Three Ways To Organize Your Grocery List & Save Time

Grocery shopping is a necessary evil if you want to save money and cook great food at home. I’ve wasted a lot of time wandering around Winco, Fred Meyer, Costco, and Albertson grocery stores, and I’ve got some tips to save you time when you're hitting the isles.

Keep reading if you want to avoid multiple trips to the store per week and make this boring part of cooking more efficient.                         


Base Your Grocery List off Your Meal Plan

You should know what you want to cook for the upcoming week and have the recipes handy before you head to the grocery store or write your list out. 

Use the ingredient lists in the recipes to build out your grocery list. This will keep your list targeted for the upcoming week and you won’t be throwing stuff into your cart that you don’t need.

Going grocery shopping without meal planning leads to holes in your week that get filled with expensive restaurants, takeout, unhealthy pre-packaged meals, or stressful meals thrown together last minute.

Segment Your Grocery List, Three Ways To Do This

When you're writing your grocery list write down the same types of foods together.

List all of the produce together. The meat together, dairy, dry goods, breads, etc… And then list them in order as your grocery store lays them out.

Most stores will have produce first with a deli, then the butcher/meats section, dairy and eggs will follow that, and then the dry goods and non-perishables will be in the middle

There’s three ways I’ve found to do this that free up time and brain power in the grocery store:

1) List all of the ingredients as you read them from the recipes then highlight veggies, meats, dairy, etc so they’re color coordinated. I don't use this method anymore as there's easier ways, but it's a good way to get started. 

2) Use an app like MealBoard that you can meal plan and create grocery lists with. These apps can pull in recipes from around the web and build grocery lists for you like this: 

3) Use a grocery list template like this one I created below, and as you go through the recipes put the ingredient in the appropriate spot.

Example of a grocery list broken up by category

As you can probably guess, I like to use option 3 most of the time because many of the recipes I'm using are coming from the cookbooks we have. When Kailee is scrolling through Pinterest or finding recipes elsewhere online, she likes MealBoard to capture the recipes and build a list. 

(or just use the STC list...)

The key to making grocery shopping an efficient and pleasant experience is to go in prepared. Going grocery shopping without a plan leads to overspending, wasting time, and more stress. Kailee and I like to sit down once a week when we meal plan. She will pick out the recipes for the week and we’ll make the list together, figure out what we already have or what else we need, then tackle the store together. 

Whatever your situation is, finding a routine to create a weekly meal plan and organized grocery list based around it will save you money and time when you're starting to cook at home. As always, reach out with a comment below, with an email to me on the contact page, or a message on the Scratch That Cooking FB page if I can help in any way. 

And don't forget your grocery list! 

  • Jj Tang

    Super informative! Can’t wait to try this out

    • Thomas McMahon

      Let me know how it goes! Thanks, JJ.

    • Let me know how it works out! Thanks, JJ.