It’s About Planning

I’m a planner, which simply means I plan things out before hand. As I was making up my shopping lists for the month, my son commented “You should share how you do that with people. It could help someone get better organized mom, because you’re really good at it.” Well, if your a list or spreadsheet  person, you can appreciate the way I do my shopping lists and menu planning. I don’t think I do anything all that different than a lot of other people. But if sharing my way of doing things can help someone, I’m definitely willing to share it with you. So here goes.

Shopping Lists

First of all, I get the monthly coupons in the mail from our local grocery store. I check them to see if there’s anything I want, out of the coupons available. If there is, I incorporate them into my monthly shopping list. I also check to see what’s going to be on sale. I make the shopping list for the whole month basically according to my menu plans, plus staples and whatever we’re out of or nearly out of around the house. I also shop on line to stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables, pantry items and some in season produce. The on line orders are done pretty much the same way I do my local shopping lists. I check to see if I have any coupons in my email, see what’s on sale and what I’m almost out of that I usually get on line. I break down my monthly shopping list into weekly sections, once it’s complete so I can do the shopping weekly.

Menu Plans

The way I make the menu plans is by  creating a basic plan with variety. Then by going over what I have on hand, what’s coming up on sale and what I have coming in from any on line order. In order for the on line items to match the menu plans, I have to match items according to the delivery date or use them in future menus. Basically I have to know, or check on, what I have on hand for the menu. it’s important in planning the shopping list, to know what I need to prepare that’s on the menu. So you can see why the two go hand in hand and I do them together. I will adjust the menu where I need to and the shopping list where it needs to be. They can both be changed until I have taken advantage of all the sales and coupons available and am satisfied with the menu.

To break it down

  1. Get your coupons
  2. Create your Months Shopping List with a column on the left to note if it has a coupon or it’s on sale. I use a spread sheet to create mine. (see example below)
  3. Create your Monthly Menu with enough variety to keep things interesting.
  4. Break down your Shopping list to match your menu plan – per week. So you have a weekly shopping list. If you have to rearrange you menu a little to make the coupons and sale items work, do it.
  5. Now you should have four (4) shopping lists for the month, possibly five (5). If you know which day your local store changes there sale items, you go shopping on that day to get the best out of the sales and their coupons as well.
  6. Adjust the shopping lists, if there are new sales items or you run out of something you missed getting on the list.


Below are examples of how I do my lists. In my shopping lists, I have sections for type of groceries and “Miscellaneous” for non food items to make it easier when shopping. If there’s nothing under a section title, then I didn’t need anything there. The menu lists are in three sections The first section is for the actual items on the menu, the second section is the breakdown of what I need and what I already have in order to make what’s planned, and the third section is the pots, pans, or dishes I’ll need to have available to make them. I do that last one to make sure I don’t plan on using something already in use with leftovers. I know about how long things get eaten up. Otherwise, I’ll be putting something in a disposable container and giving it to a neighbor who appreciates my cooking.













I hope this was helpful for someone and not confusing. It’s just how I do things. I had to think about it and how to explain how I do things. That’s not as easy as you might think.


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This article has 5 comments

  1. Interesting read. I’m the world’s worst for going shopping without a list. We always end up buying stuff that just sits on the shelves at home until they are chucked away, just because it may have tickled my fancy at the time. I think it could be time to heed your advice.

  2. You can call me old fashioned, I haven’t got used to the idea of grocery shopping from the internet, but now after you’ve explained the whole concept pretty well and added some images too, I think this could be a really great idea. But do you have to find a local super market first that provides such service? I mean the coupons etc. Waiting for your answer.

    • Most of them will mail you their coupons if you put yourself on their mailing list. The larger the chain the more coupons you are likely to get. I’m still picky about which ones I’ll use. I eat very healthy and like that I can get coupons on the produce.

  3. Very helpful article actually. I’m a student living on my own so I don’t have a lot of money to spend. Saving some extra money on food by just planning better and using the cupons is a good way. I will try it out for a month and see if I like it.


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