How to Save Time and Money at the Grocery Store {with FREE printables!}

How to Save Time and Money at the Grocery Store by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Yesterday we confirmed my uber Type “A” status when I wrote about how I streamlined my very small kitchen. Well, if you don’t already think I’m crazy, you will today. ;)

I happen to be slightly neurotic about my grocery list. I used to just write it down on a piece of paper like a normal person. Then I began breaking it into categories. Once I moved to a print-out, it was all over.

I knew I wanted to be able to do my meal planning on the same page as my grocery list for simplicity’s sake. I know meal planning isn’t for everyone, but it has been a total time and money saver for me. We throw away much less food, and there’s never rarely the panic of “What am I going to make for dinner?!” If you haven’t tried meal planning, I encourage you to give it a chance and see how it works for your family!

Taking pieces from my hand-written system and adding the meal-planning element, I came up with THE LIST:

One Week Shopping List

{Printable Version Can Be Found HERE}

Eventually I started grocery shopping two weeks at a time. Did you know that if you go to the store less you spend less money? It’s true. Someday I would like to do one large monthly trip, but, as you saw yesterday, we don’t currently have the space. {If you’re interested in learning about once-a-month shopping, I highly recommend the book Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half by Steve and Annette Economides or this post by Danielle at Blissful and Domestic.}

When I began shopping two weeks at a time, my grocery list morphed into this:

2 Week Shopping List

{Printable Version Can Be Found Here}

Same basic idea. I realized that we generally eat the same things for breakfasts and lunches, so I no longer needed those spaces which helped make room for more dinner planning. Since my categories are broken down by areas of the store, I can easily see what I need from each section rather than running around the whole store when I realize I’ve forgotten something.

I know it’s just a little tool, but it’s a valuable one for me. Having an organized shopping strategy helps me save time AND money, and who doesn’t love that?!

Pssssstttt… In case you missed it, right now I’m offering a FREE PDF to all of my newsletter subscribers with detailed screenshots and instructions on how to create your own adorable printables! If you already subscribe to our newsletter, you should have received this information already, so check your email! If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so here! {PDF is sent within an hour of subscribing. :) }

What tools help you streamline the grocery shopping process?

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Comments

  1. says

    Great printables! I started meal planning this year and it definitely gets easier to plan for two weeks. I just have trouble with the non meal items: drinks, snacks, breakfast to go items. I end up running out before my two weeks. Part of the problem is the fiancé is a snacker and he blows through it so darn fast! I keep telling him, “that’s all we have for two weeks.” Does he listen? Haha!

    • says

      Thanks, Bethany! I had the same problem with our snacks! I started storing them out of sight in the back of the extra pantry instead of on top of the fridge in plain view, and *miraculously* they seem to last longer. {Hopefully my boys won’t read this and find out my secret! Ha!} Thanks so much for reading!

      ~Abby =)

  2. says

    Thank for the lists. They will come in handy. I too have a small kitchen, but am able to shop once or every two months even. I have a large freezer (besides the one with my fridge) so I am able to make ahead and freeze meals instead of using up my cabinet space.I can cook, freeze and stack MANY meals just on one shelf. So even before I bought my large freezer, I could still get several meals in my freezer in the fridge. Also, I freeze everything! I buy several bags of chips to last a month or two and freeze them. Saves me space in the cabinet. I freeze tons of stuff. Never had any problems with anything. Thanks again for sharing your lists.

    • says

      Freezing chips?! You may have just opened up a whole new world to me, Miss Lucy! Thanks for the ideas! A chest freezer is definitely on my wish list so I can maximize storage. Someday! ;) Thanks for visiting the blog!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Kathy L - Glen Rock, NJ says

    Meal planning is the only way to go. Saves time and money. If everyone knows what is for dinner, then anyone :) can cook. I work full time out of the home so it is great to be able to leave the sitter directions to get dinner started. This way dinner is only 30 minutes away when I walk in the door. The weeks where I do not get a chance to meal plan or grocery shop and we are just taking it day by day are the most stressful weeks.

    • says

      I totally agree, Kathy! It is so nice not to have to scramble at dinnertime each night. I like the concept of “anyone” cooking… ;) Thanks for visiting the blog!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Kayla H says

    OMG, I have been dreaming up this list (the one on top) for a long time, and I’ve never seen anyone create it until now! I do not like to plan out breakfast and lunches, but rather have a list of things we can choose from. But, I like to plan out dinners because I can plan the type of meal that need for that day (crockpot, quick and easy, etc). Thank you so much!

  5. says

    I echo your uber Type A analysis. I, however, respect and admire that! I am in the middle of overhauling my grocery lists, and this was a ton of good info.

    Visiting from IHeartOrganizing.

    • says

      LOL! The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? So maybe I’m on my way… ;) Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Jen!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Vicki Lee says

    Hi Abby!
    You are AMAZING!!!! My Husband always wants to know “WHAT ARE WE HAVING FOR DINNER!” This way he can just look on the LIST. Good Idea!
    Thank You for Sharing!

  7. says

    Hi Abby,
    I do something similar with my grocery list, except I have the items we regularly already typed in. That way I don’t forget to get milk because I just check it off on my list! This has mostly eliminated the extra trips.
    I do have a question about shopping every two weeks: what do you do about fresh fruit and veggies, and even milk? I shop once a week mostly because of these kinds of highly perishable items.

    • says

      That’s a great idea, Kim! I might have to start typing in my staples… :) As far as perishable items go, I do a couple different things. I try to plan my meals in such a way that we use the things that have the shortest shelf life first, then move through to the ones that will last longer. I freeze some produce. You can even freeze milk, though I haven’t gone that far. Danielle from Blissful and Domestic has a wonderful post about how she does fresh fruits and veggies, and she only shops once a month: http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com/2012/07/fresh-produce-on-budget.html
      I haven’t gotten THAT good yet. :) Thank you so much for stopping by the blog! It was great to connect again after so long!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Ashley F. says

    I love the printables. I used to go grocery shopping every two weeks but started to go every week and set a weekly budget. This seems to workout better for my family. They get the snacks for the week and I meal plan and buy what I need for the meals. I then buy the other things like milk and essentials. I was throwing away too much food doing it every two weeks and my veggies and fruits would be wasted quicker. I still like the printable and will use it weekly!

  9. Jennifer says

    Thank you so much for this post and of course the awesome FREEBIE printables. I have not tried meal planning but hopefully this will start me in the right direction.

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