Grocery shopping is one of the necessary evils in maintaining a home.  It has to happen – but it takes so much time and effort, I find it exhausting.  But by finding a system that works for me makes this chore efficient so that it isn’t that bad after all.  This is the system that I used when my kids where school age and younger. (See my update notes below for what we do now with a grown family)

I do three things to prepare for my shopping list:

1–We keep a list nearby where everyone can add anything that they empty (or take the last of) from fridge or pantry. The kids are responsible for adding to this list (they’ve had this responsibility since they have had the privilege of using the kitchen). If it isn’t on the list I’m not necessarily responsible for buying it!

2–I have staples that I like in my pantry and I check for those each week (I’d like to make a check list but haven’t got there yet, the list is still in my head)

3–I write a menu  then create a shopping list from that. I check my pantry/freezer first and write a menu from what is in there, and I make sure I don’t have anything on my list that we already have on the shelf.

Creating my Personalised Grocery Shopping List

I have found by taking a bit of time at home I can make shopping very quick when I’m out and about with my kids:

I have my shopping list written up in Excel (Spreadsheet) – each column is an isle in my grocery store. (It took a while to make this and it needs tweaking whenever they change the isles but generally speaking it saves so much time in the store.)

Each week I take our kitchen list (mentioned above) and type each item into this excel sheet. This doesn’t take long – though I have a friend who prints out the same shopping list form and fills it in by hand.

Once I am all ready, I print out my list, and cut each column/isle into a strip.

I then sort out which strip/column/isle I’ll give to each of my children who are coming to help with the grocery shopping.  When the kids where in training for grocery shopping I gave them the same isle/s each week so they became very familiar with that list.


With taking my kids with me, we do about 4 isles each and are in and out of the store, with a big grocery shop, within 30 minutes easy.

Update with a now Grown Family

Things look a bit different in our house now with three adult children, and one highschooler.  So for those with older families I’ll share what we do now:

I keep the master shopping list on my phone – and the kids can access that – they are still responsible for putting any items they use the last of on the shopping list. This is also the case for any toiletries or cleaning supplies they use.

Jessica does the weekly grocery shopping as a part of her contribution to family life.  She finds this fits with her work schedule easier than daily chores.  I still give her a shopping list that is divided into isles though if I run short of time, she can manage with broader groupings.

With the internet now so much a part of our lives, I can download the sales catalogue before we go shopping and include those items in both my menu planning and my shopping list.

I still do a mid-week shop to top up on fresh food – Daniel still needs practice at some aspects of shopping so this gives him an opportunity to do some shopping as well.

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