Evolution of a Grocery List

Grocery Shopping List

Grocery Shopping List

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I’m not sure about everyone else, but when it’s time to make a grocery list, I have a hard time remembering what I need.  Usually what happens is that I make a list and then get to the store and realize I forgot to put a bunch of stuff on the list or I didn’t check to see if I needed certain items.  Or I get home and realize I forgot some items I really need.

To make my grocery list more accurate, I adopted a practice years ago that has served me well.

  1. As soon as I get home from the store, I put a clean list on the refrigerator.  I’ve been using Franklin Covey’s classic size menu planner for years.
  2. I immediately put items on the list I know I’lll be buying next week.
  3. I add to the list as I think of things or when I notice we’re low on something.  I don’t wait until we’re out of something to buy more – as soon as I open a new jar or bag, I put the item on the list.
  4. The day before I grocery shop, I make my menu and finalize the list.  But except for the items needed for the meals I’m making, the rest of it is pretty much done.

To demonstrate, here are several photos of my list as it evolved during the week:

Grocery List

Grocery List

Grocery List

Grocery List

Grocery List

Grocery Shopping

This method works great for me and saves me time and frustration when I’m getting ready to go grocery shopping.  Do you use a list?  How do you be sure you remember everything?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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12 thoughts on “Evolution of a Grocery List

  1. Only a partial list. It’s comprised on specific items I need for recipes (just dinner). What’s not on it is the regular stuff I want to buy, like fruit for lunch, lunch meat, bread. Seems silly to me to add something that I know I’m going to get, but not always exactly what I’m going to get. Being that fruit is seasonal, I don’t know exactly what fruit I’m getting until I get there and see what’s on sale. Besides, the longer the list, the more likely I am to miss items on the list. I can’t even use a printed one (where you check items you need) or sectioned ones because those elements specifically make me miss even more items. My record for returning to the grocery store for forgotten items was five times.

    For everyone’s amusement, found grocery lists: http://www.grocerylists.org/

    1. Five times! Wow! I think I’ve done three.

      I have to write EVERYTHING on the list because if it isn’t on there, I might not get it. I do make “fruit” a generic category. I wait to see what’s on sale and what’s available and just make it fit my budgeted amount.

      1. I can’t plan that much with what’s available based on sales. I tried at one point, but the stores are catering to families, not solo shoppers. Sales tend to mean wasting food to me because the quantities are not suited to me. Most of what I buy is in the fresh aisle, so I have to be really, really flexible and be willing to change on the spot. I’ve seen trout last week at the store, planned for it on my list, and this week they don’t have it. I’ve planned to buy one avocado because the store usually has singles, and this week they’ve got only bags of three. Or none came in. And I live in a big city! I learned that I really had to be able to change on the spot because sometimes I could try six grocery stores and still find the one item.

        1. It is frustrating to plan something and then not be able to get it. That happens to me, too. It’s good you’re flexible or grocery shopping would be really frustrating!

  2. I keep a running list on my fridge, but that doesn’t help if I’m already out and about and decide to stop at the store on the way home LOL! My phone isn’t fancy so it’s not easy to keep the list on it, though sometimes if I’m on top of things, I’ll take a quick pic of it before leaving for the day. Since I don’t always need to use it though, it’s not a habit. I used to have a wonderful list pad that had the sections of the store, but I used them all and now just have a simple list … need to make my own sectioned list because that’s so helpful to not zigzagging back and forth throughout the store. Hate when I see an item on my list and I was just in that aisle a few minutes before!

    Love your $5 grid idea … much better than trying to keep a running addition problem on the back … simple and quick! Thanks for that!

    1. You know – I never forget my list. I think in 33 years of grocery shopping, I’ve only forgotten it once. I left it on the kitchen table as I was leaving. I never thought of that as being an accomplishment, but given my distractability, I think it is. Maybe I need to write a post about how to remember the list! Thanks for the idea.

  3. I use to have a pre-printed list that was on my fridge. I’d do the highlighter and pen so if it wasn’t pre-printed then I would add it then highlight it. I made my pre-printed grid by collecting for 2 months my quick lists I had made by hand. Then combined them on the page. In the same categories like you have Patty. I found it easier then to use that and have the paper in hand while shopping. I’ve since then changed, after forgetting the list on the fridge! I now have a notepad in my Dropbox program. I have this installed on all my computer devices. My laptop is the main list and this is where I make my list. I’ve taken my basic previous list and made it notepad friendly. I know there are some things I only buy from certain stores. They are listed under the store names. I do coupon so this adds to my ability to have them listed and the sales in addition. Once this list has been saved it auto updates to my Dropbox folder and all across all my devices. It doesn’t matter what device I have with me as long as it has internet connection I can use it to get the list. I use my big 10″ tablet most times for my shopping list. But I have at times used my phone. Hey I’m already in reading glasses so that small print isn’t easy on my eyes! LOL Each store I go to has it’s own list, I try to make the list in the order of the store layout, so when I go in I can start at the top and work my way down the list. I do like your box idea for keeping track of spending. I am going to figure out how I can do that with mine. That would be cool to incorporate into it. With doing this I use simple programs, nothing fancy and everything I use to work it either I already have, like phone/tablet or it’s free with my software or free to download, ie Dropbox or Notepad program/apps. With my programs I can still delete an item once I get it so I know it’s off my list. When I save the file it makes a new named file not removing the original. This way I can still go back if I need to check everything once more.

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