I simply print off the list (I like to use colored paper just for fun) and circle the items to buy at the store. Actually, I work on three month’s worth of grocery lists at one time projecting ahead what I’ll need to buy. The idea is to do a planned replacement of the items I use each month.
By working on three monthly lists at one time I can juggle how I replace items based on need, sales at the store, seasons of the year, etc. For instance if I know in the next three months I’ll need bacon I have that long to wait for a good sale and buy it at that time for future use or if I really need it now I’ll buy it now. I prefer to wait for a sale.
At least half, if not more, of the groceries I purchase every month are for future use. Immediate use items are usually things like fresh produce, milk, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
If you would like a working copy of this spreadsheet contact me with your email address and I will send it to you in Excel format.
My meal planning/grocery tool kit consists of my pantry lists, meal planners, coupons and an envelope to keep them in, a mechanical pencil and eraser, as well as a binder to store everything and keep it portable. I also keep the new recipes I want to try in my binder. Once I try them and they make the cut they’ll go into my recipe book while those that don’t get trashed.
You can make one of these very simply and I challenge you to do so with things you already have around the house. My original one started out as a slightly used spiral notebook, a #10 envelope, a calendar and a pencil.