of the list.

    I usually make the list up on Friday and go shopping some time between Friday and Sunday, occasionally, I’ll go on Monday if I didn’t get to it earlier. After shopping, the menu side gets posted on the fridge so everyone knows what is for dinner each day or if it’s an FFY (Fend For Yourself) night. We usually do FFY on Wednesdays because kids have church groups and dad gets home while we’re gone. Posting the list on the fridge also keeps people from snacking on main ingredients they know for sure is for a dinner.

  29. I’ve tried lots of different ways to keep my list and finally settled on the website ziplist.com. This website allows me to collect recipes I see on the web and add the ingredients to a shopping list. I can make custom lists (e.g. things I buy every week), then add new item to it. I use it on my smart phone, ipad and laptop.

  30. I am so incredibly disorganized that I end up going grocery shopping nearly every day!! I usually do it on my lunch at work, though, and I’m lucky because there is a good grocery store 600 metres from my work : )

  31. How about picking up a piece of paper out of the recycling bin at home or work, jotting down your list then when you get home, putting it back in the recycling? No need to waste more paper to print cutesy templates or purchasing special stationary. Don’t waste your time or money. Just sit down with hubby, family, whoever, make the list and then go shopping.

    1. Oh yes, and as for our routine for grocery planning/shopping. most weeks, we do it on Sunday. My husband is a vegetarian, I am pregnant with 80% chance of having Gestational diabetes again, and my toddler seems to only want to eat toast. So meal planning takes a lot of time and consideration at our house. We plan and shop together on Sunday. We post the breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinners for the week on the cork board in our kitchen so we know what we are having. When schedules change, we move the meals around. We always have a freezer meal night that we pull into use if I am sick or husband has to work extremely late.

    2. Glad to know that I am not the only one grabbing scratch paper from the recycle bin for my lists.

  32. I just starting using the free excel template from thenourishinghome.com to create my meal plan and then a plain notebook to write out my list. I usually make out my plan on Thursday or Friday and go shopping on Friday or Saturday morning. I do categorize my list by produce, refrigerated items, produce, frozen and misc.

  33. We use the Cozi family organizer app for the grocery list and keeping all our schedules in order. We have the computer set up right in the kitchen with a large monitor so anyone can add to the list at any time (even our 7 y/o has learned how to use this app!). We also plan our meals a month at a time and have a large menu board that serves as both décor and function. We rarely repeat a meal in a month. When we get to the last week of the month I bring out all the meal cards (usually during dinner) and ask the family to pick their choices and suggest any new ideas. We have found that this significantly reduces the whining about what’s for dinner since the whole family has designed the menu and it makes grocery shopping so much easier since we shop every two weeks (except for fruits/veggies).

  34. I am old school… I use a small notebook. :) I’ve tried using various apps but I’ve not liked any of them for various reasons. I’ve also looked at menu planning pads but they usually run Sun-Sat and our food week runs Fri-Thur so it’s just easier for me to use a blank slate. Also, I LOVE to cook and try out or develop new recipes so much of my life revolves around food.

    I usually make the menu on Wednesday by first seeing what we already have onhand in the freezer or have stocked up on the previous week. Then I go through my binder of recipes I want to try and see what new things I can make. Friday and Monday’s meals tend to be the easiest with more involved dishes on the weekends. After I get the menu set, I make a preliminary list on scratch paper of what we need for each day then I add the usual things I get each week and anything that’s been written on the whiteboard on the refrigerator that we are out of or low on.

    Thursday, I rewrite the list in the notebook in order of the aisles at the grocery store (which I have memorized) and add anything else that I can think of that we need. I also look at the flyer for the store to see what is on sale that I can stock up on for the following week’s menu or that can be used to this week’s meals.

    Friday is grocery shopping day after work. And then the cycle repeats. :)

    I have an allergy to any sort of additive or preservative so I am basically forced to follow a real food diet unless I want to be in pain all the time. It’s one of those allergies that is actually a good thing, in a way, because it forces me to stay away from the “lab foods” which results in the rest of the house having to cut way, way down as well. :)

  35. Thanks for posting this!! I am a stay at home mom with an active 17 month old and was looking for some organizational tools to help with cooking dinners at home. I find it’s tough juggling everything and staying on top of cooking homemade meals. Love posts like these that give tips on doing just that!

