Some days I love going to the grocery store. If I can leave the kids home with dad, swing by Starbucks on my way in the door, and shop leisurely with a plan in mind of what we’re going to eat this week, it’s really a pleasant experience. As a follow up to my kitchen article, I thought I’d share my “saving grace” plan for the weekly trip to the store…my pre-printed grocery list. I know this may sound obsessive (please recall, I do have a business called Neat Freak!), but it really does make food planning so much easier.
Originally, I saved my hand written grocery lists for about 3 weeks, and I started to see some trends. I realized that about 80% of the items that I purchased were consistent from week to week. So I sat down at my computer and entered in my lists, sorted them into categories, and put them in the same order that they appear in the grocery store. I then added in additional items that I occasionally buy (e.g. olive oil, paper towels, peanut butter, etc.), until I felt like my list was comprehensive. It’s always a work in progress and I still make changes every month or so, but for the most part, it stays the same.
Now, when I sit down on Sunday to plan out our weekly menus and think through what we need, I just go to my list, circle what I need, and I’m all set. I keep 4-5 copies printed out in my kitchen so I always have some ready to use. I stick them to the side of my fridge and as I realize things we’re running low on throughout the week, I just circle them so I don’t forget. Planning is an important part of this process–I have to spend some time each week thinking through our upcoming schedule, sifting through recipes that I may want to prepare, and asking the family what they’re in the mood for. But my pre-printed list makes this super easy–I even added a section on the right hand side to write in the menu for the week. After I finish shopping, I cut this part off and stick it to the fridge so I can remember what’s for dinner.
Do you have an easy way to grocery shop? What keeps you organized with meal planning each week?