If the circumstances are just right (i.e. I’m kid-free, not in a hurry, and the store isn’t crowded), I actually kind-of like grocery shopping. The problem, however, lies in actually getting ready to go… I try to be a “good” home organizer and cut coupons, plan my meals, etc. BUT, truthfully, I usually end up with a big mess, a scribbled list of things we “need,” and at least one or two forgotten items (to say nothing of the effort it takes to actually get all the groceries inside the house and put away neatly).
If you are a working mom (or, heck, even just a human being that requires food) you know what a time consuming task the entire act of grocery shopping can be. So, today, while I can’t promise any help getting the groceries put away faster or the meals actually cooked, I am sharing a little “system” that has streamlined the grocery-shopping process and made it A LOT easier for me…
A few weeks ago, Jeff and I took about thirty minutes and took inventory of our entire kitchen. We made note of all the things that we use in a normal week (“basics” like – for us – milk, eggs, cheese, bananas, berries, and oatmeal) and the things we like to keep stocked at all times (peanut butter, canned beans, frozen vegetables, spaghetti sauce, and rice for example) and I typed them up inside a little chart I created in Word.
The chart is, essentially, organized like our grocery store — a section for fresh produce, dairy and refrigerated items, meat, bakery, pantry staples, and frozen foods. Under each category, I’ve listed everything we might need on any given trip to the store.
Of course, we don’t need every item every time, so I simply print a clean copy of the list at the beginning of each week and hang it on our refrigerator. Then, through out the week, when one of us (Sam’s sitter included) notices something we are running low on, we either highlight or add it to the list in the appropriate category.
On grocery shopping days (usually Sunday afternoons), I sit down with the list and cross-reference it with my coupons, meal ideas for the upcoming week, etc.
Since I’ve been highlighting throughout the week, I know what “basics” I need already. That means all that’s left is adding items specific to that week’s meal planning (and I use the term “meal planning” very lightly) to each category, and sorting through my coupons. If I have a coupon for an item, I simply set it aside and mark the item with a little ‘c’ so I know there is a specific brand/size/whatever that I’m looking for.
That whole process takes ten to fifteen minutes and, when I’m all done, I fold up my list, tuck my coupons (only the ones I plan to use) inside it, and head to the store for about an hour of uninterrupted bliss (or something like that)…
It’s really as easy as that… Later, when the groceries are put away, and I’m feeling like super-mom (or something), I print a new/clean copy of the list to hang on my fridge for the next week (since I’ll probably be out of something else in two days), and the cycle repeats itself.
Pretty simple right?
If you think this might help simply your life even just the tiniest bit, feel free to download my grocery list in Word and edit it to fit your needs right here – Family Grocery List
What tips do you have for grocery shopping? Do you like it, or is it one of the chores you dread? Please share!
Love this! Thank you – I already modified it for my weekly shopping. Here’s a question though…where do you find your coupons? Do you use the paper or a coupon site?
We have Stop & Shop near our house and they offer Peapod (home delivery) and scanner shopping so you essentially scan all you items as you shop and bag them in your cart. The scanner keeps a running total of how much you spent. I really like that. Their prices are a bit higher than other stores in my area but I end up spending so much less simply because I’m not blindly filling my cart, unloading it on the belt and then being hit with a $265 food bill! Ouch!
So glad you are able to use the list! I love that Word Press makes it so easy for me to link to the actual Word documents for y’all!
As for coupons, I actually am pretty lame about coupons. Our grocery store (Kroger) sends coupons in the mail once a week (or two weeks) that are specifically targeted to what we typically buy (based on our rewards card) so those are pretty much the only ones I use. I know people save a ton of money with coupons, but I’ve just never had that much success with it all. In general, I make a rule that I only use a coupon on things I would buy anyway – that way I’m not buying silly things just because they are on sale. We’ve recently started shopping the Fresh Market weekly specials as well – I just pick up their weekly ad when I am in at the end of the week, and “plan” my meals around the meat and produce sales for those days.
Stop and Shop sounds AMAZING!
This is genius! So simple and so smart. Love it.
A new favorite post. This will make trips so much easier, especially with a toddler in tow.
Maura & Kristin, I’m SO glad you guys think you’ll be able to use this! It really does help make the whole process of grocery shopping a lot quicker and less stressful! 🙂