  36. Hi Lisa, very timely, I just did a blog post on this same topic called “Eat to Run: Kitchen Tour for Runners.” I’ve been meal planning and shopping for two weeks at a time for several years and have made lots of adjustments along the way. Just got to a place where I’m using a “checklist” template with all of the items I normally buy printed on a sheet of paper arranged like the grocery store. Makes list-making much easier. http://www.run52cincinnati.blogspot.com/

  37. I shop to keep my store cupboards full, and buy items that are on offer or look good, then I decide what to cook on the day or the day before according to what I have time for or fancy.

  38. I use an iPhone app named “Shopper”. I can create multiple lists by store, add & remove aisles and items, assign favorite items that always need to be on my list so they appear automatically, enter quantity, price, tax rate, coupon discounts, etc. so I know what I’m going to spend. I can send the list to my husband’s iPhone if he’s going for me. This has worked well for me for a few years now so I’m sticking with it.

    I do my main shopping at Whole Foods because I can get nearly everything I need there, but there a few times I get from other stores and the farmer’s market. I’ve found that I have to shop twice a week and I can’t avoid it so I’ve accepted it – one big trip on Saturday and one quick stop mid week.

    I do a lot of leftovers – I make two pans of lasagna or enchiladas and freeze one for another night. We do breakfast for dinner a couple of times a month which everyone loves (pancakes, eggs and bacon, hello?). Stir fry is good for a hectic night because steaming rice in the rice cooker is a no-brainier and frying the meat & veggies is super fast. We also eat out about once a week so that saves me time (but not money).

    I have to come up with a dinner plan to cover about 5 nights a week which is a task when you have two small kids, work fulltime, and have a spouse that works fulltime and attends college. We just do whatever works that week and it is not always my dream menu, but it works for our lifestyle.

    Let me reiterate, leftovers and frozen meals made in advance are my rocks.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Kerri. We try to buy in season as much as possible and purchase organic produce from the grocery store. Our farmer’s market is open all year but there is little produce, obviously, during the coldest months. ~Amy

  39. I find whatever fruits and vegetables are on sale, usually at Aldi, and figure out what to do with it. :) Green peppers usually mean fajitas, but this week I made Philly cheesesteak casserole, without the meat. LOL! Delicious. I fill in with food storage. I always buy the same things, so all in my head.
    Which is easier to do with most of the store I don’t shop. :) Mainly the perimeter. And I make most things from scratch. Crackers are easy and delicious, especially with a pasta machine.

  40. I use ShoppingList App on my IPhone. You can put everything in categories, have seperate shopping lists for different stores, put in the amount you want, and best of all you can sync to other devices. If my husband adds something to the list on his phone, it adds it to mine! It’s easy, and you never forget your list! You should download the free version to check it out, but I highly reccomend buying it for all the features.

  41. I have a running list on my phone. I just use a basic notepad app. I used to edit the list in order of aisles in stores (I used to stop by Whole Foods and get what I had to get there, then Kroger to get what I could get there…but I have since moved and I’m still trying to get it all figured out). I used to write out a meal plan, but now I basically do it in my head. Hoping to find some great farmers markets in my new neighborhood now that it is getting warmer!

  42. We have a similar pad that is a magnet on the side of the fridge so when one of us notices we are low or running out, we write it on the list (most of the time my husband remembers to do this!). Then every Sunday morning I look at 2-3 of the stores flyers near us that have the best food for the value and plan out my meals accordingly. Generally my husband goes to the store we get the most food at on Sunday after I’ve made the list (with the kid too so I get some “me” time!). Then on Mondays we go to the other(s) stores when running errands or when he’s on his way home – usually it’s only a couple items but it’s worth it for us to make the extra trip. The trips overall are quick because we do it weekly and we’ve got all our meals planned and who’s cooking what!

  43. My friend has a fun online stationary (and much more) company called Scribbles ‘N Such. She has a cute meal planning pad with the days of the week on one side (for writing out each day’s meal) and then a perforated shopping list section on the right. So I make my meal pan and write my list at the same time. For any “old school” folks who like to see it all laid out, this pad of meal planning sheets is great! And it has a magnet on the back if you want to hang it on the fridge. Did I mention it’s adorable? I used mine today! I like Lisa’s template for all the regular items we need each week. But I’ll definitely keep using my pad for meal planning. Here is a link if anyone is interested. http://scribblesnsuch.com/calendars-planners/. And no, my friend has no idea I’m bragging on her stuff.

