Guys, we just got back from an awesome grocery trip that consisted of the following:
- Budgeting the amount we wanted to spend at the grocery store
- Planning out every meal for one week (in less than 20 minutes)
- Taking inventory of what we have / what we need to complete this plan
- Having a speedy date night with a fun dinner first
- Completing grocery shopping in under 20 minutes
- Getting everything on our list & staying under budget!
If this sounds completely foreign to you, I understand. When we first got married, trips to the grocery store could take over an hour, especially during holidays and weekends (when would you go shopping otherwise, right?), and I never stayed under budget or on task. I’d be heading toward the frozen chicken and get stuck in the fresh hydrangeas (worth it), or go in for some dry shampoo and come out $100 poorer with a basketful of nail polish, gum, magazines, soda, and snacky things that I couldn’t make a meal from.
Enter my favorite, most simple tool in my budget toolbox: the Excel spreadsheet for grocery shopping.
DOWNLOAD SHOPPING LIST
This baby has it all – literally. Every possible category in the grocery store fits onto this sheet, which you can print multiples of and complete it as you need to shop. And the silver lining to all the prep is that you stay on task, under budget, and you get everything you actually need for the week (or two weeks, or month – only you know how organized you can be and still live your life!). Here are some tips and tricks for using this miracle in spreadsheet form:
REALLY PRINT IT OUT
I get it, we live in the digital era and it’s much easier to just use your phone. Right? Well, not for me. It’s much easier for someone to man the cart and cross things off the list while the other person is the runner who goes to get the items. It makes for a painless grocery shopping experience every time (and it works especially well during the busy holidays when you know exactly what you’re looking for).
MODIFY IT TO SUIT YOU
This is just an example of the way I like to shop / the way I explore the store each time I go. Modify it! You may need much more or much less, and I’d love to see this work for you like it does for me, so take a few minutes to make the changes you want. You’ll be more likely to use it if it’s tailored to your tastes and needs.
COMBINE IT WITH YOUR MEAL PLAN
Perhaps the best way to leverage this tool is to combine it with the weekly meal plan you set up (more on this in a coming post). It’s tough to sit down, think about all your meals and snacks for the week for each person of your family, write them down, track down and bring back the items, and then remember what all you need for each meal / snack / recipe. Make it easy on yourself and do your meal plan, take inventory of what you’ve already got on hand, then write what you need on the list and you’re good to go!
I really hope this makes your shopping experiences so much easier and more fun!