There’s a good chance that grocery shopping isn’t one of your favorite leisure activities. Most of us prefer to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible without any annoying return trips for forgotten items. The key to a quick, efficient and frugal grocery store trip is taking the time to develop a complete, organized shopping list. Here’s how:
Make a master list
Make a print-out with all the items you know you buy every week, and make multiple copies for future use. Don’t forget to leave room at the bottom for any add-on items! You can also search the internet for printable pre-written grocery lists that fit your family’s needs, whether they’re carnivores, vegetarians, gluten-free, paleo or low-carb.
Post the list
Post a copy of your printed list inside the pantry or kitchen cabinet door. Hang a pen with the list. When you or a family member uses the last of a product or sees that you’re almost out, mark it on the list right away. This will help prevent the dreaded return grocery trips for items you forgot to put on the list.
Organize by store layout
Before you make your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly trip to the grocery store, organize a finalized version of your shopping list according to the layout of your preferred grocery store. On your trip, make your way through the store methodically, following along with the order of the items your list. This will save you major shopping time, since you won’t have to bounce around the store for different products.
Include coupons and weekly sales
If you use coupons to cut your grocery expenses, you can use your list as a timesaving feature in that area, as well. Highlight or make a mark beside of each product that you have a coupon for. Put your coupons in order so that they match your list. You’ll then have everything organized so that you can quickly match the coupon to the product and move on to the next item. Check the weekly sales circular to see if you need to add an item with a too-good-to-resist sale price to your final list.
Spending a little time to put together the perfect shopping list means less time in the store, fewer last-minute shopping trips, more free time and, quite possibly, extra money in your pocket.