Efficient Grocery Shopping

I like being efficient. Part of this comes from being just slightly lazy and liking to read… so the faster I get something done, the more time I have to be lazy or read library books.

One skill I’ve been able to develop is Efficient Grocery Shopping. And my main tool for Efficient Grocery Shopping is my Excel-created grocery list. I print out a stack and keep it in my file cabinet, ready to pull out when I’m planning our meals for the week:

You can click the screenshot for a slightly larger view.
Excel Grocery List thumbnail

To make my spreadsheet, I brought a small pad of paper to the store with me one day when I was going to buy groceries. As I walked up and down the aisles, I noted down the aisle number and then the main items that I often find myself getting. I’m sure people thought I was strange, but the occasional odd look was well worth the results:

  • Now I can quickly zoom up and down the aisles, instead of running back and forth across the store according to the whims of my previous style of grocery list, which was in random “what was used up first” order. (On the other hand, I probably burn less calories per shopping trip than I used to.)
  • I am not distracted by the buy-one-get-one-free sale tags on items that I really don’t need. This list helps to combat the “must buy because it’s such a great deal!” gene that I inherited from my mom. Less impulse buys = greater chance of staying within our grocery budget.
  • Shorter shopping trips mean that I have a happier husband on the rare chance that he comes to the store with me, because he hates grocery-shopping.

If you’d like to see the Excel spreadsheet that I put together for myself, you can download it or view the PDF. You are more than welcome to use it as a starting place for your own Efficient Grocery List!


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Just a few quick notes:

  • The large blank margin on the right is where I plan my meals that I’ll make for the week. As I write down the recipes, I fill out the grocery list with what I’ll need.
  • I left a few blank lines in each section to jot down things that I don’t typically get.
  • I mark the aisle number in the column to the left of the items. The non-numbered sections are the areas on the perimeter of the store, stuck into the list approximately at the position of where they are in relation to the aisles.

And a question:

Should I file this under the “organizing” category, or does it not really relate?

Update 4/5/07 – I think it at least sort of relates, so now it’s under “organizing” as well!

2 thoughts on “Efficient Grocery Shopping

  1. I just wanted to come back and thank you for this form. I keep trying to use technology (which I can ably use), but it just seems easier if I write it down. Also I like knowing that no synch setting is going to wipe out my list.

    Your list is just brilliant and efficient. I appreciate your ideas, creativity, and lovely handwriting as seen on other posts.

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