Shopping lists are essential for helping you to remember what you need to buy at the grocery store. There are two stages for compiling most shopping lists — the running list you add to as you run out of essentials and the planning list you create as you’re putting together your weekly meal plan. Both are important, but made in different ways.
I recommend everyone having a public list on the refrigerator or hung on the wall in the kitchen that any member of the house can write on as needed. If your son finishes the milk, he can add “Milk” to the list. If your roommate eats the last slice of bread, she can add “Bread” to the list. A public running list is even convenient in case you have house guests and one of them discovers you’re out of toilet paper.
When creating your planning list, you may choose to add to the running list or create a second list. I use a worksheet for meal planning, so I just copy the items off the public list onto the planning list. The system you will use consistently is the best system for you.
Tools that might work for you for creating effective grocery shopping lists:
- A magnetic dry erase board to hang on your refrigerator (what I use)
- The Evernote capture application that syncs between your computer and smart phone
- A pre-printed shopping list you put Xs next to items as you need them
- A wall-mounted roll of notepaper for a more traditional shopping list
- If you have an iPhone, any of the grocery list applications
What method do you use to create your shopping list? Share your system in the comments.