A master grocery list is a great way to reduce impulse purchases and ensure that you won’t forget to buy certain ingredients at the store! Learn how to create a master grocery list, and grab a printable shopping list template that you can edit yourself!
I don’t know about you, but one of my least favorite household management tasks is grocery shopping. It seems like I’m always running to the store to pick up some important dinner ingredient that I forgot… And more than once I’ve even forgotten something that was on my list to start with, simply because my grocery list was unorganized.
Does that ever happen to you? Immediately after you get home from the grocery store and you’re putting away your groceries you realize that you forgot something that you really needed? It’s the worst, right?!
So I created this printable grocery list template to help us both! (Bonus: It matches my super cute FREE printable meal planner worksheets!). Here’s everything you need to know about creating a master grocery list:
What is a Master Grocery List?
A master grocery list is pretty much exactly what it sounds like… a list of food and household items that you frequently buy with space to write down additional items that you may need. Think of it as a head start on making your grocery list, because instead of taking time to write everything down from scratch, your list already contains things that are staples for your family.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click a link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Why You Need a Master Grocery List
To Reduce Impulse Purchases
How many times do you go to the grocery store without a list and end up with 10 things that you didn’t need in your cart? If you have kids, it’s probably every. single. time.
But shopping from a list, and ONLY buying those things on the list that you need, can help you save money by reducing the number of impulse items that you buy. My husband and I challenged ourselves to only shop from a grocery list a few months back, and our grocery expense went down by a whopping 20% that month!
To Save Time and Make Shopping Easier
There’s nothing worse than spending an hour grocery shopping only to get home and realize that you forgot to buy a key ingredient for that night’s dinner… so you have to spend another half hour going back to the store to pick it up or rifle through your pantry to find a substitute.
But a master grocery list can save you time by reducing the number of trips you have to make to the store! And, since you have an already-done-for-you grocery list, you won’t have to spend time each week writing one out from scratch.
Also, you can create your own master grocery list to match the layout of your grocery store, making grocery shopping so much easier! For instance, if you come to the produce department first when you walk in the door and then the meat department, you can set up your grocery list with fruits and vegetables first and meat second, so you’re not having to go through your entire list to find what you need from each department.
How to Create Your Own Master Shopping List
Creating your own master grocery list to refer to again and again is easy… just follow these steps:
1) Go through your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and write down a list of staples.
Sometimes it’s easiest to actually see what is in your fridge and pantry so that you don’t forget anything. I suggest going through one shelf or drawer at a time and making a list of items in that area that are must-haves for your family. If there are items that you always have on hand, or family favorites like certain cereals or protein bars, add those to your list.
As you’re going through your freezer, you may want to go ahead and do a freezer inventory of everything that you already have on hand. You can head here for this free printable freezer inventory sheet to help you!
2) Organize your list into categories.
After you have a list of your grocery staples, it’s time to separate it into categories. You can choose to organize your grocery list items into categories like:
- canned and dry goods
- baking supplies
- herbs and spices
- fruits and vegetables
- meat and seafood
- household products (paper products and cleaning products)
- personal care items (like shampoo and toothpaste)
- miscellaneous items (for things that don’t fit into one of the other categories)
You can also organize your list according to your grocery store’s layout to make shopping easy.
3) Transfer all of your grocery staples to a shopping list template.
After you have an organized list of food staples, it’s time to transfer everything to an actual master grocery list template. I’ve got an awesome printable master grocery list template in my shop that you can use for this, or you can create your own. You’ll find the link to my shopping list at the end of this post, along with instructions on how to type in it and edit the list to make it work for you!
4) Print multiple copies of your master grocery list or just one copy to laminate.
Once your shopping list is all ready, you have a few options for how to actually use it:
Print One Copy for Each Week
If you want to have a fresh grocery list to use every week, you can print multiple copies at once and store them in your home management binder or a kitchen drawer. Then, at the beginning of each week, you can add a new list to the front of your fridge or your family command center and add things to the list as the week goes on.
Then, when it’s time to go to the grocery store your grocery list is already done for you! Just grab it off the fridge and head out to do your shopping!
Laminate Your Master Shopping List to Use Again and Again
If you’re running low on printer ink (who isn’t, right?!) you can also print just one copy of your list and laminate it. I have this laminator and I absolutely LOVE it! It’s one of my favorite gadgets that I never knew I needed!
Then hang your laminated grocery list on the front of your fridge and add things to the list throughout the week. On the day that you do your grocery shopping, write down everything from your list on to a separate sheet of paper to take to the store with you. Or you could also use your cell phone to snap a photo of the list to reference when you’re at the store.
Things to Include on Your Master Grocery List
Of course your master grocery list will be specific to your family’s tastes and dietary restrictions, but here are some ideas of what to include on your list to get you started:
Canned and Dry Goods
- canned vegetables -corn, green beans, peas, etc
- canned tomatoes – We always have a variety of crushed and diced on hand for chili, spaghetti sauce, etc
- pasta sauce
- soups – including cream of mushroom, chicken broth, and other canned soups that are often used for cooking
- canned beans – great to have on hand for chili, soups, or easy side dishes
- dry pasta
- macaroni ‘n cheese
- peanut butter
- canned fruit
- crackers, chips, cookies or other snack items
- cereal or oatmeal
- protein bars
- canned tuna
- white sugar
- brown sugar
- flour – all purpose, baking, cake, almond, etc.
