The following post is from Lauren of Mama’s Learning Corner:
A couple of years ago, I was drowning in meal planning for my family.
What’s for supper?
What can the kids eat for snacks?
Do we have anything in the fridge for lunch?
When am I going to go to the grocery store??
As a homeschool mama of four that also works part-time from home, it was urgent that I figure out our food situation and fast. I needed this constant issue of food to be taken off of my overloaded plate.
In my dream world, I wanted meals and snacks to be on auto-pilot.
After brainstorming, trying a few different methods, and changing our routine a bit, I finally found what works for our family.
Master Grocery List
One of the biggest keys to my meal plan success has been using a master grocery list. It saves me from reinventing the wheel every single time I make our food plans for the week.
Instead of racking my brain about needed spices and weekly toiletries, I just pull out my list and check them off if we need them.
It’s so simple.
And simple is what this busy mama needs.
Creating Your Own Master Grocery List
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to make your own grocery list:
→ Brainstorm and create categories of food and household items: Fruit, Vegetables, Meats, Dairy, Spices & Sauces, Baking Needs, Toiletries, and so on.
→ With a clipboard in hand, walk through every room in your house and make a list of what is needed in that particular room.
Make sure you don’t skip this step! You won’t believe the items you’ll discover for your list if you take just 2-3 minutes in each room. Bathrooms, laundry room, kids’ room – everywhere.
→ If you’re a paper & pencil person, write your list neatly. Then photocopy your list.
→ If you’re a computer person, make your list using Excel (or similar program). This method is preferred since you can easily add or subtract items, rearrange your list, and easily print copies.
Using Your Grocery List
There are many ways to utilize your master grocery list. Because I like to keep everything in my life as simple as possible, I use check boxes.
If an item is needed during this particular shopping trip, I put a check in the box. If it’s not needed, I mark through it.
As my husband shops from the list, he draws a line through the item he put in the cart.
Once all of the lines are crossed off, he’s finished! So easy.
Tips for Using Your Master Grocery List
Through lots of trial and error, I’ve found the following items to be key in grocery list success:
- Print several copies of your Master Grocery List.
Having to go dig it out and print every time you need it isn’t going to work and you won’t use it. Always have several copies available.
- Keep your copies in the same place.
When it comes time to make your grocery list, you want to easily get your hands on your extra lists and not have to search for them under stacks of paper each time.
I keep mine in the front of my recipe binder.
- Make sure your grocery shopper knows where the list is kept.
My husband is now our grocery shopper (happy dance!), but I still plan all of our meals and snacks. It makes us both happy when the grocery list is where it should be.
- Have your older children help you.
If you have older children that can read, hand them a copy of the list. They can search the bathrooms and pantry to see if toilet paper or toothpaste is needed for the week.
I also have my 7-year-old check things off of the list for me. She’s learning how to manage food for her own family in future years, and she’s practicing her reading skills.
- Leave room at the bottom of your list for extras and add-ons.
Life is full of add-ons, like the one time ever that you buy tahini. Or you have a new recipe that calls for tarragon, which you’ve never used before. Those types of extras aren’t in your usual rotation, so just write those at the bottom in your extra space.
Do you use a Master Grocery List? What are your best tips? Please share them in the comments below!
|Lauren Hill is a happy wife and homeschooling mama to 4 little people, ages 8 to 3. In her spare time (ha!) she creates worksheets and printables for Pre-K to 2nd Graders on a variety of topics. You can follow Lauren and download all of her latest printable goodies by following her on Google + and Pinterest, where she pins daily!|
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Laura Masters says
This was so helpful. Sometimes we just assume that we have it all down–in here. *points to head* But when I get to the store, it all vanishes in the myriad o colors and flavor pushing labels promising culinary bliss. haha
Excellent and extremely helpful! Thank you!
Check with the store you shop at to see if they can give you an aisle directory. It will list the items, and you can setup your list so that you aren’t wandering about the store. Or, if they don’t have one, make a list the next time you shop and do it yourself. We have a store chain in Michigan called Busch’s, and the layout is slightly different per store. But you can do an online shopping list for the store and it will order your items by aisle.