Shopping with a grocery list is one of the most effective ways to slash your grocery bill. Not only does a list help you avoid costly impulse purchases but it also prevents expensive repeat trips to the supermarket.
Unfortunately, most shopping lists are flawed, making them much less effective as money saving devices.
Below I list three common grocery list flaws and how you can correct them to save more money.
Flaw 1: We make our list right before we go shopping.
This is the most common mistake in making an effective shopping list. You jot down a list right before you step foot in the store. Unfortunately, this almost always results in items being left off the list, necessitating the return trip to the supermarket you’re trying to avoid in the first place.
You can easily create a more effective list simply by posting a pad of paper (with an attached pen) or a wipe board directly to your fridge door. This way you can easily write down items as you run out of them ensuring that you don’t forget anything.
Flaw 2: Not everyone is involved in making the shopping list.
The person responsible for the shopping may leave off things other family members need. A husband may forget that his wife has run out of her favorite coffee beans. A mother may not realize that the kids have run out of their favorite after school snack.
Again, posting a pad of paper or wipe board on the refrigerator door provides everyone in the family with the opportunity to contribute to the grocery list.
Flaw 3: We think in terms of consumables, not in terms of needed ingredients.
Its easy to notice when we’ve run out of milk or the kids favorite cereals. These are things that we consume without much preparation and are thus easily noticeable.
Less noticeable are the individual ingredients we frequently need to make many of our meals. These include items like sugar, salt, olive oil, margarine, seasoning salt, herbs, and spices the very items that frequently send us back on repeat trips to the grocery store, sometimes right in the middle of cooking!
One way to prevent this oversight is to take a moment to think about the meals you might prepare for the week. Then check to make sure you have all the necessary ingredients.
Some people take it a step further and completely plan all of their meals for the upcoming week. This allows them the additional benefit of planning their meals around the items that are on sale that week.
By creating a more effective grocery list you can avoid expensive impulse purchases and costly repeat trips to the supermarket.