« Mac's wants to sell liquor, hire more staff | Main | Are rising food prices having an impact on your budget? »

July 01, 2021

Why you're better off sticking to that grocery list

It's no secret that supermarket layouts, promotions and even smells are designed to encourage consumers to spend. Every section of the grocery store is designed to make you buy more food than you need.

But, according to one New Zealand study, making a list before shopping is an effective way to resist temptation and avoid last minute deals at the check-out. Written shopping lists significantly reduce average spending. In addition, those with a list also finished shopping more quickly, the researchers report.

All of which is no surprise to Crystal Paine who blogs at MoneySavingMom.

Your list doesn’t have to be on some fancy spreadsheet nor does it need to be extremely detailed, she suggests. But don't leave home without it. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up with a number of over-priced, non-essential impulse purchases that aren’t in the budget.

It will also ensure you don’t have to make a second trip at the store later in the week to pick up the three things you forgot to buy initially, she maintains. That list stops you from duplicating what's already in the fridge as well. 

Instead of using pen and paper though, grocery list apps offer built-in databases so you can quickly add items to your list. Some even include barcode scanners, email sharing, and online list updating. Click here or here for some suggestions.

In some neighbourhoods, you can then send your list to the store, let them know when you'll arrive and your groceries will already be bagged and waiting for you, generally for extra $5 or so. If you think your time is worth more than that, you may want to see if this service is available locally. 

Do you shop with a list? Do you think it makes a difference? Or do you still find yourself making impulse purchases?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...