|Here is a picture of me shopping. Now that I save so much time with my list, I have time to wear heels and a skirt to the grocery store. And bring my own spotlights and everything :).|
It is no secret that I really don't enjoy laundry, and that I sometimes have to do pretty creative things to psych myself up for it.
I actually sort of like the shopping part of grocery shopping, but I sometimes feel frustrated by the overall time investment. The fact is, that between making the list, culling my fridge of spoiled/old food, going to the store, buying all the food, putting it in my car, unloading it from my car, and putting it away in my house (including dividing larger quantity buys into more manageable packaging), grocery shopping for my family turns into a four-hour minimum investment (since I am doing the rest while taking care of my two youngest kids). Anything I can do to reduce this time expenditure while not reducing the quality of the food I'm able to provide is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.
So, I figured I could start at the beginning and streamline the list making portion of grocery shopping.
I typed up a standard grocery list of foods I regularly buy. If I have all the things on this list, I can automatically make about 80% of the meals we normally like to eat. I can just write additional/one-off ingredients in the margins of my list, or in the extra blanks provided on the list itself.
The great thing about this list is that it also helps me maintain a good pantry of food at all times. Pre-list, I would find myself forgetting things we like to have on hand It also allows me to focus on what to buy in bulk when there is a good sale--thereby saving time and money. Oh yeah! :)
So how does the list work?
Here's how it worked this week: I printed off a copy of my master list from the computer. I quickly looked in my fridge and freezer to see what needed to be used up and what I have on hand. I then loosely planned a week's worth of dinners based on what we have, what's in season/on sale and what I want to eat, writing them down on the bottom of my list. Then, I used my trusty highlighter to highlight the things I need, and wrote down a few additional things I needed that aren't a standard part of my list.
This made doing my grocery list take about 5 minutes rather than the normal 20. I can do a lot of other things in 15 minutes, so to me, this is worth the initial time investment I spent putting the list together. It would probably be even quicker to just keep the list handy all week, and mark what I need as I notice we are out of or low on something.
I am sure everyone's list of "essential" food is different, but for what it's worth, here is a link to the list I typed up. Happy shopping!
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