5 Grocery Mistakes a Men’s Shopping List Will Solve

Why do we need a men’s shopping list? It’s because grocery shopping is still something that mainly women do.

This might seem like a very broad statement, but research shows that women still form the majority of people who look after the groceries. In fact, one survey found that a massive 76% of women claim they look after all or a majority of a household’s shopping.

What this means is that when men do the shopping, it’s likely that they’re not someone who regularly does it, resulting in them experiencing some significant challenges.

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This is down to 2 factors:

  • Lack of familiarity – if you’re not someone who regularly does the shopping then the experience if going to be quite alien. It can throw up surprises that would otherwise be familiar to those who do it regularly.
  • Men and women shop differently – even if you might have a strong opinion about gender and learned behaviors, there’s still a lot of interesting research about how men and women approach grocery shopping differently. These documented habits can provide solutions to the challenges men face when shopping.

Therefore, we present to you our guide of shopping advice for men, with tips for men about how to make a men’s shopping list. This will help tackle the problems men experience when they do the grocery shopping.

men's shopping list

Man Problem #1: You Keep Forgetting Items

Solution: Make a Grocery List

We men can be quite confident about our mental abilities. Indeed, it’s the bread and butter of our stereotype.

We don’t need a map, directions, or an instruction manual. We can put together furniture without pointers. There’s no need for a grocery list: we can remember everything.

However, sometimes our mind lets us down for whatever reason. We go out for milk, and end up coming home with everything but the cow-juice! When asked in our survey, “What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made when you’ve done the grocery shop?”, several shoppers highlighted this as a major problem.

But women don’t usually have this problem, especially as 69% of women make a grocery list.

Even though if might not feel too macho to carry one around, they’re very effective in helping us remember things. Block & Morowitz’s research back in 1999 pretty much concluded that shopping lists are a great memory aid.

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There’s also a whole load of other psychology behind why they’re great for helping our memories. For starters, they appeal to our spatial memory and are formatted in an easy to read F-pattern. There are also many other interesting reasons why making shopping lists are good for our brains.

If a pen and paper shopping list doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of shopping list apps, such as Listonic. Some apps even have a smartwatch version for the more digitally savvy dudes.

men's shopping list

Man Problem #2: You Keep Buying the Wrong Item

Solution: Add Extra Details to Your Shopping List

You’ve got cheese on your shopping list. But there’s so much cheese to choose from! Not only do you have to make a choice between different types of cheese, but you also need to decide which brand to buy.

Often, if you’re not the one who regularly does the shopping, you’re probably going to buy the “wrong” type of something. This often leads to disappointment, or even arguments, with those who usually look after the groceries.

In our survey, when asked what is the hardest thing about grocery shopping, one shopper responded saying, “Choosing the right [item], because there’s too many and I don’t always know the difference between them.”

Adding some details to each item will give you crucial information about what you should be buying. Indian IT specialist, Era Golwalkar, went viral after she shared the illustrated grocery list she made for her husband, chock-full of precise details about the products she needed him to buy.

Whilst you don’t need to go to such lengths as Golwalkar, it’s still a good idea to flesh out the details of certain items, especially if they’re particularly specific. This will also help to save time at the supermarket as it means you won’t stand there trying to make decisions.

Solution: Collaborate

If someone else in the household does the shopping more regularly than you, you should definitely collaborate with them in creating your men’s shopping list. It’ll give you both the opportunity to:

  • Query items
  • Get the extra information you need to get the “correct” type
  • Make joint decisions that you’re both happy with

However, we know this can be tricky: who has the time to sit down and make a grocery list together these days?

Thankfully, this is where technology can help. As well as providing a better alternative to carrying around bits of paper, they also make it easier to collaborate.

For example, Listonic’s sharing functionality means that you can make changes such as adding items and details to a grocery list remotely. Whoever you’ve shared the list with will instantly see what’s been made or receive timely notification about it.

This means you can collaborate and build your grocery list anywhere and at any time. You don’t even need to be in the same room, let alone find the time to make one simultaneously.

men's shopping list

Man Problem #3: You Keep Buying Unnecessary Items

Solution: Make and Stick to Your Grocery List

Oscar Wilde once said, “I can resist everything except temptation”. We think he was definitely onto something.

