Grocery lists are an essential part of smart shopping. If you already know that then you probably never head to the grocery store without one. However, if you’re only using one type of grocery list, then you’re not maximizing your shopping efficiency.

Of course, one list is better than none at all. Nevertheless, learning how to make the most of lists to organize your shopping and saving at the grocery store can be a great way to improve your budget. Here are the five types of grocery lists that everyone should have:

1. Ultimate Grocery List of All Things You Buy

You should take the time to create an organized list of all of the different things that you buy at the grocery store. Make sure that you have an aisle-by-aisle breakdown. In other words, you’ll include a dairy section with a list of all of the eggs, cheese, and butter products that you buy. Likewise, you might have a vegetable section, a fruit section, and a canned goods section.

Make many copies of this grocery list. Pin one to the refrigerator, pantry, or dry erase board in your home. Whenever someone in the family notices that an item is running low, they can circle the item on the list. This is the most efficient way to make sure that you’re always aware of the items you need to buy when you go to the grocery store.

2. Grocery Lists for Meal Planning

You can save a lot of money on groceries if you simply plan out the meals in advance. Some people do weekly meal planning. Others find that biweekly or even monthly meal planning is most efficient.

  • First, plan out the meals.
  • List each ingredient and the amount that you need.
  • Go through the kitchen and check for all of the items you already have.
  • Make a concise grocery list for everything that you’ll need to buy.
  • Take that list grocery shopping with you. Stick to it and avoid impulse buys.

3. Lists of Seasonal Foods

People often get tempted to buy seasonal foods as soon as they hit the store. For example, as soon as you see the first peaches of the season, you might grab a bag. However, it’s smarter to shop consciously, rather than impulsively. Therefore, you should try to increase your awareness of seasonal foods. Keep monthly or seasonal lists of what’s available in your area. Use these as you do your meal planning. It’s a great way to increase the variety in your meals without caving in to the temptations of immediate availability.

4. By-Each-Store Grocery Lists

If you shop at multiple grocery stores, then you should break down your shopping list by store. The best way to do that is to keep a master list of the best items to get at each store. For example, you may shop for seafood at a local grocery but get your other meat at a warehouse store like Costco. As you do your planning, refer back to these grocery lists to make sure you get the right items at each place.

5. Substitution Foods

One of the things that can really throw you off with shopping is when you get to the store and an item costs more than you expected. Prevent this by keeping grocery lists of substitutions. Plan for ingredient substitutions. Furthermore, plan for meal substitutions. In other words, keep a list of affordable, easy-to-make meals and the ingredients required so that you can swap out food plans at the store to save money.

Do you keep any other types of grocery lists?

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