Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tip Tuesday: Make a list, check it twice

I think the number one tip on how to save money grocery shopping is to make a list.  I don't know about you, but I am susceptible to getting very distracted at the store.  My kids distract me, the pretty packaging distracts me, the numbers and deals distract me.  I have to have a list or we leave spending way to much and forgetting half of what we needed.

Grocery Planning at our house starts with the meal plan.  I have a form I use to plan out our meals.  Then I write down everything we don't have in storage that is required for those meals.  I check and double check our pantry, fridge and storage for items we need or are running low on.  Then I evaluate my list and decide what is really a need and what we can do without till next week.  I also estimate how much the items on the list is going to cost me, and adjust accordingly.

My grocery shopping list is a form I print on the back of last week's menu plan.  I have categories organized in the same order as I move through my favorite store.  This keeps me from running all over the store looking for things I've forgotten.  The quicker I get out of the store the smaller the chance I will make an impulse buy.

We also have a notepad that lives on our refrigerator.  The notepad is where anyone in the house can write things we would like to buy.  It doesn't matter if it is a need or a desire, we write it on the list.  Special treats, fancy electronics, stuff for the house, it all goes on the fridge list.  When I have left over money in my grocery budget we can get things on this list.  And, it is a nice place to find birthday ideas.

Using a list ensures that I'm not running to the store a number of times during the week to get things I've forgotten.  It also helps me to stay focused during my shopping trips.  All of which helps me spend less.

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