One of the biggest criticisms men face when doing grocery shopping is buying unnecessary items: stereotypically, beer.

But buying unnecessary items really isn’t a man-only problem. In the book What Women Want: The Science of Female Shopping, environmental psychologist, Paco Underhill, states that 50% of shopping carts are made up of unplanned purchases.

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Why is this such a problem?

It’s because supermarkets use an arsenal of psychological tricks to make us spend more. These range from placing certain items at eye levels, to special offers that aren’t that special. If you want to know more about these underhanded mind-games that supermarkets play, check out our guide with solutions on how to combat these.

But one of your best weapons is the humble grocery list. This is because it can help you keep your focus and buy only what you need, not what you’re coerced by. Is it on the shopping list? No? Then don’t buy it!

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  • Always with you on any device
  • Buy exactly what you planned
  • Make and share shopping lists together
  • See items automatically grouped into categories

Of course, it’s not always as straightforward as that, but it can certainly help. An Italian study showed that shoppers who use grocery lists are more likely to resist impulse buys.

men's shopping list

Man Problem #4: You Don’t Buy the Cheapest/Best Value Items

Solution: Add Ideal Prices To Your Grocery List

Men like to get in and out as quickly as possible: particularly when it comes to shopping.

One piece of research shows that men spend, on average, 10 minutes making a purchase decision compared to women who take 14 minutes. That’s 40% longer than men!


It is argued that men approach shopping in a more utilitarian manner. There’s a need that needs filling and it should be done as quickly as possible. Women are much more price-aware when it comes to shopping. They will take more time in trying to discern which is the better value option.

Indeed, Marti Barletta, in Just Ask a Woman: Cracking the Code of What Women Want and How They Buy, explains that men just want to find a working solution asap. Women aim to find the “perfect” solution.

This is further illustrated in a study that showed men are more prone to buying something because of red pricing on products, making a snap assumption that they must be cheaper. Decision made! Women are warier and will question the value before making a decision.

Besides trying to get into the habit of pawing over different products and prices, an easier thing to do is to set a price/budget for certain items. This can help ensure that your quicker, less comprehensive decision making doesn’t mean spending too much. This can strike a balance between not spending too much time trying to discern what the best possible option is, whilst ensuring alacrity.

men's shopping list

Man Problem #5: You Forget to Use Coupons

Solution: Write Reminders About Them In Your Grocery List

Men also don’t like to use coupons.

These can certainly be a great way to save money, but it takes a lot of time and effort. 57% of women will plan their shopping around a store’s offers and will also use coupons.

Unfortunately, there’s no trick for getting into the habit of looking for and using coupons. Certainly, some apps like Sales&Deals can make it easier to electronically sift through the catalogs that get pushed through your letterbox.

But there’s nothing more frustrating than finding an offer, cutting out the coupon, and then forgetting to actually use it in the store.

Therefore, one of the details you could and should add to the items on your shopping list is whether a coupon is available or not. This means you can be prepared to take the coupons with you when shopping, and even remind you to have them ready when you approach the checkout.

men's shopping list

Go Forth And Make A Men’s Shopping List

Making a shopping list doesn’t have to be girly. In fact, a men’s shopping list can make you a much better grocery shopper regardless of your gender.

But it shouldn’t just be your everyday shopping list. Your men’s shopping list should tackle the issues men usually face when doing the shopping. So, be sure to make your men’s shopping list using these shopping tips for men.

  • Make a grocery list – this will help you ensure you remember everything
  • Add item details – this will help you get the right kind of what you what
  • Collaborate – use a shopping list app to help conveniently build a list with the person who regularly does the grocery shopping
  • Stick to your grocery list – this will help you avoid buying unnecessary items
  • Add ideal prices to items – this will help you budget better and chose better value items rather than just picking up the first thing that fits the bill
  • Write reminders about coupons – putting coupon reminders on your grocery list will help remind you to use them

How many of these issues do you face when doing the groceries? Do you already make a men’s shopping list? Did the number of women who use coupons surprise you? What other advice do you have to make the times you have to do the grocery shopping more pleasant? Let us know in the comments.

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