How to Create a Grocery List that Saves You Money

While creating a meal plan and knowing exactly how much you can spend at the grocery store is a great start, a grocery list is the game changer when it comes to saving money. It can be as simple as a sheet of notebook paper with a list of items on it, but for some, creating a grocery list can feel overwhelming. If you’re wondering how to create a grocery list that saves you money, you’re in the right place. Today I want to eliminate the overwhelm and walk you through the process I use that saves me time AND money.

Step 1: Plan Ahead

Before you put pen to paper and create a grocery list, you have to be aware of what you need and why you need it. Taking a complete grocery inventory and designing a monthly (or weekly) meal plan help you do just that.

If you have a monthly budget in place, it’s important to know how much money you have allocated to the grocery budget.

Once you have those items, you’re ready to create a grocery list!

Step 2: Determine Your Time Frame

How often do you plan to grocery shop? Keep in mind that the more you frequent the grocery store, the more likely you are to spend more money. Personally, I choose to shop weekly so that we have fresh milk and produce, but you might find that a shopping trip every two weeks or even monthly works for you and your family.

Tip: Download my FREE Weekly Grocery List template to help you stay on track!

Step 3: Consider Bulk Shopping Needs

Next, it’s important to consider your bulk shopping needs. Do you make a monthly trip to Costco or another warehouse store? If so, you’ll might choose to create a separate shopping list and time frame for those bulk purchases.

Tip: If you do plan to shop in bulk, you’ll want to download my FREE Bulk Grocery List template HERE.

Step 4: Create the List

Once you have your meal plan, grocery budget, and grocery list worksheets in hand, you’re ready to create your grocery list.

Add Items to the List

Start by comparing you grocery inventory list and your meal plan. Add the items you don’t already have in your fridge or pantry to the grocery list. Take care to note items that you’ll need for multiple meals and the total quantity to purchase.

For example, we love to cook soup in our home. Typically it requires upward of 45 ounces of chicken or beef broth per meal, so if I’m planning to cook three soup meals this month, I know ahead of time that I’ll need 135 total ounces of broth. Because I plan to cook the three meals so close together, it allows me to purchase the chicken or beef broth in larger containers, which saves money in the long run.

Indicate Appropriate Substitutions

When you’re working with a tight budget, sometimes the “staple” items that you’ve always used are no longer cost-effective. In order to prevent overspending in the moment, I recommend noting any substitutions that may work in place of the item on your list. For example, you might be able to substitute:

– chicken for pork,
– ground turkey for ground beef,
– sour cream in place of mayonnaise

…among other things. These substitutions might not be necessary, but if you have the plan in place ahead of time, you won’t be left guessing (or making an impulse decision) in the crowded aisle of the grocery store.

Note: This is also a great strategy if your spouse or older child is going to do the shopping for you. There won’t be any guesswork on their part if the substitute item is considerably less expensive.

Highlight Coupons or Store Deals

Another great use for your grocery list – especially when it comes to saving more money – is to highlight the coupons or store deals you’re aware of. That can help you determine which brand or quantity of an item to purchase or simply to use the coupon at checkout. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the store only to realize that I didn’t use my coupons. Such a bummer.

Step 5: Account for Household Items

Last and finally, it’s important to account for household items such as paper products, trash bags, cleaning supplies, etc. While I have a separate line item in my budget for these purchases, I certainly don’t want to make a separate trip to the grocery store for them.

Tip: If you have a separate line item for household items, you can choose to pay for the items in two different transactions OR add up the household product cost and subtract it from the appropriate line item. Use the strategy that works best for you.

How to Create a Grocery List that Saves You Money

The truth is that creating a grocery list that saves you money shouldn’t be hard. If you use these strategies to help, you should be well on your way to a successful shopping trip that allows you to stick with your budget and your meal plan, too!

Whatever you choose, I’m here to support you. You can:

– Grab my FREE Weekly Meal Planning Template HERE for additional grocery budget savings.
– Submit your budgeting and home organization questions HERE.

…or jump into the Lemon Blessings’ Membership for an insider’s look at all of my personal meal plans, recipes, grocery lists, budget worksheets, and more.

Remember, if you don’t ask for the help you need, you’ll never get it!

Cheering you on!