  44. I use Pepperplate. I upload or paste in my favorite recipes, put them on my meal plan calendar and it saves the ingredients to my shopping list. I just take my Kindle to the store and check things off as I go. Easy peasy!

  45. I go backwards, apparently. We participate in a produce co-op that happens in our town every other week, and you get what you get. So, every other Saturday morning, we see what came, and what meat we have, and then meal plan for two weeks around that. I don’t buy a lot of “cupboard” food, so shopping for the missing pieces is pretty easy. I need to be better at planning for on the road lunches when the kids are gone for sports events. Those are usually my one-off grocery trips.

  46. I made my shopping trips faster and easier like this: One day I went to my favorite store with a pad and pen and without doing any shopping. I walked up and down each row following the path that I would take if I were food shopping. Under each row # I wrote down every possible item I might buy in that row. When I got home I typed up a master list. Now when I make my list, I refer to the master. Not only does it help me remember items that I might have forgotten to include, but the items on my list are written in the order that I will encounter them in the store. I no longer go back to rows I finished looking for items I overlooked….Especially timesaving in CostCo where there are row #s but no lists of what is in each row.

  47. This is too funny. By accident I deleted my grocery list on my iPad today & there was no wifi at the store for my online (Plan To Eat :0))) :0))) ) back up list. Thankfully, I got everything I needed for the week. This accident & your post is ironic. Just made me smile. I enjoy the great tools & resources your website provides. Thanks for providing insight into wholesome, real food.

  48. There are some things we do coupons for and we’re still on a food budget. I’ve done a similar thing, except most things are grouped by produce, the quantity, price per unit and then the other cells calculate the rough estimate. For example, we had a coupon on organic spring mix it looked like:

    item # unit total coupon total
    spring mix 2 2.00 4.00 -1.00 3.00

    Then there is a sum at the bottom that keeps us on track. It helps for my husband to go to the store, too. I can just give him the list and coupons and he can go.

    1. I didn’t finish writing…

      We have a rough rotating list of meals. Most meat is already frozen and are our go-tos to build a meal around. We shop the produce that is on sale with the fliers, so I add that to the list. We tend to go between two stores and it helps to watch deals, etc. (organic apples were on sale for 1.50. Hello. We bought 10 pounds and froze those bad boys!).

      I check the cabinet every two weeks or so and hit the co-op for the bulk stuff. This requires more planning, as I usually take containers to fill up and we need containers, labels, etc. so that we can get them tared out.

  49. I don’t have a list. I go shopping every day or every other day and I look to buy whatever is on sale or looks good. Only while at the store I think about what I will cook for dinner. I find that, while I am at the store more often, I don’t necessarily spend a lot more time there. I shop the outside aisles, so it does not really take long. If I have left over items, I will use those for the next meal, just add to it. We never waste anything. I grew up in Romania without processed food or frozen food and I just can’t imagine shopping only once every two weeks.

    1. Having spent considerbale time in Europe, I appreciate and envy your European roots.lk

      My problem, which is shared by many Americans, is that we are pressed for time constantly. I leave for work at 6:45am and I get home with my 2 small kids around 6:15pm. When I say I have no time to shop during the week, I’m not exaggerating. Popping into the market multiple times per week is not possible with our schedules and my demanding job as a social worker and the only chef in the house.

      I wish like Hell we had a more relaxed, reasonable lifestyle, but it isn’t possible given our culture and lifestyle right now. I hope this changes, but I have to live where and when I am. Frozen meals save my sanity and allow me to work to pay my mortgage and fund my kids’ college.

