Despite grocery shopping for years, it can somehow still be overwhelming. From deciding what to buy, to trying to stay within a budget, to staying motivated and energized to do it week after week, it can get old fast.
The worst part is when you get home from the grocery store only to realize that you forgot something. Or several somethings.
Well, I have discovered a solution.
Use a master grocery list!
I even created a free printable master grocery list for you, to make it super simple!
How to Use a Master Grocery List
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What is a master grocery list?
A master grocery list is a reusable grocery list that you can use to prepare for your grocery trip.
It contains a list of all the foods, ingredients, and household necessities you buy, and you reference it over and over when you write your shopping list.
Why use a master grocery list
Having this itemized master grocery list to refer back to ensures that you won’t forget anything.
Save your brain power for other things! Trying to remember everything, including a grocery list, fatigues our minds unnecessarily.
It’s also a huge time saver! You can just grab your master list and check your pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what you’re running low on.
It can also help remind you of foods or recipes that you made in the past and forgot about, or inspire you create new recipes.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can view my full disclosure policy here.
How to Create a Master Grocery List
Step 1: Download and print the free Master Grocery List
I included most of the common grocery items, and left blank spaces for you to write in your other favorites that aren’t listed.
There is also a completely blank version that you can print out and fill in if you have a specialized diet, or don’t buy many of the items on the other list.
The printable master grocery lists are arranged by department to streamline your shopping further. Sign up below to get yours!
(Note: If you’re already a subscriber, it’s waiting for you in the Freebie Vault!)
Step 2: Brainstorm a list of all the items you buy
Grab a clipboard and walk around your house, jotting down everything you buy at the grocery store.
Make sure to stop in the bathroom and bedrooms too, so you don’t forget personal care and hygiene items.
Add all these items to your master grocery list, within the categories they relate to.
Step 3: Keep your list somewhere convenient
You could laminate your master grocery list, and take it right to the store with you! Use dry erase markers to write in special sale and seasonal items you’re buying that week. And to check off items as you shop.
Or tape the list to the refrigerator or inside your cabinet or pantry.
If you prefer, print a bunch of copies of the master grocery list, and use a fresh one for each shopping trip. Keep them together, maybe in your meal planning binder.
Need help with meal planning? Here are some handy resources:
- 5 Easy Meal Planning Strategies for Beginners
- Free Printable Meal Planning Kit
- Get Started Meal Planning Today with these 10 Super Easy Tricks
Tips for Using a Master Grocery List
Before you go to the store, take your master grocery list around the house, making note of what you’re out of, or nearly out of.
You could put a line through the foods you don’t need, or highlight or circle the ones you do.
If your list is laminated, you can take it right to the store with you.
Of course, you could just reference the master list and make a separate list to take to the store.
Arrange your grocery list in the order you shop the store. If you start in the produce section, put that at the top of your list. Keeping all like foods together on your list prevents backtracking through the store.
The beauty of the master grocery list is that you can adapt it to however works best for you.
You can even make separate master lists for the different stores where you shop.
I have one for Dollar Tree and one for Aldi. There are regular items I buy at each store, and I certainly don’t want to have to go back (or overpay elsewhere) if I forget something.
Tips for Keeping Your Pantry Stocked
I highly recommend stocking up on non-perishable items when they’re at their rock-bottom price. You’ll start building a little ‘stockpile’ of items, and save a lot of money in the long run.
Want to learn how to save tons of money on groceries? Check out the Grocery Shopping Makeover Challenge, and slash your grocery budget in just 5 days!
Another great pantry-stocking tip is to buy a new item before you completely run out of the last one.
When you open a box of your favorite cereal, or jar of peanut butter, add it to your grocery list. That way you’ll always have backups of your favorite items.
If you find your pantry overflowing at any point, consider doing a pantry challenge, and skip grocery shopping completely for a week!
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to download the Master Grocery List printable!
I really hope it helps provide a solution to chaotic grocery shopping and the forgetfulness that our overloaded brains experience.
If we can find a way to streamline the tasks we have to do regularly, we can save our brain power for more important (or fun!) tasks.
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Have you ever tried using a master grocery list? Share your tips in the comments below!