Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shopping with a plan

Have you ever walked out of a store and wondered, "How did I spend so much?"
Did you have a plan? Did you know exactly what you needed when you walked into that store?
In terms of groceries, every Saturday night or Sunday morning, Andrea sits down and plans out the week's menu, writes out the list of groceries we need and posts the menu on the white board on our fridge. Sunday morning, after breakfast, we all head to the grocery store. At the store, Andrea hands me my list.  My youngest and I go one way and Andrea and our oldest go the other. After we're done we meet in the produce aisle then head to checkout. 25 minutes…in and out!
Creating a menu every week helps us in a few ways:
  • It helps us create a healthy and kid friendly menu.
    Andrea and I are borderline health nuts. We are trying to teach the kids to eat the same, yet kid friendly, way.
  • It helps us to stay on budget because we buy only what's on the list.
    We don't buy whatever looks good or fall for the end cap pitfall!
  • We don't waste food.
    We eat what we buy so nothing sits on the shelves, unused, waiting to expire. Our fridge is full at the beginning of the week and bare by the end.
  • It helps our evenings run more smoothly.
    Andrea and I both work full-time. Whoever gets home first can look at the white board and know exactly what to make for dinner.
You'll find that this strategy can become very useful when going to any store (clothes store, home improvement store, or any big box store). Having a list helps you avoid impulse buys, saves time and, most importantly, saves money.
What do you do, when shopping, to save money?


  1. You are spending 5 minutes too long doing your shopping. The supermarket industry does anything they can to keep you in the store for more than 20 minutes. Their data shows that anything you purchase after the 20 minute mark is pure profit.
    Next time you shop look at the monitor. I pointed out to Grace the other day that the average purchase on our register and the neighboring ones on our left and right was a little over $3.00(the displayed dollar amount divided by the items purchased).
    I had her stop and listen for a minute and told her that,assuming those averages for the eighteen registers across the front of the store, every scanning beep she heard was another $3.00 being rung up! The young cashier was amazed and called out to the other cashier to repeat what I said. As we were pushing the cart across the front of the store I could hear my observation going viral from one cashier to the next.
    Think about those beeps next time you are casually strolling the supermarket aisles. It will help you discipline your shopping habits.

    Confession - I bought the shrimp that was on sale anyway. It was too good to pass up.

  2. Thanks for sharing that information! Have a list and be in and out within 20 minutes!