Do you go to the grocery store each week with a plan in mind? I used to browse the aisles and figure out meals as I walked. This usually resulted in missing items for a recipe and extra impulse buys for no reason. I was at a point of running to the more expensive grocery store on the corner up to 4 or 5 times a week, which is just absurd. Do you know what happens when you run to grab one item? You end up with 5-10 items, spending 3x as much as intended and eat too much junk food because admit it, that’s what you bought! That’s it, it’s time to save money!
This is how I’m revolutionizing how I go grocery shopping. See how I utilize my bullet journal to save money!
Every week, whether it was on a weekly spread or a weekly dashboard, I had a menu plan that looked a lot like this.
The system worked fine but I wound up with an issue actually writing my grocery list. Do I write the list in my bullet journal or on a spare piece of paper? I want to save money, not waste it by not utilizing the bullet journal system. The point of the system is to have everything in a single place!
I hated taking up so much space in my precious Leuchtturm, plus grocery lists always wind up looking messy.
I needed to find a better way because this annoyed me like crazy.
Despite my dad’s teasing about my bullet journaling, he’s had a nice nerdy streak himself! When I was a teenager, he made this crazy-ass grocery list in excel where he wrote down almost every single item they bought every single time. Not just the list, he actually wrote it in the order he walks down the aisles, not numerically. It’s genius. My parents loved to save money and of course as kids, we don’t understand it… But as a wife and mom of two boys, I have a feeling that if I learn to save money, it will make life easier when they’re big enough to eat everything in the house!
When I decided I wanted a better way, this memory came springing into my mind. The other item that came to mind was my cabin packing list from 2017. It was the first reusable spread I ever created and it worked out so well, I was so proud!
Pulling it all together
I sat down and flipped through a bunch of old grocery lists and came up with a list of items that I buy often. Certain fruits, veggies and pantry products that are almost always on my list. I didn’t want to waste space for items I only buy once every few months!
I took a notebook and headed down to my primary grocery store. I’m trying to restrict my shopping to here with the odd trip to Costco because they have the best prices. The one on the corner is just too expensive!
I walked the aisles exactly how I follow it when I shop and wrote down what’s in each aisle. I looked for the tricky items too (you know the ones, like hollandaise sauce where you can never seem to remember where to find them!).
Trying not to be quite as specific as my dad was, I just used a general idea so I can follow a combination of my path and alphabetical. I feel it will make everything easier to find!
I came home, reorganized the big list I had made, and got to work on creating a spread.
The Menu Plan
If you’ve checked out my last post, you know I’m now obsessed with creating reusable bullet journal spreads!
The intent behind a reusable spread is to fill it every week with pencil then erase and use again the following week!
The left page is simple: Each day is a different row and each column indicates meals and snacks. Most items are easy to nail down because I follow my daycare menu plan every week. The variety depends on what hubby is craving that week for lunch!
Dinners are more difficult. I feel like I’m always cycling the same meals. I may share it one day but I had compiled a list, organized by the protein, of common meals we make. It is surprising how much variety I actually had, but when you’re faced with brainstorming ideas, sometimes it’s hard to think of the tried-and-true recipes!
What can also be a huge help is to look at your local flyers and choose proteins that are on sale and build recipes based on that. It may give you something fresh and different for dinner and save money in the process!
The Grocery List
Once I’ve got my menu plan completed, I go through it one meal at a time to figure out ingredients I need. I can’t stress this enough: be in the kitchen to do this. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t get an item that it turns out I needed and how many times I bought a product I already had and it went to waste! Don’t be like me, be smart!
The right side of this page has the large list I referred to, broken down into sections that made sense to me based on the grocery store I like to shop at. I’m hoping that laying it out this way will prevent me from going back and forth in the store looking for items because they were in a random spot on my list!
You’ll notice I’ve got two boxes for each item. The left is so I can indicate a quantity I need for each product, the right is to check it off while I’m in the store after I grab the item! I’ve also left a few blank spaces in each section so I can pencil in anything that may be atypical for me to buy.
No more forgetting items! Unless the store doesn’t have it in stock, I will have what I need and will not continue the runs to the store multiple times a week!
Save money by bullet journaling
This idea has the potential to save me hundreds of dollars in groceries every month. I was at a point of probably spending $200 or so on those random items at the corner store that I really didn’t need to get that $3 item I was missing.
The cabin packing spread is actually what completely changed my life when it came to bullet journaling. I wasn’t very consistent in my bullet journal and while I still struggle with habit trackers, this was a game changer for me. The first time I ever used that packing list, we had the best family-fun filled weekend at the cabin that we had all year…because I wasn’t thinking about having to run to the store and because the kids weren’t cranky because of something I forgot.
This moment was when I realized just how useful the bullet journaling system was and ever since, I’ve been hooked!
How do you plan your menu and shopping lists? I want to hear your feedback!
Please leave a comment below and share your ideas with me!