5 Tips for your Grocery Shopping List

If you go to the grocery store with a grocery shopping list in your hot little hand you can actually save lots of time!

What's more - I've also discovered that if you have a shopping list, there are other benefits. A list means you don't forget items so no need for those extra trips to the shops to buy missing items (while also picking up chocolate, a couple of bottles of wine and some cheese because you couldn't resist!). You eat better since you have all the ingredients for your meals and it's cheaper and easier than buying takeaways.

For me, grocery shopping has always been a chore - I've hated it ever since I became a grown up. Every week I would drag my heels about going, putting if off for another day and buying takeaways for dinner instead of heading to the shops. In a bid to go less I switched to every 2 weeks and also tried monthly.

I struggled when I was working because the last thing you want to do after work and in the weekends is tackle the supermarket. Now that I work from home I have the added hindrance in that my 2 year old pretty much has to come with me - this just gives me another incentive to be organized and to get the grocery shopping done quick smart.

It's Your Battle Plan

I always feel like I'm a warrior heading into battle with fellow shoppers, the traffic, the parking crowds and my daughter. My grocery shopping list is my battle plan.

Remember that old adage "those who fail to plan plan to fail?" Well it's like that with shopping - and if I want to make it through the battle relatively unscathed then I need to have a plan.

#1. Shop Weekly

Unless you live out the back of beyond and can't make it to the supermarket easily, I would advise you to shop for groceries weekly. Any longer than a week and I find that we run out of fruit and vegetables. I also find that if we run out of something we can usually just "make do" for a couple of days until the next shop.

#2. Plan Your Menu Beforehand

I've referred earlier to the time saving value of menu planning for parents but I'll say it again because it's so important.

If you have a menu planned then that means that you can firstly check that you have all the ingredients for these meals on your grocery shopping list and secondly you don't need to brainstorm while you're in the supermarket or when you've come home tired from work - this saves time on both fronts!

If I'm feeling super organized then I'll check out the specials online and base my menu around what's on special. But since my kids are pretty fussy I tend to have our meals on a two week rotation which makes shopping at the grocery store even easier.

#3. Order Your List

I go to the same supermarket each week and I know it pretty well. I write my grocery shopping list in the order that the aisles are in. This saves time because I'm not doubling back to retrieve items.

#4. Check The Pantry

Writing a grocery shopping list means that you won't forget the milk and various other items that get forgotten when you just shop from the top of your head. If you're writing the list at home, get up and quickly scan the pantry and fridge and see if you need anything. If you're cooking dinner and you run out of something then write it on your list straightaway so you don't forget.

#5. Let Technology Help

It's definitely not a necessity but I write my shopping list on my iPhone. The two apps I use are Wunderlist and the Woolworths Shopping App (I live in Australia so am not sure whether other supermarkets worldwide offer this app). Both are free too which is a bonus.

Why the combo? Well, the Woolworths App has a scanner so if I've run out of something while I'm cooking I just scan the item and it goes straight into the list. If I'm writing my list then I just usually use the Wunderlist App. It's a bit of a pain using two apps but I generally only have a couple of scanned items so I just add the items in mentally when I get to the store.

Of course, a pen and paper work equally well and the best thing about this approach is that the battery never runs flat in the middle of your shopping!

I've also experimented with having a template list saved on my computer - these are what I use here. There are two templates - printable grocery list and blank printable grocery lists.

This template is pretty much my actual grocery shopping template - I just print it out and write in the quantities and include any extras in the blank spaces. If I don't need an item, I just cross it out. It's great because it actually prompts me and acts as a reminder - no need to actually think too much.

Check it out and feel free to use it - who knows, this may be one of those time management gems that really help you!

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