Grocery Shopping List
How To Get Your Family To Use One
By Colleen Langenfeld
A grocery shopping list is one of the smartest and easiest tools you can use to lower your monthly grocery bill as well as significantly cut your household stresses.
But let's face it. If you can't get your family to use the grocery list, you're still saddled with the work of pulling it together come grocery shopping time.
So how DO you get your family to cooperate? Here are my top 5 ideas for motivating your family to "use the list".
1. Make it public.
Don't hide your grocery shopping list and expect family members to track it down. Put it front and center in your kitchen, like the front of the refrigerator. And keep a pen next to it.
Have a fun training session. Fix a favorite meal and explain the new list system. Keep it simple!
You can use a single list (I do) or a categorized list. You can have your trainees jot down products or check off items already written down.
Here's how it works in our house.
-- If you open the last of an item, write it on the shopping list.
-- If you want to try a new product, write it on the list.
-- If you're cooking a meal and need something for the meal, write down the item and how much you need on the grocery list.
The simpler this system is, the more likely you will get your family members on board with it.
Also, point out how this helps the entire family. Everyone likes to eat...and everyone can participate. Explain how, as the family shopper, you're already doing your part by shopping for what the family needs. Using a grocery shopping list will ensure everyone gets what they want (within reason) each week. The system benefits everyone.
3. Help them get the message.
The last paragraph points out that while you may train your family on how to use the grocery list, they might not think this issue is as important as it genuinely is to the smooth running of your household. You may have to persuade them you mean business.
How? Well, take a look at this example.
-- Oops! Suzi ran out of her favorite soda. Did she write it on the grocery shopping list when she was running low?
Oh, that's too bad. She should probably go write it down on the list RIGHT NOW so it will be purchased on the next shopping trip. Of course, that's up to her. --
Mom or Dad, do you see what I mean?
No nagging; just make this process personal. Your kids will train themselves in no time once it affects their own tummies.
4. Make an announcement.
For the first few weeks of using this system, you might consider announcing the day before you do your grocery shopping that "tomorrow's shopping day. If anyone needs anything, they should get it on the list NOW."
A few promptings are only fair and will probably be appreciated. If you want to keep up your announcements indefinitely, that's fine. However, it's not necessary. I never announce when I'm going to the grocery store and my family doesn't need any reminder to use our grocery list. You can work this system the way it fits your family.
5. Make it a team effort.
You might find it helpful to assign the simple task of rotating the list amongst family members, at least while you're training. School-age children can handle this task easily; they simply take the grocery list around to the different family members the day before you go shopping and make sure everyone has added what they need to the list. Even beginning writers can successfully pull of this task with a little help.
The point of this tip is to get the idea of using your grocery list firmly planted in everyone's mind. You are establishing a new habit and new habits take time to take root. So be gentle but firm and in a few weeks everyone can easily be on board.
And the result? You'll have a grocery shopping list that's ready to go shopping when you are!
About the Author: Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at
http://www.paintedgold.com. Visit her website and get your free printable grocery shopping list today.