A grocery list is a lot like laundry. It's never-ending. No matter how many groceries you get, at some point, the list will grow again. But, there are ways to help manage that never-ending shopping list to help keep you in control of your spending. Here are three actionable tips you can use:
1. Your brain works better with a list in hand
The human brain loves ordered tasks. Why? Scientific research shows we can remember things we need to do better than the things we've done. It's called the Zeigarnik Effect. A grocery list triggers our minds to think of the things we need to buy, which is why it's so effective.
Plus, crossing things off a list is really satisfying. As you roam up and down the aisles and scratch each item off, you feel a sense of accomplishment. And if you know the store's layout, you could even group items based on their location. For example, list all of the items that are in the back of the store first and work your way to the checkout. With this kind of organization, you'll not only remember everything more easily but you'll finish your shopping quicker.
So the next time you're headed to the grocery store, create a list. Whether it's written on a piece of paper, the back of an envelope, or it’s saved in a smartphone app, commit to making a list every time you shop.
2. Plan how much you can spend, and save the rest
You've made a list, which is a great start, but have you planned out your monthly grocery spending?
Rather than simply creating a budget, create a spending plan. How is that any different from a budget? A spending plan shifts the focus from the things you want to buy to the extras you want to save for. If you’d like to save for a trip to the mountains, for example, you know you need to make sure some money goes into your savings account each month. But instead of arbitrarily transferring money into savings, look at managing grocery costs as a path toward growing your savings. Spend according to your plan each month, and set aside what you save until you reach your savings goal.
3. Adopt an abundance mindset
Do you ever wander into a store and buy a few too many items? Many people find themselves in this scenario, and it could be because they have a scarcity mentality. In other words, you buy a little too much because you're worried you won't have enough. In this case, you might worry you don't have enough food, so you buy more.
It's time to change your mindset. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do. For example, make a list of the dinners you can make with the ingredients that you already have in your cupboard.
You'll not only spend less, but you'll start shifting your focus away from what you lack.
Using these three tips, you'll be able to maneuver through the store more easily, remember everything on your list and return home more satisfied with your accomplishment.