As part of my collected works on getting more organised, I wanted to share the shopping list style that I have gradually developed since I’ve been living independently and organising the food shop.
It’s a small difference to make but I’ve found it speeds up the food shop and saves us money too. My other half is happy to join me in the supermarket, (he pushes the trolley), but he strongly dislikes crowded supermarkets and dithering over produce, so I try to make it as painless an experience as possible.
First of all, the importance of taking a list. My mum takes a shopping list but it only contains items that have run out that she would otherwise forget, like dishwasher tablets for example. She tends to spend a while in the supermarket picking up things she fancies for meals as she sees them. That is fine for her, but I wanted to have a faster system that reduced food wastage and, more importantly, reduced our spending. I started making a plan of what meals we would eat that week ahead of time. That way I can check what we have in the cupboard that may work with it first and only buy what we do not have in already. (Some weeks we barely buy anything because we’re already stocked with frozen stuff and do not need to add much, which is handy when you have big bills coming out at the same time.) I can also make sure that we are eating varied and balanced meals, and that I have a mix of new meals to try and quick, familiar ones to make on the nights when we are busier. If it’s a new meal, it pays to check the recipe again beforehand to make sure I’ve got all the ingredients on the list, and I also take the time to check the quantity of things that we use regularly, like salad and milk.
It’s not a big deal if I forget anything or decide to make a change later because I can get more exercise walking home via the supermarket to pick something up, but not everyone has time to do this so I think it’s important to share a super organised method of conducting your shop.
As you can see from the photo of my shopping list book, I’ve separated the pages into what meals we have this week, to remind myself when I’m in the shop, and what items we need to pick up. This area has been split into fresh groceries and other items. I started doing this because when I wrote it in a random order I tended to accidentally forget something then groan when I got to the till and the only item not crossed out was tomatoes- back at the beginning of the store in the groceries aisle. This way I know I’ve got all the fresh items because I’ve crossed them all off together. Other people may want to do the same with other sections of the store, like the fridge aisles. Maybe I should try that myself actually, as I do occasionally have to double back because I didn’t see pastry on my list when I was in the chilled aisle but now that everything else is ticked off it’s quite obviously missing.
Like I said, it’s a small thing to take time over but feel free to use my obsessive brain to your advantage. What I have honed and thought about for practical reasons, you can just pick up and use! This list means we definitely have everything for our weekly menu and we don’t end up buying superfluous items that never get used. It’s quick and simple, takes little time, and you can do the shop when you’re so tired your brain has switched off. Basically it is much less painful and boring than the food shop can be otherwise.
You are welcome.