  50. I use an app for my iPhone called AnyList. It was free and I have even happy with it. I always hated writing a paper list. I would write down all the items I needed and the. Organize them according to the grocery store. It was time consuming and I always dreaded it. Now, when I meal plan or even when I just see that we are getting low on a certain item, I pick up my phone and add the item to my list. It automatically categorizes the items for you. The other thing I live about this app is that you can have multiple lists, so I have a grocery list, a list for Home Depot, a list for Target, etc. also, the app is shared with my hubby who can add things to the list on his own phone. This also works great when he is out and stops at the store…he can just check the list and buy what is needed. I love it and no more paper lists that I have to worry about making and not losing while I’m at the store. Oh yeah, and it’s free! :)

  51. I feel like this is more or less what I do. I guess the way you explained it makes it really easy for anyone to adapt to their needs and habits. Thanks for the printable grocery list templates!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Leslie. We shop both but Lisa does the bulk of her store shopping at Earth Fare. ~Amy

  52. We are part of a local organic co-op so we pick up 90% of fruits & veggies (and occasionally dry or frozen goods) on Friday afternoons so I take into account what produce we got before meal planning ex. This past week we got shiitake mushrooms & Bok choy..stir fry it is! I have regular staples we get weekly for breakfast and lunch …string cheese frozen organic waffles bananas etc we get our milk raw from a local dairy and sometimes our eggs…I can’t wait until our chickens start laying in a month or two!!

  53. I keep a running list on my phone. There are certain things I only get at Costco, who is starting to carry a lot of organic products! Then I usually go to Sprouts for all of my produce. The rest of the stuff I usually get at Fry’s.

  54. I have a basic word document template that’s organized by aisle and I check things off as I need them. I only have the things I buy most frequently listed by name with extra “other” slots for those less purchased items. Sometime Tuesday to Wednesday I ask for any requests from my husband (the 2.5 year old doesn’t request anything beyond ice cream Hah!) and make a meal plan for the next week. I then pull out the recipes (normally from my personal recipe collection or a new one I’ve printed off) and fill in the rest of my grocery list. I shop Thursday mornings (b/c it’s less busy with my 2.5 year old) at our military base’s commissary. For the more unusual items that I occasionally need, there’s a store w/n 10 min drive that I visit. I don’t often miss an item but if I do the commissary is very close by (we live on base too.) The organic selection is not great at the commissary, but I haven’t made the switch with very many things yet though we do eat “real” foods for the most part. We have a co-op grocery store downtown (mostly organic and local,) but I rarely go – part is still adjusting the budget and part is the drive/convenience factor with a 2.5 year old. It’s a 30 minute drive one way and I have to pay for parking. Also, the aisles are very narrow and I spend at least half the time redirecting grabby hands from the glass jars. I can hit the commissary during a slow time and be door to door done in 1 hour.

  55. I do a 2 week menu plan and shop for 2 weeks at a time, every other Thursday. My Master Grocery List is a word document organized in the order I shop the store (perimeter, then inside aisles). All our common purchases are pre-printed, so all I have to do is circle what we need. There are blank spaces to write in unusual items. I keep it on the side of the fridge to add to in between shopping trips. My rule is…if I run out of something, we do without (except milk, that is the one item I will make an emergency trip to the store for). My menu planning is done in powerpoint, 14 slides for 14 days. Usually 3-4 are leftover meals, so those are easy. My daughter gets to pick a meal each cycle from a cookbok I give her to look at, then she helps me cook it. I have found that I save $30-40/week by shopping only every 2 weeks. We are a family of 4 and eat for $100-125/week on the 2 wek cycle. I have no idea why it saves so much money, but it does!

  56. Paprika app for iphone/ipad changes my life when i started cooking! App stores hundreds of your recipes, has a built in web browser for recipe searching, has a grocery list AND a meal planner! Worth every penny!!

  57. We’re luck enough to have a local farmer who delivers. So we get produce and eggs delivered on Thursday afternoon. Saturday morning I write up a menu for the week based on what produce I have and what’s on sale at Whole Foods. I supplement with organic offerings from our local grocery which has a surprising amount of organic choices, not only in produce, but on the shelves (like tortilla chips and salsa, pasta sauce, etc) and in the dairy department. My menu runs Sunday through Saturday. Then on Sunday, I can bake, soak beans, and get all kinds of things prepared to make cooking dinners much easier!

  58. I have an organized template by isle/groups for our current Commissary (we’re military). It really helps when I go through the store. I do a lot less impulse buying and I blase through the store!

  59. My husband and I do our meal planning together. We ask the kids what they would like to eat, think about what we want. We look over our cookbooks and our schedules to make a meal plan for the following week. We make several lists because we shop different stores (chain grocery store, Costco, food co-op). On Sundays we divide and conquer. We usually make several calls during the shopping to discuss specials we find and compare prices. It is a little tiresome but it works for us!

