7 Reasons Why You Should Use Grocery Lists

When I do my grocery shopping, I have my list in hand. However, I’ve noticed that many fellow grocery shoppers don’t use grocery lists when they do their big shops and just ‘wing it’. I personally love making lists and can never walk into a grocery store without a shopping list!! Not only do they save me time and money but they also have many other benefits. You can create a list on your phone, scribble on a scrap piece of paper or use one of my grocery list printables. If you don’t make shopping lists, I encourage you to start and experience a more efficient, effective and stress-free way of shopping!

Note: For my regular readers I am pausing my regular family weekly meal plan posts during July as I will be sharing this series of Budget Tips. If you are wanting some meal planning inspiration. View all my past plans here.

How to create a grocery budget

One of the biggest spends in our budget is food. The good thing with this category is this can easily be adjusted if you need extra $ for another category. As your loans are set prices, you can reduce your grocery bill to help save money.

I am often asked how much I spend on groceries. It has changed over the years. I could have easily fed my family of 5 for $100 a week when they were younger. Now that I have a 12, 14 and 14 year old, they are growing children who like to eat. Realistically my budget now is $180, including fresh fruit and vegetables and all the essentials, such as toilet paper, toiletries, household items, etc. I get excited when it’s under and quite often it can be.

How to determine your food budget:

  1. Review previous receipts to calculate how much you are currently spending on groceries.
  2. Determine how much you can actually budget towards groceries (should be approximately 15-17% of your total income).
  3. Consider your shopping habits and reflect if there are areas you can save so you can reach your budget goal each week.


You can find these downloadable grocery shopping lists in my shop, they are all available as an instant download so you can print as many times as you like, for personal use.

GROCERY LIST WITH CATEGORIES – Use this grocery list to fill in everything you need for the week’s grocery shop. The categories help you section out the shop to make it a faster process! Available in A4 and 2 lists to a page (A5 size). Available to download from my shop here. 

BLANK SHOPPING LIST -Never run out of anything again.  Use this shopping list to write down items as you use them up so you remember to purchase them at the grocery store at your next visit. Available to download from my shop here. 

LITTLE HELPER GROCERY LIST – To make grocery shopping more manageable when my kids were younger I used to give them a little list of grocery items I wanted them to look out for during the shop.  This helped to keep their attention. This is an A4 sized page with 3 lists on the one page. Available to download from my shop here. 

WITH A MEAL PLANNER – Don’t forget a vital ingredient when you do your next grocery shop, plan your week of meals, then write down all ingredients you need. Meal planning saves you money and time on a busy weeknight! Available to download from my shop here.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Grocery Lists

I’ll share lots more budget friendly grocery tips throughout the series but my biggest I wanted to start with you is using a grocery shopping list. There are so many good reasons to:

SAVES MONEY – Yep, grocery lists can save you lots of money! Having a list means that you won’t go off on tangents and buy food items that are not necessary. Research indicates that you can reduce your food expense by 25-30% by taking a shopping list along with you. I would say this statistic would be accurate.

SAVES TIME – When you go to shops with a grocery list, you will know exactly what you want. Instead of spending time pacing up and down the aisles umm’ing and ahh’ing about what you need, you can just pick up the groceries you have listed and leave. It saves sooo much more effort and you’ll be in and out of the shops in a flash.

HELPS YOU PLAN YOUR MEALS – By using a grocery list, it can also help you to plan your meals out for the week. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know how obsessed I am with meal planning and how I always rave about the benefits of doing so. If you create a meal plan and write a grocery list, you’ll be set for the week ahead. Find how to meal plan here.

LESS TRIPS YOU MAKE – Instead of grabbing bits and pieces throughout the week as you need them, simply head to the shops once with all you need written down. This means that there will be less trips to the shops for only a couple of items and stop impulse buys.

EAT HEALTHIER – You are able to make smarter decisions and properly evaluate the types of food that you and your family are consuming. Instead of making last-minute unhealthy decisions on your shop, you can stick to a healthier trip.

LESS STRESSFUL – If you’re someone that gets anxious or stressed going to the shops, this is a big help!! Having a list and something to follow during the hustle and bustle is incredibly useful.

MINIMISES WASTE – Exclusively buying groceries that you are prepared to cook means that you won’t be buying food you don’t need and letting it go to waste.

Tell me, do you shop with or without a list?

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TARA June 29, 2017 - 10:09 AM

I agree – I’d be lost without my lists. I write my shopping list every Friday based on the meals I will be cooking over the weekend and following week (these meals are chosen by the whole family – we get one night each). I then check the pantry/fridge for breakfast and lunch items we may need. I have a pad on the fridge where I have trained my boys (husband included) to write down things we run out of or that they ‘want’ me to buy – I review this last and add those things we do need (e.g. more dishwashing liquid) to my list and note the wanted items (e.g. ice-cream). I mostly shop at ALDI so when I write my list I do it in the order of their shelves so that I can walk through once and get it done as quickly as possible. Items I know I have to go elsewhere for I put at the end of the list. Sometimes I use paper, mostly I just use the notepad function on my phone.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 29, 2017 - 2:03 PM

Yes, I do that too write my list based on the shopping aisles, saves so much time. Love reading your system thank you so much for sharing Tara. Great idea keeping a list on the fridge purely for the things you run out of during the week.

Julie June 29, 2017 - 3:07 PM

My husband and I have downloaded the free app “Our Groceries” and use that for our shopping. The genius thing, is it shows the same list on both our phones (synced via email address) so he can be at the supermarket and I can be adding things that he will see in real time. I also have this app organised by the aisles in the supermarket.

Rhonda Lancaster (me) June 29, 2017 - 5:11 PM

My best tip is to use click and collect at Coles and Woolworths have them do all the running around for the dry goods etc and just go in and pick up your meat, fresh veg and fruit.

Tanya Beechey June 30, 2017 - 9:57 AM

Our family keeps a pad on the kitchen table that anyone can add to. When I go shopping I take the list that has been created since the last shop. Often see some non essentials that have been added such as marshmallows!

Kelly July 3, 2017 - 10:14 PM

$180 a week! I’m so embarrassed! I’m never less than $400 for our family of 5! What on earth am I doing wrong!

Shane July 26, 2017 - 3:55 AM

I know same here I’m a family of 3 and can barely get out without paying $200 to $300 and that’s with meal planning and eating out 1-2 times a week still ?What am I doing wrong!!!!

Kristy August 2, 2017 - 1:14 PM

If you use the supermarket app (I shop mostly at Woolworths), the list will not only always be with you, but also sorted by aisle. Even if you change to a different suburb, it can be rearranged (so helpful when you’re in an unfamiliar store!)

Katrina - The Organised Housewife August 3, 2017 - 9:01 AM

Are you serious, I did not know this, what a brilliant idea for an app. Going to look into this. I actually have a Woolworths opening up around the corner from me soon so that will be useful.

Antonia August 3, 2017 - 8:42 AM

Ive just started following katrina. Im finding all her tips so useful. Only problem i have is that im in England and you talk about Woolworths – oh i miss that shop so much, you lucky people still having it in Australia

Katrina - The Organised Housewife August 3, 2017 - 9:00 AM

So glad you are enjoying all the tips!! Do you have something similar over there Antonia?


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