Essential Grocery List

Grocery list - essential grocery list that helps you cut down on over stocking and saves money

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Do you struggle to get healthy meals on the table fast for the whole family without breaking the bank?

I so do.

It’s hard.

And I absolutely can’t do it without a good grocery list that ensures the essentials are always in the pantry, fridge and freezer.

My list of grocery essentials has changed … lots more healthy stuff on it … but has actually … oh my goodness … been on the go for over 10 years!!!

And this little list really has saved me heaps of time and money.

Cuts down on over stocking

I keep a hard copy of the grocery list in a binder in the kitchen.

If you print it on card and cover in contact paper you can mark things off during the week and then wipe it clean once you’ve done the shop.

(I also have chalkboard contact paper stuck on the inside of a food cupboard door by the stove ,so I can scribble up stuff I’m running out of whilst cooking and mark it on the grocery list later).

Keeping the grocery list up to date means I don’t run out of essentials.


I don’t end up double and triple stocking because I’ve forgotten what I’ve got.

Can use it on the go

I’m a WAHM mum at the moment so the paper list works well.

But when I wasn’t working at home, I kept the list on my phone, so I could easily buy stuff when I was out and shop on-line and also let the rest of the family know what we needed.

As I am going to be at home much less I’ve loaded it into Cozi … a super cool FREE family organiser with a shopping list feature that you can use both on-line and on your phone.

If you’ve not come across Cozi before do check it out here …

Now obviously your list of grocery essentials won’t be exactly the same as mine.

But my list should help you to get started super quickly.

I have summarised it below. 

Helps me find the best price

With a marked up list of exactly what you need it’s very easy to do price comparisons on specific groceries.

I’m not … yet … a big coupon user, but it would be really easy to tie coupons into your list, by adding the list to the shopping list feature on coupon sites.

Essential grocery list


  • Milk – whole (for kids), semi-skimmed & long life (for emergencies)
  • Butter – salted, unsalted & spreadable
  • Margarine – for baking
  • Eggs
  • Cheese – hard cheese, mozarella, parmesan, cream cheese, cottage cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Ice cream


  • Juice – orange, apple, grapefruit, tomato
  • Coffee – incl. decaf
  • Tea – black, green, mint, herbal
  • Cordial / squash
  • Sodas


  • Tomatoes – chopped, whole
  • Baked beans 
  • Beans & pulses – lentils, kidney, garbanzo (chickpea), black eye, black,
  • Soups
  • Fish – anchovies, sardines, tuna
  • Meat
  • Fruit – pineapple, peaches

Pasta, Rice, Noodles etc

  • Pasta – spaghetti, tagliatelli, penne, lasagna, small pasta, soup pasta, gnocchi
  • Rice – white basmati, wholemeal basmati, risotto, pudding
  • Noodles – thick & fine
  • Grains – bulgar wheat, quinoa, cous cous
  • Tacos


  • Fish fingers
  • Sausages
  • Veggie Sausages
  • Smoked salmon

Preserves, Sauces & Oils

  • Jelly / Jam
  • Honey
  • Peanut butter
  • Syrup – golden, maple
  • Mustard
  • Marmite 
  • Ketchup
  • Vinegar – white wine, red wine, cider, malt, balsamic
  • Cooking wine
  • Oil – olive, sunflower
  • Sauces – soya, worcester, BBQ
  • Tomato puree
  • Capers
  • Olivers
  • Lemon juice


  • Porridge oats
  • Grown up cereals –
  • Children’s cereals

Crackers & Cookies

  • Oat cakes
  • Crackers
  • Cookies / sweet biscuits

Nuts, Seeds & Dried Fruit

These are all great high energy snacks for tired moms and healthy additions to all sorts of quick meals …

  • Seeds – flax seed, chia seed, pumpkins, sesame
  • Nuts – walnut pieces, almonds ground & flaked, pine kernels, brazil nuts, cashews
  • Dried fruit – raisins, mixed fruit, dried apricots, dried prunes
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Edamame beans


  • Flour – plain, wholemeal, self-raising, white bread, brown bread, spelt
  • Corn starch / corn flour
  • Sugar – caster, granulated, icing, brown, demerara
  • Chocolate – cooking, cocoa powder, chocolate chips
  • Baking agents – baking powder, baking soda / bicarb, cream of tartar
  • Vanilla essence
  • Vegetable suet
  • Custard powder
  • Condensed milk
  • Food colourings
  • Treacle

Kids’ Snacks

We don’t have lots of bought snacks and I’m afraid crisps are for parties and picnics only but we do keep a supply of no sugar, organic snacks in that help my fruit-phobic daughter to get her five a day …

  • Oat bars
  • Fruit pouches
  • Fruit smoothies

Herbs & Spices

  • Stock powder – vegetable, meat, fish
  • Spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, garam masala, fennel seed, cumin, chilli powder, curry powder, paprika,
  • Herbs – oregano, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Gravy granules

I really hope you find this post useful – and the list! I’ve also got a post on 8 easy ways to hack meal planning.

The meal planning post is a great way to get yourself into the meal planning mindset, especially if you’ve been thinking about meal planning for a while, but never seem to have the time or brain bandwidth to get started. 

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How to create your own family grocery list - a master grocery list that helps you stay on budget and manage the grocery shop so you never run out and never overstock. It's a great for meal planning, feeding your family healthy food and saving money. #MealPlanning #GroceryList #Shopping #homemaking #familyfood #familyfreshmeals #food #organisation


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Hello, I'm Luci, Editor of Mums Make Lists. MML is full of creative tips I’ve put together to bring calm and balance to the lives of busy mums and their families.

6 thoughts on “Essential Grocery List”

  1. I keep a list of a few items to buy each week (milk, bananas, bread, yogurt) on my special grocery list printable. I keep it on my fridge until shopping time.

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