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Smarter Shopping: Lists That Work / Confessions of a Horrible Shopper

Posted by on Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 40 Replies


I'm going to confess: I'm a horrible shopper. I don't really like doing it and I'm not good at it, at all. Especially not grocery shopping or even shopping for shoes or something necessary. If anything, I do enjoy shopping for gifts for others, which is always fun, or for the really rare events like a best friend's wedding, when I have a great excuse to go buy something special that I never usually buy, or wear. But no matter whether I am getting ready to embark on every-day hum-drum grocery or pharmacy shopping, or looking ahead to more exciting, and fun, holiday gift shopping, I always like to make lists.

Embarrassing confession #2: I don't usually remember to bring the list, and if I do, I lose it half way through my shopping trip, or I drop it while I'm running out the door, or my dog eats it (seriously). In the odd event none of these pathetic occurrences take place, confession #3: my list is usually so messy, with things written sideways, crossed out, in five different pens, crayons and markers, with question marks and other notes to self scribbled all around it, that I give up trying to decipher it half way through the super market or just get dizzy rushing back and forth across the isles from fruit to cereal back to fruit, to bread isle, back to veggies, then dairy - I think you see my style. I have actually tried once buying those pre-printed shopping list notepads, where you just check things off, but I found that maddening and useless for me as well, because there were a million things on there I didn't need which I kept seeing in front of me, and it took me longer to figure out what I did need, in the end.

So I've finally come up with a working solution: Making lists on LINED paper which I split up, first, into sections, and even subsections if my list is going to be huge, like this: PRODUCE: fruit, then veggies. DAIRY; FROZEN FOODS; CLEANING PRODUCTS, and so on. And, if you do this in the order you usually shop (depending where you enter your usual stores, what's near the register and exit, or in-between), you can just fold your paper over as you go through the list. Genius, right?! Another idea, if your lists are really long and you know your markets well, is to split things up, by isle, like BAKING ISLE AND BREAD; COOKIES AND CRACKERS; CHIPS AND DIPS; HALLOWEEN CANDY, CARDS AND DECOR; etc.

And as far as the much more exciting, but sometimes more challenging and definitely more time-consuming holiday gift shopping, the one piece of solid advice I have to share is something my adorable husband does: make a list, throughout the year, that you keep on a little secret slip of paper in your wallet or purse, where you jot down any ideas of things people need or things they mention they have been wishing for or looking for. This way, when the holidays approach, you'll have plenty of ideas for great, useful gifts for those close to you, and you can even do some of your hunting online from the comfort of your couch, if you chose, instead of fighting crowds and rushing all over, searching for ideas.

The one last list advice I have to add is, if you feel so inclined, there are several apps, both free or paid, that help you create lists. Personally, I enjoy having a few minutes away from staring at a screen when I shop, so I don't do that, but I know moms who do, and rely on this. The lists will show you what you buy often, or suggest things you might need, which is cool too. Just search for Shopping List in your app finder or app store.

Do you make shopping lists, and how do they work, for you?

© iStockphoto.com/hayatikayhan  

by on Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mamivon2
by Sandra on Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:05 AM

 dont.. not really at least. I might write down what I really have to have..

Mznaye
by Jo on Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:43 AM
2 moms liked this
Sometimes I use the coupons as a "list".
lovehimforever
by Member on Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:49 AM
1 mom liked this
it and when I make them, I always forget them at home. haha
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twnkedee
by Tia on Oct. 16, 2013 at 3:26 AM

I use a list of things I am out of and go from there.

ablackdolphin
by Platinum Member on Oct. 16, 2013 at 7:45 AM
2 moms liked this
Always!!! I have to or the kids will distract me too much!
elasmimi
by Ruby Member on Oct. 16, 2013 at 7:50 AM

I do make lists. I go through my menus and add whatever I need for each recipe, then check my coupons versus sales. I think it's a great idea to put them in that order, but I don't. I just glance through my list before I leave each department. And I put the coupons I'm using with my list so I don't forget it.

momofsixangels
by Colleen on Oct. 16, 2013 at 8:17 AM
1 mom liked this

I always have a list.

ceciliam
by Ruby Member on Oct. 16, 2013 at 8:30 AM
1 mom liked this

I always make a list. When I shop at Wegmans, I use their list maker and print it out. Wegmans organizes your list in catergories and by aisle and also lists the price of the item and a total amount you are spending....I love this feature!

momma-flynn
by Greta on Oct. 16, 2013 at 8:50 AM
1 mom liked this
I am not great at lists. I have an ap from my grocery store that I use all the time now. You can make your list directly from the weekly ad & I have saved a lot of money with the ap.
Tigress22304
by Platinum Member on Oct. 16, 2013 at 8:52 AM
1 mom liked this
Okay first I go to the bathroom,write down whatever we"re low/out of.

Then to the cleaning pantry,kitchen,cabinets,fridge,laundry room.

We shop at only 3 stores,so I know where everything is located.

Usually I"m able to split the list,so I can do my half and dh can do the other half.

But no matter what,we always forget SOMETHING.
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