One of the big benefits of knowing what meals you regularly plan on your menu plan is your ability to create a master shopping list.
What is a master shopping list?
Essentially, it’s a categorized list of all of the ingredients for all of the meals you plan. The idea is to better help you to inventory your kitchen and pantry area before you go shopping, and to have a more organized, regularly used shopping list.
It took me some time to create my own master shopping list, but it now saves me a great deal of time. I simply circle which items on the list I am out of. This list also helps me to decide which coupons I need and don’t need. It’s a sort of reminder to me not to make impulse purchases of things I really don’t need, but that look good in the grocery store.
My master list also serves as a price list.
The price list is an optional addition, of course. It took me several months of shopping to complete it.
With the price list, I have added what the best normal price (not sale price) I have found an item for. I only do this for those items I buy regularly, per my menu plan, instead of every possible grocery item.
Why is knowing the best normal price important?
Dollar Stores specialize in this. If everything is a dollar, people assume that means that everything is a good price. However, many things in the Dollar Store can be found for less money elsewhere. Warehouse Club Stores like SAM’s Club also do this. Many times, the items (even of the same brand) can be found for far less in other stores. As with dollar stores, there are many things that are a good deal there, but they count on you assuming everything is a good deal.
Having “best normal price” written next to an item on your master shopping list will help you to see at a glance whether or not you’re getting a good deal.
I don’t write down the actual price but the Unit Price. If the item is weighed in pounds, I list the price per pound, not the total price. This way, if I’m in a place like SAM’s, I can see if the larger size is a good price compared with the normal size at the grocery store. The biggest size is not always a good price!
Again, this took some time for me to set up on my own, and it’s not something you can do in a weekend. I mostly figured this out using grocery receipts, or jotting down notes at the store. Over time, I was able to add these prices to my master shopping list to help me recognize a good deal when I see one!