I’ve always looked at shopping lists as a bit of an ‘old school’ thing to do, something not really for me. Whether you consider yourself a list maker or not, how often do you actually write down want you need and take it with you to the supermarket? There are many benefits of making a list and religiously sticking to it. Here are a few reasons why a simple list can improve your shopping experience and enhance your life.
If you stick to the list you can save cash. Research shows that, if you don’t have a list, you spend 60-80% more time shopping than if you had one. Writing down what you need and then only buying that helps you stick to a budget… You can still check for special offers on the items on your list, for instance, if there is a different brand of pasta on offer, cheaper than your usual one, get it. However, just like a nightclub on VIP nights, if it’s not on the list, it’s not getting in. If you’re only buying a handful of items, don’t even get a trolley or basket – if you can’t hold it, you won’t buy it!
It also helps you to avoid food waste. If we buy only what we need we avoid throwing away food. If you know you need apples and write it down, you’ll buy apples and use them. If you only need three potatoes, why buy an entire bag of them which could well end up in the bin? By having a look in your freezer you can also decide if you need to write ‘fish fingers’ on your shopping list but if you don’t take the time to make a shopping list, you probably won’t think about what’s in your fridge, freezer, and cupboards already. Wasted food is said to cost a household between £250 – £400 a year. Think about what else could you do with that money!
To some, writing a list may seem like a waste of time, but it can actually save you time. If you know exactly what you want you’re less distracted in the store and can just head to the aisles you know you need to visit. I find it frustrating going to the shops, especially on weekends when it’s busy. So targeting the specific areas I need things from helps me cut out zones I don’t need to pass through and get caught up in the supermarket traffic. Spending the time creating a list can also help you avoid wasting more time having to return to the shop to buy forgotten items.
A list can be better for your health too. If you stick to the list you’re less likely to be swayed by tasty-looking foods that aren’t necessarily good for you. By all means have some treats on your list but stick to them, instead of filling your basket with whatever you feel like at the time or whatever smell is wafting out the bakery section that day.
Remember, your list doesn’t have to be in pen and on paper. With your phone always in your pocket there are plenty of free apps you can take advantage of to create your shopping list. Make a list next time you go shopping, stick to it, and start saving money!