Grocery Shopping Tip of the Week: Making a List

January 21, 2008 at 6:10 pm | Posted in Grocery Shopping, Tips | Leave a comment

You know that old Christmas song that goes, “He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice …”? Well, its not just Santa Claus who needs to make a list. Right up there at the top of my money-saving grocery shopping tips is: MAKE A LIST. And even check it. Twice, if you want!

Why? Well, have you ever gone to the grocery store, bought a whole cart full of stuff, then got home and realized you were still missing the one thing you needed for that pie you were going to make (or whatever)? Or what about going to the grocery store for a couple of onions and a gallon of milk and coming home with $50+ worth of stuff??

Sure, it happens to all of us, the urge to impulse-buy. But for some reason, most of us are WAY more prone to overspend at the grocery store than the mall. Maybe because everything is so (relatively) cheap at the grocery store? Who knows. But admit it, this has happened to you.

My Solution: As simple as it sounds, I recommend just making a list and sticking to it. There are several smaller steps that are part of this process, and that’s what I’m going to expand on.

1. Make a menu for the week. I’ve been “mentally” doing this for a while. For example, this week I work Wednesday through Saturday. So I will make two meals this week – one Monday and one on Tuesday. They will have to last R (via leftovers) for the entire week. Plan out breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and drinks. Don’t go overboard, but say you always eat cereal and yogurt for breakfast (like me). You know you’ll need those two items, plus any “sides” – enough to make it through the week. Don’t forget snacks of some sort – and drinks.

2. Make a list of all the ingredients you KNOW you’ll need, and in what quantities. For example, if I’m going to make fajita chicken, I know I need the fajita chicken itself, plus tortillas, salsa, a little cheese, wondra (for the gravy) and potatoes.

3. Next, do an “inventory” of all the stuff you already have. It’s always irritating to come home from the store and realize you already have enough of something you just spent money on.

4. Finally, when you get to the store … STICK TO THE LIST. Don’t buy stuff just because they are doing a sample and you like it. Don’t buy stuff because it looks good. Don’t buy stuff just because its on sale. If its not on the list, DON’T BUY IT.

So there it is … the Tip of the Week. What do you think? Any other suggestions or strategies I’ve missed? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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