Written by Debra Wyatt (last updated April 30, 2020)
A well-organized shopping list is important because it can help to maintain a budget and save time. By having an organized shopping list you can often avoid buying items that you may already have. Here are some suggestions that will help in keeping the goal of having an organized shopping experience.
Begin the shopping experience by first having a well thought out menu planned for the next few days; if possible a week is better. The reason for this is that it limits the amount of trips that you will make to the grocery store, which ends up saving both time and money. It has been shown that a person can save as much as 20% by shopping with a shopping list. This is believed to happen because there is less of a chance for impulse buying; also, it helps to keep a person focused on the task of shopping.
A great place that you can get your list from is by doing a little meal planning. Before finishing the shopping list check the food pantry to see if any items need to be replaced. Write down anything that is missing, or that you may soon be out of will enable you to take a well thought out shopping list with you when you go shopping.
The shopping list itself should be organized with two things in mind; one is the layout of the store that you frequent, and second is having your list grouped together according to the sections that you will be visiting. For example, have all dairy food items together, canned foods, frozen, beverages, fruits and vegetables all grouped together. This way you do not have to keep going up and down the aisles of the store looking for something that is on another aisle that you have already been down before at least three or four times previously. Have the list grouped by categories, and place the categories in the order of the store's layout. For instance if the store that you shop at has the deli and bread section to the right of the door, then you should have that first on your list.. I put on my list all of my bread and deli needs grouped together. Then at the back of the store are often the dairy items, so place your milk, eggs, yogurt, etc., last on the list. Repeat this procedure all the way through the store.
To continue helping me save time and to stay better organized, mark off the items that you pick up as you get them. Also, a great idea for some organized shopping is to have a little mark on your list to indicate whether you have a coupon or not. For example, if you put a little star on my list next to the item that you have a coupon for then you will remember to use that coupon at checkout time.
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