The Power of a Plan (with meal planning / grocery shopping form freebie)

What is this blog formally about? I don’t know anymore. Today it’s about grocery shopping with a plan. Do you mind? 

I love a plan, I love a planner BUT… I also struggle occasionally to commit to a plan and I currently lack the energy to make one some weeks.

I’m a wishy washy planner, it’s a blessing and a curse.

Yet, I find that when I go into something with a plan it becomes a total game changer.

Take meal planning and grocery shopping. Last week I made a crock pot based meal plan with attached grocery list, all in one document.

I bought the stuff for the decided upon recipes and executed them early in the day when I had the energy.

Our entire week felt pulled together by this one act. It was insane.

I once heard a pastor say that flossing was his game changer or hinge habit. If he was flossing, it led to other healthy habits. When he stopped flossing? Things started to slide.

I think there is truth in this logic. When we feel good about the way we are approaching our week we feel more confident about adding in other good stuff.

Like last week I finished some sorting and got our coat closet and medicine cabinet in order. I give credit to the original meal planning.

I used to work at Franklin Covey, back when they had stores in the mall, and we sold a paper form called the meal planning / shopping list. So I sort of recreated it in google docs a while back.

Last week Monday I scanned the ads, pinned easy recipes and then acted upon it.


I shop at two grocery stores, first I get anything I can get at Aldi, then I hit up the regular grocery store for the rest. This saves us tons each week because each item I nab at Aldi saves us between .50 and

$1 and wow does that add up.

I could blog for Aldi, I love them.

I’d like to tell you that we are getting all our food organic, grass fed and locally sourced. I do some of that but I also shop at Aldi.

I’d love to be eating closer to grain free than we are right now, and I’ve spent the summer guilting myself for that.

But really healthy, relatively clean, homemade food is better than a mad dash for takeout.

Our eating will evolve as seasons stabilize, but for now this plan and these crockpot meals are really saving our lives.

So last week when I posted this pic I had some requests to share this handy list. So here it is, I hope it’s helpful.

You can download a google doc of this that you can type and fill in yourself or get the printable MealPlanner pdf here.

Pin it now, print it later?

It’s not fancy or colorful but I swear it’s the best grocery system for our family. I know a lot of people who use handy, high tech apps to keep track of groceries and recipes.

But, for me, there’s something about crossing things off a paper list with a pen… AND A PLAN!

Do you have a meal plan / grocery shopping system? What works for you and your family?

  • Rea

    That’s almost exactly what I do, except my meal plan is jotted on the back of the shopping list. And since I don’t have kids at home during the day I typically don’t plan lunches, I just make sure I have bagels and deli meat on hand for the days the 9 year old takes a cold lunch. (Because I’m all creative with our lunches like that.) I did just realize in the grocery store on Saturday that I need to change that though. My husband is having foot surgery today and will be off work for 4-6 weeks. Normally he just eats in the hospital cafeteria…4-6 weeks of making sure I have food on hand for him is a looooong time! (True confession, when I realized this on Saturday I grabbed Hot Pockets and frozen burritos. Things he will happily eat that make me cringe.)

    • Leanne Penny

      I don’t really PLAN lunches either, I Just make sure I have deli meat, wraps and maybe a soup on hand. Then we fill in with leftovers etc…

      Also Bagel Sandwiches are delicious! Great packing job.

      Oh hot pockets… I get the cringe. “Will it burn my mouth? It will destroy your mouth.”

  • Jill –

    I’m forever grateful to you for convincing me to shop Aldi! I still can’t believe how much we save! Love it.

    We use the app “any list.” I LOVE THIS APP! I could probably blog for them. It sorts your items into the grocery store sections (if your store has a few items in strange places you can program it to remember that) AND it allows you to connect with friends, so I can build my list and it automatically goes to John’s phone as well. When you are shopping you just tap to cross the item off. I have one for Aldi and one for Meijer; if I can’t get something on my Aldi list I just send the item to my Meijer list. And I love the little “10 items remaining” title at the top… especially for those days when I’m so tired of shopping. Makes the trip go faster. :-)

    • Jill –

      Oh I forgot the other portion: meal planning. Mine is simple: a white board on our fridge. I just write out the days of the week and a dinner for each day. I don’t plan breakfast or lunch… that’s mostly toast and leftovers.