Google Sheets – Grocery List & Meals [tutorial]

Spreadsheets has been one of the main tools I enjoy using over the years… I use it to budget my bills, create a meal plan and shopping lists. 

This will show you all that I do with the topics I have said using Google Sheets.

Hopefully you will find this tutorial useful when doing the same thing and feel free to follow me using this application today.  First off we need to start off with a blank sheet and I will show diagrams of what to do as I create the first section step by step.

First I would like to create a meal plan for 14 days, when I create meals it will last 2 days so first day is the main cooking while the second is basically left overs.  For example, when I cook pasta sauce there is usually enough to have spaghetti the first night and use the leftover sauce for goulash the second so it’s not so boring.

I prefer a varied meal though I am on a tight grocery budget… I make a list 1-14 then to the right of each number the type of meal I will have that day. I will make a label called “Meals for 14 Days” above my list in bold and set my font to 16 so it stands out.

​Next, I create another label below it called “Meals with Basic Ingredients”.  Below that I list in the first column a list of my meals and in the next column to the right a list of ingredients needed to create those meals.

​Finally, you need a shopping list, so we need a label called “Shopping List”.  This list will be a bit more complicated as we will use some formulas so it will automatically calculate quantities with costs to make subtotals and total costs in the end.  This is very handy as you will be able to see an estimated cost of your grocery list in the end. While you change quantities the totals will automatically update for you.

This is the ultimate reason for using Google Sheets, for me it’s just an amazing convenience in my life.

Create labels in each column using the following from left to right: Item Qty Price Total

You can center each label by clicking each cell the click the center button near top of your screen, it will have a series of 4 lines in center.  You can also bold them if you like so they stand out using the B at top of the screen as well.

Next make a list of ingredients you need.  This example does not include ALL of the ingredients from my master list above, you can put whatever items you want on your sheet.  See my simple list below:

Now the complicated part (really not that hard), we need to enter a formula to calculate the Qty with the Price to make a subtotal for that line.  Click the cell just under Total and type the following: =sum(c29*d29).  Basically we are telling that cell to calculate the location c29 times location d29 to give us a total for that line.  If your cell numbers and letters are different then use what is currently on your spreadsheet.

If you entered the the calculation correctly you will see $0.00.  Now we need to copy that one cell to the other below it. You can simply right click E29 then click Copy.

Next highlight the section below E29 so from E30 and drag to E41, then right click the selected area and click Paste.

After you have done that it should should look like the pic below.  Now we need a final total of that row, there are different ways of doing that but the simplest is to enter the calculation by hand.  Below is a sample of using drag selection to make the total.

in the Price column type Totals as show below, then to the right enter: =sum(E29:E41)

If all is going well, you may enter the estimated prices for each item listed below:

Now the fun part, simply add a quantity in the Qty, or number of that items you want to purchase, it should automatically make changes to the Total column to the right as well as update the Total at the bottom of your list.

Don’t forget to save your hard work, at the top left corner you will see a place to enter your file name.  I called mine Grocery Menu and List.

Finally, I save the formatting of the cells for last, for example you might have noticed my columns are different width than yours, you can change the width by click and dragging between each cells at the top showing A B C D E etc.  and drag to the left your right.  Be careful not to make them too narrow as the items and prices might show up as an error.

Also, you might need to change the Price columns to show dollar amounts by simply highlighting the numbers under Price and Totals then click the $ sign at top of toolbar.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments below.

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