How to Build a Better Grocery List
There’s an art to creating a useful grocery list for you and your family, but it’s simple—we promise. Our easy approach to making an effective shopping plan will help you save on your two most valuable assets: time and money. Here’s how.
Build a Plan
- Choose your recipes. This is the first step toward organizing your list. Head over to the Sobeys recipes page and pick out some delicious-looking options that will fit your time and money budgets. Always consider what you already have on hand: leftover vegetables, for instance, or a half-finished jar of sauce. Make sure to register and sign in at sobeys.com so you can save the ingredients to your account and start building a virtual shopping list.
- Build a menu for the week. Planning what you’ll eat each day saves time, effort and money during your grocery shop. Not sure where to start? Use our meal-planning page to get weekly nutritionist-approved ready-to-go plans. Bonus: Each of these weekly menus contains a clickable shopping list, which lets you add the ingredients you need directly to your online shopping list.
- Include every meal. It’s easy to focus on lunches and dinners, but don’t forget the breakfasts, snacks and beverages you like to have on a daily basis, too. Whether you make smoothies at 6 a.m., give the kids milk and a snack after school or eat cheese and crackers before bedtime, knowing your food routine keeps store visits to a minimum.
Do Your Homework
- “Shop” at home first. Check your list against the pantry, fridge and freezer. This will prevent duplication, overbuying and last-minute trips to the store to get items you thought you had—but didn’t. While you’re checking those areas, tidy up shelves and make space for the ingredients you plan to buy. Check out our list of pantry essentials so you can keep tabs on necessities.
- Find the best deals. Our weekly flyer will alert you to what’s on sale at your local Sobeys. Sign up for our weekly e-flyer and for AIR MILES special offers picked just for you. Check out our insider tips on how to shop the flyer for the biggest savings.
Build Your List
- Organize by department. Picture your supermarket as you make your list. Arrange items into categories, such as dairy, bakery, produce and frozen foods, and in the order in which you plan to shop (for example, you should pick up dairy, meat and frozen products last). You won’t have to keep looking up and down the list to find similar items as you shop. Don’t forget the non-food aisles for toiletries, cleaning supplies, pet food and more. Tip: Look to your weekly flyer as a guide to how the store is laid out.
- Automate it. Good old pen and paper is a fine way to make your weekly list. But you can save some time by creating a shopping template on your computer featuring the items you buy every week, and adding special items as needed. Send the list to your phone or print it out before heading to the store.
- Stick to your list. This may sound obvious, but it’s the smartest way to stay on budget. If you see a deal you just can’t pass up, ask yourself if the purchase makes sense. Do you really need it? Will you use it? Do you have space for it at home?
- Take notes. Even the most devoted list makers miss things. Take a pen to the store to jot down any items you think of while shopping. Circle back and grab them when it’s convenient.
- Keep a running list. Pop a magnetic notepad on the fridge at home, and write down any items that run out during the week. That way, when list-making time comes, you’ll be ahead of the game.