How to manage your shopping list

A shopping list is an important item for your weekly or fortnightly shopping trip. Whether you prefer the pen and paper method for making your shopping list, or the functionality of using an app on your phone instead, they are both helpful for managing your lists.

Most households will have staple items that they buy on a regular basis with a few others to supplement the weekly shop. The difficulty begins when you forget to buy a staple item that every family member uses or a crucial ingredient needed for the success of a family dinner. Shopping lists help to prevent mini disasters like these and are well worth the ten minutes or so spent organising one before you hit the shops.

Planning your shopping list

  • It’s sensible to plan your shopping list in conjunction with your menu planning for the week ahead. You can get tips on menu planning here, or try our free downloadable meal planner. Have your cookbooks alongside you as you make your shopping list and draw up a list of ingredients.
  • Keep a running list on your fridge. It’s helpful to have one on your fridge so you can make note of what items are running low in your fridge. It can be hugely annoying to do the big shop only to discover that you’ve forgotten a staple like margarine and the current tub will only last a day or more. You can download our free shopping list templates to keep track of what you need to buy for your fridge, freezer, and pantry.
  • If you are handwriting your list, take the time to plan your shopping list in line with the layout of your store. Identify key categories and map them out on your list. So if meat is at opposite end of store, plan it onto your shopping list accordingly.

The benefits of an app for doing your shopping list

Using an app on your phone is a very practical way to manage your shopping list. Quite often you will be shopping for the same items on a regular basis. By storing them in your app you are saving yourself the trouble of writing them out over and over again.

Some apps will now let you simply dictate your list into your phone by saying it aloud. They also have the technology so that you can use a barcode scanner to scan the foods you have in your fridge so you can add them to your list

The other useful feature is that they can usually sort items in list by the order of the aisle they are in at your local supermarket. All you have to do is to create the aisles in your app.

These are a couple of popular shopping list apps that are both free can be easily downloaded to your phone.


Scan2List is an app designed specifically for Australian shoppers. They cite their benefits as: “Scan2List is a free Australian iPhone App that allows you to quickly and easily create shopping lists simply by scanning the barcodes of items in your pantry or manually adding them to a list. Lists can then be saved for future use and be synchronised with other Scan2List App users in the household. When at the shops, a list can be organised into aisles that match the layout of the store and items can be checked off as they are added to the trolley.”

Some of the benefits of using Scan2List include:

  • Users always have their shopping list with them and can add needed items as they run out or whenever they spring to mind.
  • Lists can be synchronised with other Scan2List users in the household so whoever does the shopping is confident that they are purchasing the exact products needed.
  • Lists can be arranged into an aisle order that matches your favourite store and saved for recurring use.

You can download it for free on iTunes.

Grocery IQ

Another popular app is Grocery IQ which is also helpful in planning and managing your shopping list:

Its many practical features include:

  • Lists: Build grocery lists quickly from our database of millions of items.
  • Aisles: Create custom aisles and reorder aisles for any list.
  • Favorites: Easily add frequently purchased items to new lists, search and filter favorites to build lists quickly.
  • History: Keep track of what you’ve checked out and filter history by list. Easily create lists from history items.
  • Multi-Barcode Scan: Add multiple items by simply pointing your camera at any product barcodes.
  • Voice Search: Use advanced voice search to create your list.
  • All List Items: Never forget an item again by viewing all items in “All List Items”. Toggle your lists settings to view “All List Items” on any list you choose.
  • Store Locator: Find nearby grocery stores and add your loyalty card.
  • Sync: Sync your lists with the website, friends and family.
  • Coupons: Search free coupons, view recommended coupons, print, email or add coupons to your store loyalty card.
  • Item Details: Add price and description, customize package types, weight, quantity and more." -

You can download Grocery IQ on iTunes

Irrespective of the method you choose, the shopping list is a valuable tool in saving you time when doing the weekly or fortnightly shop. It also prevents you from buying unnecessary items and will aid in successful meal times as well.