Monday, October 20, 2014

Master Shopping List

I'm constantly looking for ways to live a greener, simpler and more frugal (frugaler?) life. One of the tools I've come up with recently to help me toward this goal is my Master Shopping List. It's something I've been working on for quite some time, and I've finally got it down to a system that really works for me.

Now before I tell you about this, let me just say that I have tried several phone apps for this purpose, but none of them have worked well for me. I have a way of doing things, and none of the apps were a good fit. I know several people who use grocery apps and are very happy with them, but they really just don't work as well for me. I found that having a physical list works better for me, so I created a printed out master list to take with me on my errands.

Prior to creating my Master List, I would sit down each Thursday and make my menu plan for the week (I still do that part) and then I would write up a shopping list of all the things I needed to make that week's dinners, along with any staples we needed. I realized I was spending a lot of time writing the same things over and over each week, as, like most families, we do have a good many items that we purchase every (or almost every) week. I decided it might be easier to type up a Master List of all the things we buy regularly, and then just have space to add special items I need to buy on occasion. I put the list in a plastic page protector, so I can cross items off with a dry erase marker, then wipe it clean for the following week. I put my list on a cute little clip board, which fits easily in my purse.

I do my grocery shopping at three different stores each week, as I've figured out over time that this is the best way to stretch my grocery buck. I am fortunate to live in an area where all the stores I shop at are close by and en route to places I end up in my day-to-day travels, so shopping at three different stores isn't all that inconvenient for me. (I understand that this might not work for everyone... back when my kids were little, and errands where a bit more of a project, I did one-stop shopping once a week at one store, as the convenience factor outweighed the extra expense.) Since I shop in several places, I set my list up by store, with a post-it note, if needed, to add any additional items. I wanted something small, that I could slip ealiy into my bag, so I formatted the list to fit on a half-sheet of paper, which fits perfectly on the small memo-sized clipboard I picked up from the clearance bin at Staples.

This Master List saves me oodles of time, and it saves paper, as I'm not writing up a whole new list each week. My whole shopping routine just feels much more streamlined and efficient now.

Next post: a little update on our Winter Gardening! In addition to preparing for a cold frame, we've also set up a little indoor gardening area. Pics and details, soon!

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