My mom, many years ago, created four, bound notebooks for my brother and I which were filled with family recipes, entertaining tips, family heritage, and wisdom. It took her a whole year to complete the cookbooks, and it was truly a labor of love! In one of the sections of the cookbook, my mom had pre-printed 50 shopping list sheets. The list had basic items you would get at the store, and a place where you could check off the items you needed. At first I didn’t really think I would use the lists. I wondered if the shopping list would actually make my list making harder or take more time. However, one day when I was going through the cookbook, I decided to give it a try. I was hooked.
I have changed the list several times over the years in format and in items. Items on the list are listed in the sections in which you would find them in the store. The sections include Dairy, Frozen Foods, Produce, Toiletries, Meats, etc. I do all of my main shopping at one store, but sometimes there are some items on sale at another store that I would like to purchase as well. A separate column on the right hand side is set up to list items you want to get at another store. The purpose of the list is not to be anal retentive. The list helps me to achieve three main goals-save time at home, save time at the store, and save money.
Save Time at Home
The list saves me time at home, because I am not having to write out what I need longhand. If I need an item on the list, I just check the box once if I need one or twice if I need two, etc. Check marks take a lot less time to write than writing out each individual item. Space is left under each section to add items which I need in that section that are not on the shopping list. Space is also left at the bottom of the form to write any miscellaneous items I need. More check marks + Very little if any longhand = Saved time at home.
Save Time at the Store
If you are used to writing out your list longhand, you know the items you list are all mixed together. Your list might look like this:
Do you see that the eggs should be with the milk since they are in the same section? The lettuce should be with the bananas? With a handwritten list, I think there is more time wasted going back and forth through the store for items you forgot to get while you were on that aisle or in that section. With my shopping list, I can check to make sure I have gotten all of the items I need in that section, before I move on to my next section or aisle. Organized sections on the list + Less backtracking = Saved time at the store.
If I have a list rather than wandering around the store trying to figure out what to make for dinner, I will spend less money. If I have to go back to a particular aisle three times for items I forgot on that aisle, it forces me to pass by grocery items multiple times. Everyone knows why milk is in the back of the store, right? The grocery store wants you to walk past as much product as possible to make a sale. The more product you pass by the more likely you are to make an impulse purchase. When I decrease my backtracking and walking around in the store, I save myself from impulse purchases. When I have a list, it also makes me very aware of any item I put into my cart that is not on my list. Less time wandering + Less product I buy = Saved money.
I currently print out my lists in batches of 10-15 at a time so I can just grab a list and start checking off the items I need. Feel free to click on the document link and download the shopping list I use or use it as an example to make your own list. I think Excel works best for list making in landscape layout. I don’t know about you, but I would like to spend less of my time doing the mundane, everyday tasks (like grocery shopping) and more time spending it with the people I love or doing something I enjoy. Give it a try. You might like it!