  60. An old version of Microsoft Word had a grocery list already made with items listed by categories. I just edited the list to include our most commonly purchased items, then t and put it in order of my grocery store. I shrunk it to get 2 copies on one side of a sheet of paper and then I print it front and back. So from 1 sheet of paper I get 4 lists! Cut down the middle and hang the stack on the fridge. Everyone in the family can easily go check the box of any item that we need, or write in something that’s not there. I’ve tried using my phone, but for some reason, I’m just a pen and paper kind of girl!

  61. My husband does 98% of the shopping. He creates a list in order of how things are placed in the store. He gave up writing it because he can’t read his own writing, instead he has a word document with the brands I like so when I tell him I need toilet paper he’ll know what to get. He’s getting better at picking produce also but hopefully my garden will give us some fresh stuff soon! Love the excel file thanks for sharing it :)

  62. Generally, I shop at Wegman’s. I keep the list on the fridge, then before I go, I put my list in on the web site. That way I know how much I’ll be spending and when I print the list out, it is organized by aisle. It saves me from back-tracking (unless I suddeny remember a forgotten item) and helps me stay on budget.

    1. Have you tried the new Wegmans app? You make your list from a complete store inventory or they have
      a record of your previous purchases. It separates each section of the store and each item has a picture, full description and current sale price. It is so easy to use.

      1. Melinda, I’d love to! But I don’t have a smart phone. The web site works pretty much the same way. If I log into my account, it has my last shopping list. Then I can search any item in the store withpictures and price, or I can switch to a tab with my previous purchases to make life easier. I like that it keeps a total at the bottom of my list. It makes it easier to stay within budget. I love that store! I don’t have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods nearby, so Wegman’s is king.

    2. I bought a gift card from my favorite grocery store about a year ago and each month I reload it with a set amount. I use this card when shopping and I tend to go about once a week. The receipt always tells me my remaining balance on the card. This has really helped keep me on budget.

      1. Marissa, I love that idea! I’d never thought of that. Thanks for the tip! Sharing that one on FB. I have friends who’d appreciate the idea. Thank you!

    3. I LOVE the Wegmans website. I make my shopping list there every week. Even if I end up shopping at Trader Joe’s I make the list on Wegmans’ site.

  63. Melissa Shirts

    Thank you for the idea and post about your routine! I’m always looking for ways to improve our eating routine throughout the week and know I need to plan the slow cooked meals more during this time especially because my son is in baseball 3-4 times a week. I use this application called Cozi, so that anyone in the family can enter in a cupboard staple item into the app at anytime. I also plan our meals on Friday and get our list ready. Hit our CSA farm on Sat. and local market for the rest.

  64. Several years ago, I created a master shopping list. Under each category, I added all of the products I use regularly, including brand names for many just in case someone else has to shop for me, along with check boxes and blank lines for extra items. The list is very personalized, of course. I keep several on a clip board hanging in my pantry and just check off things as I run out or get low.

    1. I do this very same thing…though I am a highlighter lover so I heighlight an item we need when we run out of it. I use different colored highlighters depending on where I am going to purchase the item (grocery store-orange, costco-pink, target/walmart-blue, etc). I catorgorized the list by my favorite grocery store and how I shop within the aisles. It is so easy for me…I’ve been doing this for about a year now and I can’t tell you the time it has saved me.

  65. I have an app called Grocery List on my iPhone. I have a list for each category (bulk bins, dairy, meat, veg, etc) and everything I buy already on that list. Then I tap to add the check to each item that I need on that trip and uncheck it when it goes in my basket.

  66. Ziplist!! Best thing ever. All my fave recipes from all over the web in one place plus you can add your own. Plug them into your calendar and add them to shopping list in one click. I just pull out my phone and all items are automatically organized in store order. Saves me a ton of time. It takes a while to get it set up at first. I just added the recipes I needed for the week one week at a time. Now I only add a recipe or two a week. Meal planning and making my list would take me about an hour. Now I’m done in about 15 minutes. Heavenly. Oh and it’s totally free.

    1. Thanks for the tip about ziplist !! WOW what a great program (and free – I LOVE FREE!! lol) I went ahead and also downloaded the app for my cell.. This will make life SOOO much easier!!

