Why I Made a Shopping List Template (Organized by My Trader Joe’s Layout)

updated Jun 16, 2021
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(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

For quite a while, I was a huge fan of grocery list apps, Not only do they save paper and make it easy to add items as soon as you remember them, but are are also super easy to share with other household members. But at a certain point I realized one unavoidable issue: I hate fiddling with and staring at my phone while I shop.

I decided to give up my high-tech habits cold turkey and returned to the low-fi, totally nerdy grocery list template I created during my pre-smartphone days. And you know what? It’s awesome.

I created this list in a Word document years ago and have been updating it as needed ever since. Because my husband and I do most of our non-farmers market shopping at Trader Joe’s, this list includes the items we commonly buy there. It’s also organized in a fashion that mimics the way that we move through the store. This makes it so that we rarely forget anything or have to double back while shopping, which saves a lot of time, not to mention our sanity. (If you’ve ever shopped at a packed Trader Joe’s on a Sunday afternoon, you understand.)

I print out several copies of the template at once and keep one stuck to the fridge with a pen or pencil nearby, so we can check off items as we run out. The only annoyance is when the store reorganizes their aisles and I have to move things around within the template, but this doesn’t happen very often.

Compared to bar code scanners, in-store apps, and Cloud syncing, it’s all very low-tech, but this list has worked for me for at least seven years, and I imagine it will continue to do so for many years to come.

What’s your grocery list method? Are you a fan of grocery list apps or are you a pen-and-paper person like me?