shopping list

Learn How to Create the Ultimate Online Shopping List with These Expert Tips

With a good shopping list, you can stay relaxed in the supermarket, before moving or when preparing for your first child. Using lists, you can quickly find out what you really need and what supplies you need to top up. Most of all, you save your nerves – because it is really stressful to realize when unpacking the shopping bags that you have forgotten an important ingredient.

Particularly efficient shoppers create their shopping lists online or with an app. Our tips and suggestions will also help you if you write down your shopping list in a classic way on a piece of paper.

We rush to the supermarket after work, have no idea what to cook, throw snacks and groceries randomly into the shopping cart and end up spending way too much money. Are you familiar with that? The solution is so simple: If you plan your meals in advance and write shopping lists as precisely as possible, you not only shop more efficiently – cooking is also much more fun.

We recommend online shopping lists: With practical apps, your meal planning becomes child’s play. Some apps also let you plan your meals and even upload recipes from websites. You then simply tap on the missing ingredients and they land on the shopping list.

In more sophisticated apps, the articles can be divided into categories, for example, frozen goods, dairy products, or household goods. So you don’t have to run back and forth through the corridors and save valuable time. Your favorite supermarket may even offer its own online shopping list with a list function. Or you can even pre-order everything online and arrange a pick-up date.

Here are a few more tips for your grocery shopping list:

  • Schedule at least three meals a week. Take inspiration from cookbooks or cooking websites to help you create your grocery shopping list.

  • Do you prefer to cook spontaneously? Then make a shopping list with basic ingredients. Buy your favorite vegetables and protein products such as eggs, meat, or alternatives, and just improvise at home as you please. And if you are missing a special spice or something similar, you can quickly dash to the supermarket or ask your neighbors.

  • Plan your meals with what is already there. Check the freezer, refrigerator, and cupboards. Are there any opened packs? Will the broccoli run out soon? Then today there is delicious broccoli pasta!

  • Take stock. Before you go, take a look at the basics (oil, pepper, salt, pasta, tomato paste, and the like) and write everything down on your grocery shopping list. Ideally, you should stock up before the last of the rest is used up.

  • Do you want to save on purchases? Then find out about current offers online or in brochures and adjust your menu accordingly.

The gift list – write down important dates and gift ideas

With a good gift list, it will be much easier for you to find the right gift for your loved one. Think about who you usually give and when. Enter special occasions in your digital calendar and let yourself be reminded automatically a few weeks in advance. This leaves enough time to formulate gift ideas and create your shopping list online. Not only does this help you hit the mark with your gifts. You’ll also avoid last-minute panic buying where you’re spending way too much money.

Special occasions are for example:

  • Birthday, birth, and baptism

  • Wedding and wedding day

  • Mother’s Day

  • Fathers day

  • Enrollment, graduation, and promotion

  • Communion, confirmation, bar mitzvah, and bat mitzvah

  • Religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, the Islamic Festival of Sacrifice and Sugar Festival, Rosh Hashanah, Purim, or Diwali

  • Valentine’s day

The following questions can help you when creating your online gift shopping list: How does this person prefer to relax? What does she like to eat or drink most? What could we do together? Is she particularly interested in a certain topic? Is there a charity I could donate to on your behalf? Or maybe the person could use a more practical gift, for example for working in the home office?

Student budget and shopping lists

Every student and every degree is different. Instead of a concrete list of things that you should buy, we’d rather give you a few tips for optimal budget planning. With a good budget list and a little foresight, you can cover your fixed costs and enjoy student life – without the worry that at the end of the month there will only be light in the fridge.

Your budget is the basis for your monthly shopping list. Calculate your total income and make a list of your expenses. Sort the expenses into categories and calculate the monthly average costs for each.

Examples of expenses divided into fixed costs and variable costs:

Fixed costs:

  • Rent and utilities

  • Public transport or petrol and car insurance

  • Food

  • Textbooks, stationery, software, hardware

  • Mobile phone bill

  • Health insurance, medication

  • Clothing

  • Household goods (including repairs and replacements)

Variable costs:

  • Concerts, cinema, theater, and other leisure activities

  • Sports club or gym

  • Restaurants, cafes, or bars

  • Subscriptions to streaming services

  • Gifts

  • Holidays

Keep a record of your expenses and check that your monthly estimates are realistic. If you’re spending more than you make, go through your list point by point to see where you can cut costs. Maybe you order less often from the delivery service or end the subscription for the one unused app. Budgets can fluctuate – but after a few months, you’ll get the hang of it.

Are you moving out? Here is your “first apartment shopping list” 

Let’s assume that the basics such as bed, sofa, desk, wardrobe, vacuum cleaner, washing machine, dining table, and chairs are already there. So that you don’t forget the odds and ends, here are some pointers:


Basic food for the pantry (dry food) and refrigerator, fruit and vegetables, spices, sauces, baking ingredients, baked goods, frozen products as well as dairy products, meat or vegan alternatives

Cleaning products

All-purpose cleaner, toilet cleaner, glass cleaner, dishwasher tabs, washing-up liquid, sponges, kitchen paper, garbage bags, detergent, mopping cloths and buckets, dustpan


Doormat, cloakroom, shoe rack, or cupboard


Toaster, microwave, coffee maker, kettle, storage jars, cutting board, bottle opener, can opener, cooking utensils (spatula, soup ladle, grill tongs, etc.), kitchen knives, cutlery, crockery, pots and pans, glasses, mugs, rubbish bins


Towels, soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, face cream, deodorant, razor, hygiene products, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet brush, toilet paper, shower curtain, trash can, medicine cabinet, clothes horse


Bed linen, curtains, bedside table, bedside lamp, laundry basket, hangers

living room

Nails or hooks, posters, and pictures, carpet, lamps, bookshelf, living room cabinet

About the Author

Dylan Roberge

Dylan Roberge is a San Francisco-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience covering money saving and deal hunting. Before going freelance, he got his start as an editor at Yahoo Finance. These days he writes about mobile, tech gadgets, and lifestyle subjects for a variety of publications.