  67. I use Plan to Eat. It’s so worth the annual price (and usually they have a half-price special that kicks in after your current subscription is set to expire). I store my recipes; have access to my friends who also use the site (therefore I have instant access to more than 1,000 recipes wherever I am, which is awesome when you’re at the beach or family’s house for the holidays); I can plan my meals for the week and have it generate my shopping list from the ingredients from that menu; and I can keep a list of “pantry” items which can be easily moved over to my shopping list when necessary. I’ve been meal planning for 10 years and I have to say that this is the one online tool that is invaluable. Oh! And if I can’t get to the store, I can send it electronically to my hubby and he can do the shopping. All items are categorized by aisle, as well. LOVE IT!!!

  68. Thanks, this template would help me. Like you, I don’t like writing my grocery list at all.

    I always tell myself to come up with 4-5 grocery lists with dinners and then when I’m not feeling like looking through cookbooks and recipes and making one from scratch, I can just pick one of those already set grocery lists and then add breakfast/lunch items to it. But I have yet to do that!

  69. Jennifer Scogin

    In Response to Dori, asking about bulk Whole Wheat flour…

    I buy all my flours, oils, pantry type stuff from vitacost.com (Use this referrel link – http://www.vitacost.com/Referee?wlsrc=rsReferral&ReferralCode=60108892)

    I find it cheaper than the stores I shop at (I do not shop at Wal-mart so I can’t vouch for that). I just keep all my staple items on the set & save and make sure my total gets to $49 so that I get free shipping. This is also where I buy California Baby stuff for my son, some of the vitamins we use, etc.

  70. With my husband back in school full-time, I’ve made the grocery budget a priority. I do one large monthly shopping trip, knowing that I’ll have to do a small supply run weekly for milk and/or fresh produce. Plus, I force myself to stick to the list — reducing impulse purchases is the best way to stay on budget. At the end of each month, I plan our meals for the month (roughly — menus might shift within a week based on leftover availability), make sure we have what we need for each meal, plus assess what staples need to be replenished, then organize the list by the aisles of the store so I can move fast. Then I make sure to mark the list for any coupons (I’m not a “coupon-er,” I just check what’s on sale), so I know which sales apply. We haven’t gotten the budget down as low as I might have hoped — it’s still about $650/month for our family of three, including maybe one meal a month “out” — but I never have to wonder what I’m going to make for dinner the next day, we never resort to fast food, and I only spend about an hour a month shopping for food.

  71. Coincidentally, I have just revamped my menu planning and grocery shopping system to test out the program ZipList for my business The Whole Pantry. What an incredible change for the better. Based on your general process, it seems like it would work really well for you. I like that I can have lists for different grocery stores and also have added CVS and the Farmers Market. And when it comes to meal planning, I go through recipes at the beginning of the week like you. But all I need to do is enter the recipe’s URL into ZipList and it will automatically add the ingredients to my my specified list, giving me the option to uncheck items I already have. Another great feature is that others in the family can add to the list via the computer or phone app. Other features include a recipe finder, weekly meal planner and grocery deals. I think this is the first week ever that I won’t be going to the store at least 4 more times to grab food for dinner or general items I’m out of. Give it a try!

  72. Jennifer Scogin

    I used to use my own excel spreadsheet but then I would have to remember to print it (it would be on my work computer and I would forget when I got home, etc) then I would have to give the paper to my husband or carry it and try to write on the floppy paper, etc. (needless to say, I wasn’t happy with that), then I started using Grocery Gadget app and online. That was much better because my hubby had the same app and I just had to make sure I put my list on there (other plus was you put your recipes and ingredients and could quickly add those on the shopping list). We used this for several years and it worked well and on good days I had a separate list for every store (Whole Foods, Costco, etc). However the phone app sometimes didn’t work right. Now we have been using the Cozi calendar/app/etc. and the past few weeks have been putting my list on that and my hubby says he likes that app better than the grocery gadget one. I think, for us, since we both work outside the home, something online or that has an app that both of us can see at any given time works best for us.

  73. some great ideas! I suppose my process is similar to many above, in that I do keep a running list, digitally, with headings for section of the grocery store. I receive my CSA basket on Friday and while I would love to go to the farmer’s market for anything extra and then the main grocery story on Saturday, mostly what I do is meal plan and shop on Monday, and I pick my grocery store based on what ends up on my list (i.e. if I am buying meat I am sure to go to Whole Foods instead of HEB). I’ve also been keeping track of grocery prices so I know what to stock up on at a particular store, as I don’t have time to go to multiple.

