- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
My Friend, My Shopping List
Don't Forget the List!
After I became a mom I discovered just how vital a shopping list was to a successful shopping trip. Before I got pregnant my mind was always sharp as a tack…and then it struck; pregnancy brain. Whether this is a legitimate condition or not I found that my response time increased (sometimes significantly) at work. It wasn’t as if I could not function, I just felt like I had to think harder, and came to rely heavily on writing lists. The taskbar on Microsoft Outlook became my best friend and so did Post-It notes. Once I had the baby I hoped I would snap back, but alas complete exhaustion set in and two years later I have become comfortable with the fact that I will never regain the sharpness of my early twenties.
It took me a lot of failed shopping trips to appreciate the importance of a list. Many a time my husband would turn and ask me if I bought some item or another (usually something key) and each time I would just deflate feeling as if I just survived a journey through Target or Wal-Mart with an infant for nothing. I finally succumb to the inevitable…I had to become more like my mother.
My mom did not go anywhere without a list and usually she would write down an estimation of the items’ cost on her list so she also had an idea of how much she was going to spend before she even left the house.
Two years after having my daughter I now have a list for every shopping trip, even if I’m just going to the mall and there is a store I want to make sure I visit. Items on the lists are starred if they having a corresponding coupon and the coupons are kept in the same order as the items on the list. Too much? Perhaps, but I have to say it has made shopping much easier. When I come to an item that I decide I no longer want I just scribble it out (oh yes I walk around the store with a pen and list) and pull the coupon from the stack. Crossing the items off as I buy them gives me the visual I need to know that I have found everything on my list.
On a budget? I know I am, as I place items in the cart I quickly mark down the cost (usually rounding up or down for simplicity sake) allowing me to keep track of how much is in my cart and where I am in relation to my budget. You should always have a budget in mind before you enter a store such as Target or Wal-Mart. They are what I consider ‘dangerous’ stores, meaning it is too easy to spend oodles of money in them. Stores such as these have products for every aspect of our lives: clothes, groceries, home furnishing/décor, toys, health & beauty, etc. I find that a typical trip to Target for my family easily ends up totaling $75.00 - $100.00 (and that is after an average saving of $20.00-$25.00). That is why I find having a list of predetermined items helps; it stops me from filling the cart with erroneous things before I get to the products my family actually needs.
Lists are not for everyone, my husband detests them, but when you’re a working mom and just trying to get through a 5:00 p.m. trip to the store with your toddler after a long day at the office it just might be the extra edge you need to emerge triumphant. Because let’s face it, sometimes the smallest of tasks feel like a victory when you’re a mom!