Learn how to create a master grocery shopping list that will help you keep your kitchen fully stocked and organized, plus cook delicious meals for you and your family!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Click to read my policy and more about affiliate links.
Have you been in a situation where you have forgotten a couple of ingredients?
Or have you needed to make more than two trips to the supermarket because you forgot your shopping list?
I have been there several times, I like to admit.
But I have found a way to maintain my kitchen stocked, so I have meals ready when I need them with what I have on hand.
To solve that problem, I created a master grocery list to help me, and I’m sharing this today on how to create one and use it. Plus, you get an editable master shopping list to use!
What is a master grocery list?
A master grocery list is a list that contains all the ingredients you mainly use daily in your kitchen for preparing your meals.
It's reusable, so you can ensure you have every item ready in your kitchen. It contains grocery and household items that you may use daily.
This is the main list you use to create your weekly or monthly shopping list. This will depend on how frequently you decide to go shopping.
Your grocery list can be as long or short as you need it to be. Every house is different, so they may need different ingredients to cook.
This list is usually divided by category, which makes things easier.
Benefits of having a master grocery list
Some of the key benefits of why you need a master grocery list are:
Prevents food waste
This will help you make sure you use up all your kitchen ingredients before buying new ones, and before expiring giving you a result of a reduction in food waste.
It also makes you more creative with your remaining ingredients, so they don’t go to waste.
Help you stay organized
You’ll know exactly what you have on hand and the amount with this main list. Plus you can carry it with you when you need it.
Help you spend less
Sticking to your shopping list will reduce buying things you don't need. As a result, spending less money and only on the things you need. = save money on the long road.
Help you don't forget anything
This one is easy. It’ll always make sure you have all the things you need on hand, which will reduce trips to the grocery store.
It’ll help you not reinvent the wheel each time you need to write a shopping list.
It’s a time-saver. Since you’ll have most of the ingredients at home, you’ll have more time to prepare your meals.
Also, you can use it to track your ingredients inventory from the pantry, fridge, cupboard, or freezer.
Great for meal planning since you can create meals based on what you have in your kitchen cabinets and fridge.
Steps for creating one
Dedicate about an hour depending on the size of your pantry and fridge to create this list. Once you have it done it's easy to update.
1. Decide your preferred method (digital or pen and paper).
You can create your master list on a simple piece of paper, or if you prefer, you can use an excel sheet or an app.
Either one will work. To make it easier for you, I have created an editable printable and a digital version for you to use. So select your preferred, and let's go to the next step.
2. Check the inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Go into each place where you store your ingredients and write the staples in their respective category on your list. Remember to be thorough in this step. Take time and write down everything you usually have or should have on hand to make your meal preparations easy.
Organize the items by category and/or by the grocery store. This will help in a couple of steps.
What to include in your Shopping List
Below you'll find an essential grocery list of items you can add to your master grocery list.
Categories: Fresh Produce, Frozen/Fridge, Sauces Oils & Vinegars, Meat, Dry Goods, Canned/Jarred Goods, Condiments & Spices, Household, and Personal & Laundry.
Frozen / Fridge & Meat
Milk, which one do you prefer, whole, 2%, or dairy-free (almond, cashew)
Herbs and Spices
Red Pepper Flakes
Oil, Vinegar, Sauces
Canned or Jarred Goods
Remember to add any other items you didn't find and know it's a staple.
To identify any other missing items, pay attention to your eating habits and dietary restrictions if you have any.
3. Print and have it on hand in a central place that all the family can see.
If you go to the digital route, you can share the link to the document or app with your family members so they can all have the master list on hand.
You can use this master shopping list to keep track of your pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory. Each time something in your master list is close to finishing, add the quantity to your grocery list.
How to use it
Steps to create your weekly shopping list, using your master grocery list:
- Check your calendar for upcoming events
This will help you identify how much you'll need to cook and when you will eat out.
- Shop your pantry, cupboard, fridge, and freezer
Check your different places to see what is low in stock and your master grocery list you need to restock.
- Meal plan
Decide which days you will cook and what ingredients you'll need based on what you already have on hand and what is missing you to cook a complete meal each day you decide. Check out our recipe index for inspiration.
- Categorize and organize by type or store
List each item in its respective category, and if you go to different stores, add it to that one. If you use the printable, you can print one for each store you go to and carry it with you.
- Create a shopping route. If you usually shop in different stores, plan a shopping route to be organized to the various places you need to go to stock up.
- Go shopping! Remember to take your weekly grocery list with you.
Now you are ready to go shopping! Remember to carry your shopping list with you to avoid missing any items.
💡TIP: Don’t shop on an empty stomach. This will translate into you buying things, not on your grocery shopping list.
I hope you use this Master Grocery List to make your life easier like mine!
Let me know in the comments: have you used a master grocery shopping list before?