    I don’t think I have seen Cozi mentioned (as a phone app and website). I like it because I can continuously leave things on the list and just check them off/cross them off as I go, then uncheck when I need to buy things again. possibly other things do that too, I just haven’t used them.

    I’ve started (maybe 8 months ago? longer?) writing down the meals we eat so that when I am trying to plan meals for a particular season, I can sometimes just go look at an earlier week and copy whatever we ate then and not have to think about it. :) I would love to just have rotating meal plans but with the CSA I need to have more flexibility, so even if I plan to have whatever regular theme nights, my grocery list has to be adapted. oh well, we love the CSA!

  74. I’m such a meal planning dork, I loved reading how others do it! I have an Excel file for planning my meals. Each week I copy the previous week’s tab and edit accordingly. I have a column to list activities so I can plan around those. As for my actual meal plans, I try to base them either on what I already have on hand (usually protein items) and what’s on sale that week at whatever store I’m going to. There’s a health food store here (Sprouts) that has double ad Wednesday, where the previous week’s ad and the next week’s ad are both good, so I try to go then and stock up. I put my list in an email so I can just send it to myself and pull it up on my phone at the store. I roughly organize it by store section…produce together, meats together, middle aisle stuff together, dairy, etc.

  75. For years we have used a free app, that also has a website, called Our Groceries. It works on iphones, Android, and via the web, to synchronize all your lists, grocery or not, between any devices you authorize.

    I can add an item to a list on my phone, delete an item on another list. Then when my wife opens Our Groceries on either her phone or the website, the lists are updated with my changes. It works in near real time, which can be a blessing when last minute items get added to the list while you are AT the grocery!

  76. I’ve been trying to reduce our paper use (and subsequent output). I use Evernote (a program/app) for our weekly schedules (and lots of other things), with the bonus that my husband shares the folders and can add/subtract items. I write in a meal idea for each day in Evernote and he can contribute without me asking. I use an app for my iPhone/iPad (that is also shared) to keep our grocery list. If we update the app as we see something is running low, either of us can stop at a store and the complete list is available and updated immediately. The efficiency is fantastic, with the added bonus of not generating more trash.

  77. I keep most of my recipes in Evernote, where I have them tagged by type (beef, pasta, meatless, etc.). When I make them, I even tag them with my family’s rating.

    I create my meal plan in Google Calendar. I created a calendar called Food to keep it separate from other kinds of events. This makes it easy to see if I don’t need to plan for a particular day because we’ll be out. Also, if something comes up and plans change, it’s easy to move the dish to another day.

    Finally, I use GroceryIQ (http://www.groceryiq.com/) to create my grocery lists. Once a week I go through the meal plan and add everything I need to my list. GroceryIQ has let me create different “stores” and I’ve set each up with aisles that match the stores’ layouts. Then I take my phone with me and fire up the app and my list is in order!

  78. Zip List and Pepperplate organize your list automatically, and there are apps for your smartphone so your list is with you at the store…with convenient check boxes as you shop.

  79. I use The Project Girl’s meal planner. It has one column where I list the meals we’re having each evening and then the other side of the page is a grocery template broken down by different aisles/departments. I plan our menu and fill in the needed groceries.

    Recently I’ve been uploading the grocery list into Evernote. That way I never forget to bring my list with me; it’s always up-to-date on my phone. Sometimes I think other shoppers think I’m a total airhead for walking around the store staring at my phone, but it’s better than the inevitable forgotten items that I needed for a meal!

  80. After I receive my weekly farm share and I look at the sales flyers for my local stores, I make a plan. I’m working on limiting my Trader Joe’s trips to once a month. I have a spreadsheet with everything I buy there as well as the prices and the number of units we go through in a typical month. This helps save money on gas as well as impulse purchases.

  81. I use an app called “Out of Milk” to keep a grocery list on my kindle. I cross items as I go so I don’t forget anything. I don’t keep an aisle number because I don’t always go to the same store. Our farmers market kinda suck so I don’t make the 20 minute trip there. I do go to a market that sells locally raised meat. They often have Groupons so I just buy a bunch of stuff with their Groupon and keep them in the freezer. I plan meals on Thursdays and hit the store Friday afternoons after work/gym. My meals are also based around post-school activities and schedule. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% “real” but I have definitely made some changes this year on the family eating. It’s hard sometimes.

