Remember that time you made a grocery list but forgot it at home, so you were left guessing as to what was written on that tiny piece of paper? Or maybe you took it with you, but you were pregnant and hungry, an impossibly dangerous combination to beat, which meant at least 47 unnecessary items were added to the cart. Or maybe you decided not to make a list and just wing it, because life’s too short.
We’ve all been there. And while I’d love to say these are not based on personal experiences, they are (especially scenario number 2). But the good news is, I’ve learned a lesson or two in the midst of these grocery shopping fiascos. So, let’s dive right in!
Creating a Grocery List
Whether you like it or not, grocery shopping is a smoother process when you have a list, especially with kids in tow. Remember the brain block I talked about when it comes to meal planning? That same little devil likes to sneak in while you’re shopping, leaving you stranded in the middle of aisle six, trying to decide if having pasta four nights in a row is too much (the answer is yes). Rather than playing this never-ending mind game, win the round by creating a grocery list.
In my opinion, the best way to create said list is by meal planning. When you create a menu for the week, you not only save yourself the daily headache of “What’s for dinner?!” but you also cut your shopping time in half. Look over your menu, read the recipes, and write down the items you need to buy. There’s nothing worse than starting a recipe and realizing half-way through that you’re missing two important spices. Don’t forget to add in breakfast, lunch, and snack items, too.
What about those items you run out of during the week? Great question! There’s a super cute magnetic notepad by Knock Knock called “All Out Of” that is perfect for reminding you of those items that can fall by the wayside. By keeping it on the fridge, anyone in your home can add things to the list, therefore creating a reminder for you when you shop. (Get it here.)
Not really a paper kind of gal? Try out the iPhone “Reminders” app. My hubby and I share three lists: ALDI, Walmart, and Beuhler’s. Whenever he’s getting low on mustard, he adds it to the Walmart list for my next trip to the store. BOOM. No more eggs? He adds it to the ALDI list. DONE. I love that both of us can add an item to the list on our phones, and it will show up for the other with zero fuss. This has become my favorite way to create our weekly grocery list, because while I’m likely to forget that sheet of paper on the counter, I’m less likely to forget my phone. Plus, we can separate items by store, saving me even more time when I actually go shopping with my kiddos in tow.
Sticking to Your List
Ok, mamas. This is the hard part. Despite my habit of making a grocery list, I am notorious for coming home with no less than seven impulse buys. While there’s nothing wrong with shopping outside the list every once in a while, this habit of mine has slowly leeched 5 dollars here and 17 dollars there, which, by the end of the year, could mean hundreds of dollars. Not to mention that us mamas are notorious for buying way too many veggies in hopes of making our families healthy, only to find they’ve become moldy several weeks later.
While I’m not saying you should stop buying veggies, I am saying that shopping from your list is a discipline. By creating a grocery list from your meal plan, you’ve taken the guesswork out of what and how much to buy, leaving you with a solid game plan that’s based on reason. However, when you start adding items to your cart that look interesting or that the kids are begging for, you’re making decisions out of haste, and you’ll most likely end up with a lot more than you need. Take my advice and only buy what’s on the list (your wallet will thank me)!! Unless, of course, you forgot to add toilet paper; in that case, go nuts.
So, here’s to better habits, faster grocery trips, and happier wallets!!
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated via the affiliate links in this post. All products mentioned are ones that I’ve used, and come with my personal recommendation. I am an independent blogger and all opinions expressed here are my own.