That's our list and we're sticking to it
This article is part of an ongoing series called Money Saving Monday. Each Monday, I share tips and techniques you can use to start saving money.
Now that we’re getting settled into the new house we’ve begun to explore the area a bit and locate the various stores and restaurants, unfortunately the closest grocery store is 20 minutes away as is the closest decent hardware/home store. The least expensive grocery store is 25 minutes away.
We’ve been spoiled. In our old home, we were 5 minutes from three different grocery stores and about 10 minutes to two diffeent hardware/home stores. When we decided we needed something, we just hoped in the car real quick and went and got.
We’ve kept grocery and shopping lists in the past, but honestly seldom used them. When you are 5 minutes away, if you forgot something it’s no big deal. Now though, with a 20-25 minute drive, we’ve been trying hard to avoid driving as much as we can. We’ve begun using lists like crazy.
Keeping a shopping list
We keep an 8×11 sheet notepad right in the kitchen and as soon as we realize we are out of something or need something, we write it down. We’ve also been doing the same for little things we’ve found on the house that require repair. When we go out, the list comes with us. This has kept us from the “opps” factor of forgetting something, which before wasn’t a big deal but now is. Frankly, over the past week and a half, if we find we’re out of something, we improvise or just do without.
Planning our meals
Being further away has also forced us to plan our meals a little better as well. Again, before we just ran to the grocery store before dinner to get whatever was needed for our meal, now we can’t. My wife has been pretty much planing out dinners for the entire week and buying what’s needed for those during our trip to the store.
Sticking to a list
The hardest part about a list is sticking to it. This is a problem regardless of whether you’re 5 minutes away for a store or an hour away. There is just so many different items that “call out to you” as you walk buy. Those little items really add up though and will have a significant negative impact to your budget.
When you shop with a list, stick to it. Of course you will invariably see something that you need to buy, but if it’s not on your list really consider whether you need it or not. For example, we were shopping the other night at the local grocery store. All we needed was some milk, bread, lunch meats and a few other minor things. We ended up purchasing toilet paper and paper towels as well. Those items weren’t on the list, but we knew we were about out and would need them before our next trip. Be very careful though. These little extras can really add up. If it’s not on your list and you don’t need it until your next trip, don’t buy it. Sticking to your list is how you’re going to save money.
What we learned through this is to not only write items down on your list when you need them, but make a quick run through of the kitchen and/our house and note down items that you use on a frequent basis that you’ll run out of before the next trip and write them down as well. In addition to toilet paper and paper towels consider personal care items (shampoo, deodorant, tooth paste), milk, breakfast foods, etc.
I’ll be keeping an eye on our budget, but I’m pretty sure just from the spending trends I’ve been seeing over the past week and a half that we should be spending less on groceries as a result of being further away. So want to save money on your grocery bill or cut back your spending? Make a list and stick to it.
Have a related tip you would like to share? Do you keep a list? How much has it saved you? Add a comment!
Photo by: bonimo