  82. My husband and I just spent this whole past weekend putting a system together on the computer.. It was exhausting. We are trying to keep our grocery budget at 200.00 a week for our family of 5. This is hard to do and takes extreme planning while not forgetting an item and having to go back to the store (those items add up) as well as not use all the flour, butter, eggs, oats, honey, maple syrup ect halfway through the week and have enough to last. We did come up with a meal plan system and a way to track the items we buy weekly and their prices to add them to the grocery list when the meal list is complete. I am with you, as I dislike this part of the week very much. I’m hoping this will make meal planning and grocery shopping combined a more pleasant experience :)
    On a side note: If anyone knows where to buy whole wheat flour in bulk cheeper than at Walmart. I really would appreciate the advice as I go through about 35-40 cups a week baking from scratch.

  83. Ok, our home has gone with a combination of high and low tech when it comes to our shopping list. I have a “white board” attached to the side of the fridge. It has sections for where we shop: Whole Foods; Trader Joe’s; Costco. When we run out or are getting low on items we write them in the appropriate space. Then we take a picture of the board before we go shopping (or if someone is out and about and wants to do the shop, the person at home takes a pic of “the board” and sends it to the shopper). We erase items from the board only when we get home so we have items still needed up there just in case….works like a charm!!! Thanks for letting me share….

  84. I plan our meals and the list on Fridays for the following week and then do the shopping on Saturday. I live in Grand Cayman so our selection of grocery stores is limited and the distance we have to go is also limited. The farmers market is Saturday AM so we hit that for eggs, poultry and veggies then head to the grocery store for everything else. I will not buy things like fresh fish until the day I am actually going to make it and there is always something that we forget as well!

  85. I have a rotating menu, (which I add new recipes to periodically), however, I have all the ingredients saved in onenote, then I just copy and paste them on to another list called ‘grocery list’ in onenote. My DH and I share the account, so we both have access to the list on our phones. We add things as we discover we need them… Yep, I’m a bit of a geek. WORKS really well though.

  86. I have a Word doc that lists (by aisle) most of the items we buy. There is also a section labeled “Trader Joes” since that is not where I regularly shop. My family knows to check it off on the list if we need it!

  87. This will make your life so much easier. I have a similar form in Excel, but I went as far as to create a section for each aisle. Yep. One day I took in a pad of paper and wrote down what was in each aisle. Now I don’t run back and forth through the aisles. Another suggestion – take a pencil to cross the items off the list. I tend to forget things, even if they are on the list, if I don’t cross them off as I put them in the basket. Love all your tips and recipes. Thanks for blessing us with what you do.

    1. That is exactly what my organized friend’s list looks like! She says if her husband has to go to the store for some reason he loves having a “cheat sheet” like that with him.

  88. I generated a master list by looking through our pantry and listing everything and then taking a stack of old receipts and double-checking my list (in case we used it and hadn’t replaced it). Then, I made a master list that stays in a plastic sleeve and it is organized by grocery store area. I can highlight on the plastic and check off with dry erase at the store so I don’t even have to write the items. There is room at the bottom to add new items.

  89. Mona Cameron-Ball

    I have “Master Grocery List” that lists specific items I buy in order of the aisles of my “main” grocery store. On Monday nights, I sit down with my list and on the back plan out my dinners for the coming week, keeping in mind our after school and evening activities for the week. I plan leftovers, crock pot, or super simple meals on the nights when I won’t have as much time to prep and cook.

    I also shop at two other stores; one is a “health” food store, the other is The Fresh Market. There are certain things I always get at these two stores so I make a small list on the back of my Master List for those two stores. When I am planning my meals for the week, I usually have the sale flyers for all 3 stores handy and I try to incorporate the sale items in my meal plans.

    I hit all 3 stores on one day, and then in the summer, when my CSA kicks in, I will have less to buy at those stores.

    My past week’s grocery list with the current week’s meal plan lives in a little folder in my pantry so I know what I’m supposed to be cooking and remember to take things out of the freezer. Next week’s list is on my bulletin board. If I, or someone else in the family, uses the last of something or has a special request for next week’s shopping, they grab a pen and circle the item on the list or write it in, if I don’t have it listed.

    Why reinvent the wheel every week?

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