If you’re a Mum who’s ALWAYS in a hurry like me, then adding yet another job to your “to do” list might seem like crazy advice. But, believe me, this one will save you time and money in the long run. I truly believe there are hundreds of reasons why you should ALWAYS write a shopping list. No matter how busy you are, you should never set foot inside the supermarket without your list in your hand!
Why you should ALWAYS write a shopping list
I get it, you’re short on time and sitting down to write a shopping list means finding yet another spare ten minutes in your already busy day. BUT, believe me, you need to find the time.
As a busy, working Mum of three with oodles of side hustles filling up my time, I appreciate that life can be incredibly busy. We have school runs, after school clubs, homework, work, football, acro, youth theatre, extra tuition and all the other crap that life insists we get involved with. These things take up mega chunks of our time, but they do enrich our lives too.
In the past, we’ve been in situations where we weren’t sure how we were going to find the money to put food on the table at all. We’ve both been made redundant at the same time with no savings to fall back on and we were in an absolute mess.
Being in such a tough situation made me realise that going forwards we needed to make changes. Not all of the changes were drastic ones, but they all had a big impact on our finances going forward.
One of the changes I made back then was meal planning. I’ve talked in detail about meal planning in the past but it has such a huge impact on our finances and our overall wellbeing that I don’t think it hurts to mention it again.
How to write your shopping list
This may seem so simple, but you do need to have a little bit of method behind how you write your list.
Start off with meal planning. Meal planning means sitting down at least once a week and writing out the meals you plan to prepare for the week ahead. You need to take into account any activities you have to work around when you’re planning your meals. There are lots of quick and easy meal ideas you can use on those nights. You’ll also want to think about what you’ve already got in your fridge, freezer and cupboards and try to plan meals that will use those things up before buying new stuff.
Then, when you have your meal plan, you can start to write your shopping list.
Work your way through each of your meals. Make a note of the ingredients that you already have in and add any other items to your shopping list. Make sure you think about all three meals for each day, including packed lunch items and drinks.
Then, once you’ve got your shopping list for your main meals, you can add all of your snacks, drinks, toiletries and cleaning products too.
You don’t have to do anything mega fancy here by the way, a simple pen and paper is perfect for writing your shopping list, or even just use the notes section on your phone.
But why is it so important that you should always write a shopping list?
I could go on for hours about the reasons why you should always write a shopping list. But I’ll sum it up for you:
By writing out a shopping list and sticking to it, you’re not going to end up wandering aimlessly around the supermarket throwing everything and anything into your trolley. Planning ahead means you know exactly what you need to buy – and exactly what you don’t need to spend your money on. We’ve all been there, wandering round without a clue what we actually need, it’s not a good place to be!
Stick to a budget
Everyone’s budget is different. It’s important to know how much money you have to spend on food each week before you get started with planning your meals. If you have a limited budget then you need to think about how you can use that money wisely to feed the family for a week.
Batch cooking is a great way to cook healthy meals when you’re on a tight budget.
Planning your meals and writing your list from your meal plan means that you’re only buying the items you need. Don’t deviate from it.
When you’re on a really tight budget, you can also do your shopping online beforehand to see exactly how much your shop is likely to cost. I pay £5 per month to ASDA for unlimited deliveries. It works really well for us. But even if you don’t use a home delivery service, you can still add the items to the online basket to see how much money it’s going to cost.
When you know exactly what you’re going to be cooking each night, it makes you a lot less likely to be tempted into grabbing a takeaway. Not only will this benefit your wallet, it will also help you to stay healthier too.
You can also make sure you’re planning a variety of meals so that the family is getting a good range of fruit and veg in their diets too.
Less food waste
You’re going to cut down on food waste by writing a shopping list. That’s got to be a good thing! I hate to see food thrown in the bin. It’s cost us money to buy that food in the first place and “there are people all over the world who would appreciate that food” as my Mum used to say.
Go through your cupboards before you write out your meal plan and make sure you use up any perishable items in your week’s meals before buying new.
Meal planning also means you’re not going to buy unnecessary food that’s just going to sit in the fridge and rot. You’re just buying what you need which will inevitably cut out on food waste.
If you need a little help with meal ideas for hectic nights, then I’ve got some FAB freebies for you.
Pin this page and check back to remind yourself why you should ALWAYS write a shopping list!