Tiny Tasks, Big Results – Day 4 Thanksgiving Shopping List

Day 4 Thanksgiving Meal Planning

  As I walked past the wall of canned Pumpkin at the grocery yesterday, I thought to myself, YIKES I better get my Pumpkin now, remembering back a couple of years ago when there was a shortage of Pumpkin and I had to buy a frozen pie. But then my organization brain kicked in and said “STOP, don’t buy anything until you know what’s in the pantry.”  With just 8 days until Thanksgiving today is the day to pull out the recipes, create the shopping list and start planning. 
  Last year I came up with a really great way to make a holiday shopping list, using Excel. Here’s a link to my list, you can save it and then modify it to match your shopping list.  I would suggest downloading it now and opening it so you can view it while you read through the instructions – especially if you are a visual learner.
  The items in red are main categories or “aisles” at the grocery store.  Here’s how it works.

  1. Gather all of your recipes together.
  2. Put the name of each dish in the top row (row 1) – you can just type over my entries with your own.
  3. Start with your first recipe. Put EVERY ingredient on the recipe under the correct “Aisle” heading in the Shopping List  Column (column A).  Even things like Salt and Pepper. Then in the column for that recipe write how much of that item you need to complete the recipe. 
  4.   Do the same thing with all of your recipes – adding items to the list column by category and then the amount needed under specific recipe column.  Some things will be used in multiple recipes, like Chicken Broth in my example list.  Only put Chicken Broth in the Shopping List one time – see example.
  5. Once you’ve finished all the recipes, add the rows across and fill in the total in Column D – Total for Recipes.  Some things will be by the ounce, some by the pound, some by the each, that’s okay.   I left a few items on my list so you could see how I did it.  You’ll want to clear out all of my numbers before you start your list.
  6.  Next step, print out your list and go into your kitchen.  Use the column labeled PANTRY CHECK to verify that you have or don’t have the quantity needed to complete all of your recipes. A simple check mark can indicate that you have what you need. If you don’t have enough, fill in the amount you’ve got in the Pantry Check Column, subtract what you’ve got from the Total for Recipes (column D) and write the answer in the Purchase column (B).  The Purchase Column is what you need.


When you are going through your dry goods, if you can clear a space on your pantry shelf and put all of the items together, you’ll realize 2 benefits.  The first, when you’re ready to begin your holiday cooking, you’ll be able to get everything you need in one place.  Secondly, if you pull something out of that area in the pantry, you’ll know you need to replace it before you start your holiday cooking.  You can do the same thing with a designated area in your refrigerator and/or freezer.

Once you set up your shopping list, save a copy of it.  Chances are you’ll be able to use the list with a few modifications when you’re ready to plan your next holiday meal.  Just clear out the numbers and start again.

Download my list – click here for the link.

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit my blog.  Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know how your holiday planning is coming along.

2 Responses to Tiny Tasks, Big Results – Day 4 Thanksgiving Shopping List

  1. This is a great idea Tiffany, I used it and it worked like a charm.
    Its a bit work , and if you are not a whiz in Excel it could become challenging since my recipes (8 of them) continued to the right…….right off the page, so I had to work hard at narrowing columns, margins, page size etc. What I loved about this technique is I didnt OVERBUY! I will use it over and over for Holiday Dinners and incorporate into my weekly meal shopping. v/r Carla

  2. HI Carla Sue – Great to hear from you. You're right about knowing a bit about excel, it will make it easier. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. One of the things I love, that you pointed out is that you can use it over and over!!!
    Hope your holidays are fabulous!

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