3 Step DIY Grocery List Template


By: Carolyn S. Kuczynski

Most of us know that heading out to the grocery store without a list is a bad idea.  You’re bound to forget things, buy items you already have, get distracted by sales, and ultimately blow the budget.

If you’ve tried an online grocery list template or a phone app without very much success, you’re not alone.  Some of the “solutions” that are out there can be downright annoying. Using Word or Excel, you can create a personalized grocery list template that will ultimately streamline the whole process of meal planning and grocery shopping.

Make a list of the grocery sections you commonly shop in and then put them in order according to your favorite store’s layout.

For example:

  • Produce
  • Deli
  • Bakery
  • Meat
  • Pantry
  • Laundry/Household Cleaners
  • Paper/Plastic
  • Pets
  • Dairy
  • Frozen
  • Personal Care/Pharmacy


Next, in each category list the items you typically buy in those departments (items you regularly have in your pantry and fridge) and leave some blank lines to write in items that you only buy occasionally.

Add a Menu column to your list with the days of the week.

Print a half dozen copies and keep them in a folder for your weekly use.  When it’s time to do a grocery list, you can go through the fridge and pantry and take a quick inventory of all your basics.  Just highlight what you need and write in those occasionally used items.

As you are doing your inventory, you can use the back of the sheet to record any items that need to get used up.   You can search for recipes with those soon-to-be-expired items to base your weekly meal plan on.

One final thing you can do with your Menu column to aid in meal planning is write in what the weather is expected to be and the temperature.  That way you can avoid using the oven when it’s crazy hot or maybe plan a soup or stew for a cool rainy day.  It also helps to write in special events so you’re not planning a time-consuming recipe for a hectic weeknight.

Over time as you or your family’s needs change or as the seasons change you can modify your template accordingly.  It’s a little work up front but it will help prevent missing ingredients, unnecessary trips to the store, and having to double back through the aisles once you get there.

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