How Shopping Lists Can Save You Money Shopping

by The Smarter Wallet on April 23, 2010

Let’s go shopping! But here are some tips to keep in mind before you head out the door.

How often do you head out to the stores without a shopping list? I’ve noticed that whenever I venture out with no list, I end up spending more money. Shopping lists keep me on track, help me spend less and have plenty of advantages.

shopping lists, save money shopping

How Shopping Lists Can Save You Money Shopping

Just check out some of the positives I get from using shopping lists:

1. They shorten my shopping trip. I enjoy food shopping but I don’t want to be doing this all day. I have better things to do. When I head out with a shopping list I know exactly what I need and where to get it from. I’m like a heat seeking missile, going from aisle to aisle finding everything I need and then heading for the checkout. It’s a bit like a supermarket dash without the stopwatch!

2. They make it easier to avoid multi-buys or multiple purchases that you don’t need. I love multi-buys and I’m all for them if they happen to be something you would normally buy anyway. But as soon as you start buying things you have never had before — just because you can “save” money by doing so — then you’ve lost the battle. If you didn’t go into the store with a reason to buy something, then you didn’t need it. I always try and keep this rule in mind.

3. It’s easier to stick to a budget when you have a list. I don’t necessarily go out with the intention of spending thirty dollars or whatever on my shopping. But I do try to keep costs down and spend as little as possible. I don’t like to waste money if I can help it, and my list helps me do just that. If you’re interested in budgeting effectively, check out YNAB (You Need A Budget), a top budgeting tool.

For more on how to budget with the YNAB money management software, please check out this link.

4. You are less likely to buy things on a whim.
How many of us have gone into a supermarket and spotted something tasty? And how many times has the said item gone into the trolley without us even realizing it? I’ve just raised my hand — how about you? I manage to avoid impulse buying for the most part when I have a shopping list. Not all the time… but most of the time, which I figure is better than never.

5. They keep you focused.
When I enter a store, I make sure that I keep my focus on my list. This means that I am not looking at anything tempting which may have been strategically positioned at the front doors to tempt me. Of course, I still need to look for the things I need, but I’ve found that my list does help me focus on the items on it and not on everything else.

Grocery shopping lists don’t need to be done at the last minute before you run out the door to the store either. I try and have one on the go all the time. If I run out of something, it quickly goes on the list. This cuts down on the time I spend in the store wondering what else I need. I already know everything that should be on that list. It’s a habit you need to get used to but once you’re in the groove, it makes life a lot easier.

So these are some of my top money savings tips for you. Try them out and see if it saves you some cash in the process!

Contributing Writer: Allison W.

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1 Carl April 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Just today we were shopping at Sam’s and Walmart, with a list and I saw Kraft Easy mac in the big box at Sam’s. Not wanting to buy a big box for something the kids would not eat we decided to price it at Walmart and maybe get a couple to try first.

Well at the next stop at Walmart since it was not on the list we did not price it and did not notice until we got home. That has too be at least a couple of bucks saved. 🙂

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