- corn starch
- baking powder – Be sure that infrequently used baking items like this are in date to avoid ruining your homemade cakes!
- baking soda
- cocoa powder
- dry cake or brownie mixes
- pancake or waffle mix
- chocolate chips
- various nuts for baking
- oils – vegetable, canola, olive, etc.
- vinegars – apple cider, balsamic, red wine, white, etc.
- vanilla extract
Herbs and Spices
- Italian seasoning
- chili powder
- steak seasoning
- all purpose seasoning
- seasoned salt
- dried herbs – dill, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, etc
- coffee creamer
- cheeses – shredded or sliced
- cream cheese
- sour cream
Meat and Seafood
- chicken – breasts, thighs, legs, etc.
- beef – ground beef, stew beef, steaks
- pork – chops, roast, ribs, etc.
- breakfast meat
- lunch meat
- fish – salmon, tilapia, mahi, etc.
- hot dogs
- pre-cooked meats
Fruits and Vegetables
- berries – strawberries, blackberries, blueberries
- prepared salads
- frozen vegetables
- frozen fruits
- chicken nuggets
- fried fish or shrimp
- french fries or other frozen potatoes
- frozen breakfast items – waffles, pancakes, biscuits, sausage, etc.
- frozen entrees
- ice cream
- whipped topping
- miscellaneous desserts
- paper towels
- toilet paper
- dish soap or dishwasher detergent
- laundry detergent and dryer sheets
- cleaning supplies – glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner, disinfectant spray, etc.
- paper napkins
- disposable plates or cups
- trash bags
- Ziploc bags
Personal Care Items
- body wash or soap
- shampoo and conditioner
- face wash or makeup remover wipes
- oral hygiene items – toothpaste, mouthwash, floss picks, etc.
- razors and shaving cream
- other hair styling products
- makeup products
Printable Grocery List Template
Want to grab my printable grocery list template? You can check it out in my shop HERE!
And did I mention that it’s editable… meaning you can type your shopping list directly into the sheet, and you can even set the category names to best suit your needs! Or, of course, you can just print it out and write in your shopping list by hand.
*Note – You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader (you can download the free version online!) to type into the grocery list!
Here are the instructions for how to type into the editable grocery list:
- Download Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer (if you don’t already have it). It’s FREE to download online!
- Open the Master Grocery List using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Type your shopping list in to the document. You can even change the headings on the colored version!
- Press “Save” so that your list saves to you computer.
- Print out your cute shopping list!
Other FREE Meal Planning Printables
If you LOVED this printable master grocery list, then be sure to check out my other meal planning printables that match! These printable lists of meals for dinner and meal planner worksheets are completely FREE!
I hope you LOVE this cute grocery list as much as I do! What are some of the food staples that are ALWAYS on your list of things to buy? Leave me a comment down below! I’d LOVE to hear from you!
And happy nesting!
Comments & Reviews
I have a system that I’ve been using for many years now, but I needed something I could adapt as my kids are getting older. It was a lot easier when they were much younger, but now they’re 13, 11, and 9 and their tastes and appetites have changed tremendously. I use a Family Home Binder where I keep all of our important information such as birth certificates, social security cards, doctor information such as their shot records, etc., school information, etc. We have our own sections so I can easily add to it as needed. I also have another section that includes leases, rental information, etc. As a family of 5, I needed something that I could easily locate, view, and get what I needed out. Now, I’m creating a master grocery list with a master meal plan, too. I do this stuff every month and I really get tired of going through so much paper! My kids go to their dads every other weekend and in the summer for 2 weeks, so I’d write out the date on the left margin of the paper and then highlight the dates that they would be gone. From there, I’d write out B, L, D, or S, next to each date to show what days we’d all be home and what would need to be fixed. From there, I take from my typical meals that I make and then I’ll ask everyone if there is anything special that they’d like for that month. Sometimes I get a request that is different than what they normally want, but it’s generally the usual same things. Having a master list of not the dates but the day of the week that I can laminate would help tremendously because I could use a dry erase marker and highlight the days that my younger two would be at their dads and then go from there. I love the idea of a master inventory list because, again, I do this every month also. I’ll go around with my pen and paper and write out what I have under specific categories and then count how much I have of what. Having a master list that I can easily write on and erase would make this step so much better. I’m definitely buying a laminator at tax time this year and setting myself up with some tools that will make managing the home so much easier. We are in a very small apartment and the 5 of us are piled up on top of each other and so are our things. I’ve done my best with what I have to organize everything and everyone, but during 2022, I figured out some things that I desperately need. I homeschool the younger two, so having something to keep everything in and organized is also needed. I’ve made a plan for this year (2023) and I’m going to get this family kicked into gear even more so we can get back on track and stay there. Thank you for giving your ideas to the world. There are so many people out there who need it and have no idea where to even start.
Hi Willow! It sounds like you’ve got some GREAT systems in place already! And yes, a laminator makes household organization SO much easier. I use mine to laminate my daughters’ chore charts, our freezer inventory printable that hangs on the front of our fridge, etc. I even used it to create my daughter a mini pocket-sized schedule when she started 6th grade because she was worried about forgetting which class she had to go to next and where the classrooms were. Thanks so much for your helpful comment, and I hope your master grocery list helps you to streamline things a bit more. 🙂
just splendid.I am a dad with two kids and this is exactly what I needed. Planning in my house was a maze but with these, I have become more organized. Thank you so much
Great! So glad the grocery list helped you get more organized. 🙂