If you're like me, grocery shopping can be extremely stressful. I live in a small town, so going to the store isn't usually fun. I don't like seeing random people I know while out and about. Ultimately, I want to get in and get out without all the extra social stuff that comes with grocery shopping. Creating an itemized grocery list is one of the best things you can do if you want to quickly get your things and go. Today, I wanted to share a simple way to create your itemized list.
1. Start With Your Meal Plan For The Week
Grocery shopping can be stressful when you head to the store without a plan. If you don't know what you want to make, you might end up with a bunch of random ingredients that have no actual strategy. I've done this so many times, and you may be able to throw something together, but you won't end up with any great meals this way. I encourage you to go to Pinterest for some new recipe ideas, think about your favorite meals to make, and also think about days you might have leftovers or eat out. Get your meals on paper (or in a document.)
2. Check To See What Ingredients You Already Have Access To
Once you know what your meal plan is, see if you already have any of the ingredients in your fridge, freezer, or pantry. Do you need more pasta, or are you covered? Maybe you already have potatoes at the house, so you don't need anymore? Check what you have so you don't purchase any repeats.
3. Create A Spreadsheet Of All The Ingredients You Need
Next, sit down and create a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will eventually have three columns, and the second one is a list of all the ingredients you need. While this is the second column, we write this out first because it makes the most sense to start with the ingredients you need.
Give every single ingredient its own line. Go back over this list once or twice and compare it with your meal plan recipes. You don't want to leave any component out. Make sure you are planning for all your meals and snacks too. Write down any extra household things you might need while you are out and about too if you can get them at the grocery store.
4. Check Prices For Those Ingredients
If you want to make your shopping trip less stressful, price check stuff. Many grocery apps allow you to price check stuff before you go shopping. When I shop at Walmart, I love to price check stuff because their app is advanced, and it allows you to see the price at your store for many of the items. I include this in my spreadsheet on the third column. I want to have a somewhat accurate tally of how much my groceries will cost before I get to the counter.
5. Write Down Aisle Numbers For Those Ingredients If You Have Them
This isn't possible for every store, but many stores have apps that give you aisle numbers at your store. Aisle check while you are price checking and write the aisle in the first column on your spreadsheet.
Again, Walmart has a fantastic app that gives you accurate aisle numbers, which makes grocery shopping there easy as pie. I love writing down aisle numbers because it makes shopping even easier for me. If you live near one, the Kroger app also has this capability.
If your store doesn't have this capability, go to your store and get a general sense of what the aisles contain next time you shop. This might seem excessive, but take pictures of each aisle's signage if it describes what's down the aisle. Create a document that shares all of this information in an easy to read format. Make your best guess based on the categories you've shared when writing down aisle numbers.
6. Sort Everything By Aisle In Your Spreadsheet
Once you have your aisle numbers, sort your spreadsheet by aisle numbers, so you know exactly where to go first. This makes the entire shopping process smooth and easy for you.
7. Shop By Aisle In The Grocery Store
Next, when you get in the store, follow your protocol. Shop by aisle based on what your spreadsheet tells you.
8. Avoid Aisles If They Are Not On Your List
Unless you made a mistake when labeling aisles, don't go down any aisles that aren't on your spreadsheet. This will stop you from picking up random items that weren't on your grocery list.
9. Have Fun Shopping Without The Stress
Now you can go shopping without the stress. You have a game plan, you know where to go, and you know what to get.
An Example Of A Spreadsheet I Created For A Walmart Shopping Trip
I broke this down a ton, but I wanted to share a more simple graphic of how I created a spreadsheet for a shopping trip. Creating a spreadsheet is not a complicated process. It took me a while to do at my house, but sitting at my desk is not a stressful process, going to the store is. For some, this is probably excessive, and that's okay. You have to do what works best for you.
Conclusion: Planning Helps Reduce Stress At The Grocery Store
Going grocery shopping is probably always going to be at least somewhat stress inducing for me. I love how creating my spreadsheet allows me to think about grocery shopping more practically. I can quickly get what I need and leave the store. I don't have to linger or think if I have enough to make what I intend to make. Everything is great!