Tuesday, 17 February 2015


I was a bit uncertain that I should write about this - until last night. I saw on telly a program where an English family spent over £300 pounds for their weekly food shopping. Without any kind of plan we can not just spend too much money but we can forget about the healthy choices too.
Anyway I must write about the importance of shopping list.

Nothing is more annoying than coming home from the supermarket after your weekly shopping and realizing that something important is still missing.

I personally do not like shopping, - probably because I spend a lot of time checking the ingredient lists on the products, and I like check out the new items on the market. So it takes a lot of time to do the shopping. I can be easily distracted by the huge amount of information without a shopping list.

Without a shopping list:

  • I always spend much more money than I planned
  • I buy things what I do not really need - just because they are on sale or for "emergency"
  • I always forget something important and I have to go back next day - when I again buy extra, not-planned products 
  • I put more unhealthy items into our shopping trolley
  • I am prone to fill up our shopping trolley, just because I feel that we will miss something and  still there will be some essential items what I forgot about
  • My shopping takes much more time because I have to stop and think what to buy
  • We waste much more food
If I want to submit the benefits of using a meal plan, I would mention these reasons:

So I never go shopping without a list - I mean I usually send my other half to do the shopping with a list. He loves the weekly shopping, he loves hunting for good value products. However he needs a list to guide him.
The base of my shopping list is always the weekly menu planned for the next week.
I already wrote about how I put together a weekly menu here.
But obviously there are more than only an ingredients list for the planned meals.

The followings are the most important pillars of our weekly shopping:

#1 Weekly meal plan & every week regular items

Weekly meal plan

Obviously the main stream of the shopping list the ingredients for the dishes included into the family meal plan. The best and easiest way to do the weekly meal plan and the shopping list at the same time as at this point we can see what ingredients are needed next week.
Actually I make two shopping list: one for the big weekly shopping and one for a smaller midweek shopping. This latest is reasonable if you need fresh ingredients (like fresh fruit, veg, bread or milk) what are not kept well for a whole week, or they need a top up.

Every week regular shopping items: 

There are items always on our weekly shopping list, like bakery products, milk, diary products: butter, cheese, yoghurt, juice. They are regular items, it is easy to put them on the shopping list.

#2 Check the vegetable box 

We have a weekly vegetable box delivered every Friday. I love this service - fresh, organic, seasonal vegetables straight to our doorstep. However I have to build these products into our weekly meal plan otherwise they end up in the bin. So I check the box's content on-line before I write our shopping list, so I can be sure that we do not buy excess veg on top of the weekly delivery.

#3 Check the freezer:

It is good to know what is in the freezer and top up the basic (money and life saver) ingredients: frozen peas/sweetcorn/ mixed vegetables/spinach, frozen fish.

#4 Check the pantry/cupboard:

When we plan the weekly meals we suppose that we have the basic everyday items in our pantry. But it is worth to have a glance before setting off to the supermarket. So check the pantry first: sugar, salt, herbs/spices, flour, rice, pasta, couscous, cereals/porridge, dried fruits, nuts, cooking oils, tinned beans, sweetcorn, lentil, tomatoes, baked beans, table sauces, jams, tinned fish etc.

#5 House hold items, Body care items & Cleaning stuff

House hold items

Easy to forget about these, but we always regret not to checking them:
toilet paper, kitchen paper, batteries, air freshener, cling film, foil, food bags, bin liner, antibacterial cleaning wipes or spray, furniture polish, carpet cleaner, floor cleaner, window cleaner etc.

Body care items:

Again it is worth a quick look into the bathroom or storage room as the most needed items will not be remembered pushing the trolley on the shop floor: toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, body cream, moisturiser lotion, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, make-up remover, nappies, baby wipes etc.

Cleaning stuff:

The best to make a note when we run out of them but if we are not so organised, then we need to check these items: washing powder, fabric softener, washing up liquid, soap, oven cleaner, bathroom cleaner, bleach, dishwasher tablets, etc.

#6 Miscellaneous:

And finally I have a look for the forthcoming events in my calendar and add the extra, not so every-day items to our shopping list like: postcards or presents for special events, or rarely/ occasionally bought items like small furniture, light bulbs, house decorating items, garden essentials, plants, flowers.


I know it takes time to check everything, but if you do it regularly, you can get over it quickly.
I rather spend an extra 15 minutes walking around the house with my shopping list, then going back to the shop second or third time... Or what is even worst: realizing that we run out of something when we need it the most.

We do our weekly shopping always in two supermarkets what I am familiar with. So I can organise our shopping list according to the shop layout: fruit and veg first, cupboard essentials, tinned veg and canned fish, meat/poultry next, then bakery, fish, cleaning and personal care and finally frozen products. This can save me time again. Also it prevents me to put extra things into my basket while I am walking up and down in the supermarket.

Two advises on shopping list:

1. Eat a healthy snack before doing the weekly shop (a handful of nuts or a nice smoothie will do the magic even on a hectic day)

2. Stick to your shopping list!

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