How to Organize Your Shopping Lists

Methods for Organizing Your Shopping Lists

When you're making your shopping list, you may just write down whatever items pop into your head. While this is a good way to record many of the important items you need, it doesn't ensure that you'll think of everything, and it certainly isn't the best way to organize your list. Streamlining your list before you shop will make your trip quicker and easier.

You may want to have a list accessible all week so you can write down things as you run out of them -- this will help you when it's time to make your list because you won't forget an important item [source: The Frugal Shopper]. Making a meal plan for the week will also help you draft your list. Write down only the items you need to prepare those meals and you'll avoid purchasing any extraneous items.

Once you have a list with all the items you need, take a few minutes to organize it before you go -- it will save you time in the store. One of the most general ways to organize your list is by food group. At most stores, fresh produce will be in the same area, dairy products in another and so on. If you have everything you need in a certain food group listed together, you'll be less likely to miss something.

If you're especially budget conscious and certain items on your list aren't necessities, you can organize your list by starting with what you must buy down and ending with what you don't necessarily need. That way you can go as far down on your list as your budget will allow.

If you want to be even more organized and you generally go to the same grocery store, you can organize your list by store sections, or even more specifically, by aisle. For this you'll need to take a little extra time one week to prepare a master list that details what you can find in each aisle of the store. From then on, you'll be able to list your groceries in the order you make your way through the store [source: Alan's Kitchen].

Looking for something more high-tech? Check out the next page to learn about shopping list software.