Shopping List

Summary – Shopping is like war, finish your mission and get out of there ASAP
It’s weekend, and you are thinking of going to the mall for some shopping. That’s like preparing to go to a battlefield, where almost everything you do will result in some loss of blood (in this case, money)

However you are not the typical guy who go into a war unprepared. You have learnt almost every little tips to control your expenditure especially combatting impulsive buying. You prepared a list of what things to buy. You start your engine for the shopping trip. Not long after that, you are back with a lot of items you actually don’t need, fewer money to save and sometimes a huge debt in your credit card account.

Where did you go wrong? My guess, it’s the list. Here are some suggestion on how to improve your shopping list.

1) Research monthly items
Take two months to actually do the experiment. Whenever you go shopping, jot down every little things you buy, the quantity and the price. List that down and make a proper list of all the items you usually need every months.

2) Print it out and make 5 copies.
The best way to make a shopping list is by putting a checkbox near to the items on the list. Once you have print it out and make 5 copies, you must use them for 5 months. And if there are additional items you want to add, you need to add them manually by pen. Do NOT print another copy.

The whole idea is to make adding new items into the shopping list as difficult as possible. That is why I suggest we make 5 copies and finish them first. This way, by the fifth month, we will usually forgets what other items we add to the list in the first month.

3) Map the shopping list according to your grocery store.
When you are making your shopping list, try to visualize you entering your grocery store. What do you see first? What essential items can you get there? Try to make that shopping list in such a way that you don’t need to go through the same area in your grocery store twice.

The idea is to minimize the time spent in the store. The lesser the time spent, the more money can be saved.

4) Put a warning message on the list
A warning like “Every cents counts, Do NOT buy it” will work just fine. Make it extra large and bold it if you have to. For a more personal touch, put a picture of you begging so that you will not overspent. That should do the trick.

5) Give yourself sufficient money
Remember when we did the research in step 1? You are jotting down the price for all the items. Now whenever you are going on your shopping spree, calculate the total amount you will need to buy the whole items. Add another 10% to the total amount and give the rest to your shopping partner (i.e. the mrs)

Forget that you have surrendered the remaining money to her and shop away knowing that you only have exactly the amount of money to buy the thing on your list. Works like a charm..

– I wonder –
Any other ideas for a more effective shopping list?

——– I wonder ———
The mrs is actually a bit annoyed when I first introduced her to my shopping list. A lot of items are added. Can’t blame her. My first shopping list is for a bachelor, so I have to overhaul the list altogether with her.

Now the list has become a necessity whenever we go shopping. If not, we might forget something :)

Photo Credit – BruceTurner

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This post has 5 comments.


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  1. 09 Aug 08 8:27 pm

    First of all, APP feels so “berbangga: to be the first to leave comment here (like anybody cares, hehehehe).

    My personal tips would be:

    1) Send my maid with a list (like I always do on Saturday mornings at the neighborhood pasar tani). She will only buy what is on the list, fearing that if she buys things not on the list, I will of course go POK PEK.

    2) Scrutinise your receipts as the supermarket tend to make mistakes on “sale” items (as they will still give you the higher UNSALE price). Remember every single sen counts.

    3) Go and shop with full stomach. Empty stomach will make you buy unncessary makan things.

    4) Do not take a shopping cart along or even a basket. I saw on Oprah as this frugal but RICH guy tought the audience on not to bring the cart for shopping as we tend to fill the cart. With just 2 hands, your chances of buying unncessary things can be avoided.

    5) Hmmm.. can’t thing of the no 5, as my stomach is growling and asking for dinner.

    catch u later.

  2. 09 Aug 08 10:32 pm

    Ralat :

    No 5: thing = think (i guess i can’t think straight with empty stomach, that explains point 3)

  3. banji
    09 Aug 08 11:59 pm

    AkakPokPek – I care :) And I appreciate any additional ideas from you APP. Keep them coming.

    I have to say that those tips you enlist is brilliant. A maid with a list will definitely try to abide to the list. She will not go overboard even with things already on the list. I was thinking of having one, but so far… things around the house is still manageable.

    I particularly like that idea of shopping without any shopping cart and basket. Hm In fact, I’m going to practise that the next time. Thank you

    I guess point number 5 can also be to do a lot of “thinking” :) before shopping. 5 times reviewing the list will most probably deter the whole spending idea

  4. 27 May 09 10:15 pm

    I do the bi-weekly grocery shopping for my household. I don’t mind, in fact I kind of love doing it!

    However, I have a bit of dilemma. My brother (32) and my mother (55) both are overweight and should lose a few pounds to be healthier. That is fine and dandy, and I encourage it. I, on the other hand, want to gain some weight to be healthier. What kinds of food should I buy that encourage both of these situations?

  5. 28 Jun 09 7:31 pm

    Top Foods – Hm.. I really don’t think that I am that qualify to give you a dieting advice.

    However, knowing what you want from your food is a great start. You will definitely need two different group of foods to achieve two very different goals.

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