I used to make the generic grocery list with no real plan in sight. I would go grocery shopping, and when it came time to make meals, I had nothing exciting to speak of. I would also end up overspending or having to go back to the grocery store to get items I had forgotten due to poor planning. After implementing the previous post's idea, it made dinners exciting again.
Well, with the new resources for meals and what I'm about to tell you has made my life a lot easier!
Several years ago, I found through my windows xp based computer program (I don't remember the exact program) a "grocery list" that was a template that you could change around. I remember seeing the template along with templates for receipts, insurance lists, awards, etc. I wish I could remember it, but I got a new laptop with Vista and I've yet to really find anything really useful here :(.
Anyway, I pulled the template up, took off items I don't usually buy and added items that I do. I actually sort of recreated the aisles in the grocery store on my list i.e. Paper Products column, Frozen Food column, etc. I listed it by item and not brand i.e. toilet paper, toothpaste, bacon, cheddar cheese, sliced cheese. You get the picture. I print two copies for the month (remember I shop once every two weeks) and start my planning about 5 days before my Friday shopping day.
After figuring out what I'm going to fix for dinners, I go through my list and check off exactly what I need to buy. Also, checking off breakfast items, (3 cereals, breakfast meat, eggs - whatever I needed for two weeks), lunch (lunch meat, chips, fruit, etc.) and snacks (yogurt, pudding cups, etc.) this makes my list complete and easy to follow. It may seem to take time, but believe me, it's worth it. Each time you work with it, you'll get faster. Remember to save your template for future printings.
No more lists from memory or going to the store without a list. It has literally changed my life as far as organization goes. Not to mention saving time too! Also, on the back of the list, I write out 14 dinner meals for the two weeks (2 Mexican dishes, 2 American, 2 Asian, 2 Seafood, 2 Italian, 2 Sandwich dishes). On Fridays, we have breakfast for dinner - yumm! I put the menu side of the list on the fridge so I know what I'm making that night.
I hope you can find the list (or make your own) and that it helps you as much as it has helped me.