Why is it important to make a shopping list?

Impulse buying, the unplanned decision to buy a product after feeling the sudden urge to possess it, hurts your wallet and your wealth-building efforts. It can also make you incur debt, eventually damaging your credit score and making it difficult for you to apply for financing when you need it in the future.

One of the key benefits of drawing up a shopping list is to avoid overspending and prevent impulse buying by directing your focus on the stuff you really need. You can do your shopping list on a piece of paper and use these budget planner apps to help you manage your finances better.

Here are some of the reasons you should make your shopping list:

Having a list of to-buys lets you prioritise your spending on what you really need at the moment. You’re also likely to stick to the aisles and sections where your items are located instead of exploring other areas where plenty of “great products” are waiting to be discovered.

The waiting period between making the shopping list and going to the store also gives you time to decide on whether you really need all the listed items or they can wait for another time. This will help you stay within your budget and protect your savings in the long run.

The items in the store are organized according to their types (e.g. skincare, baby products, kitchenware, etc.), but the wide product choices can distract you from going directly to the item you’re supposed to buy.

When you have a list of items to buy, you simply need to locate them on their designated shelves instead of wandering aimlessly around the store aisles.

When you buy items that you don’t really have an immediate need for, there’s a greater chance that they’ll only end up in the trash. This usually happens with fresh food. Since they don’t last long, you’ll have to consume them for a limited period of time. Once they rot or spoil, you’d need to discard them.

By making a grocery list, you can avoid wasting food because you’ll have a realistic idea of what and how many food items to buy.

A grocery list helps you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals by giving you the time to identify healthy food products and ingredients to buy. You can research the calorie content of the products as you make your list. This way, you can stock on healthy and nutritious products and replace those that hurt your health goals.

While making your grocery list, you can identify essential food items and ingredients, research interesting meals and come up with new recipe ideas.

By identifying all the items you need in a list, you can shop with focus and intent. Getting lured by a fancy product or convinced by a salesman to buy an item is less likely to happen. Also, you won’t easily fall into sneaky psychological tricks that stores use to make you buy and spend more, like free trials and limited stocks.

Making a to-buy list not only helps you focus better for a short time while doing the shopping but also for the rest of your lives. This is because the activity involves planning, which can help limit the cognitive dissonance caused by uncompleted tasks, as a 2011 study from the Wake Forest University claims.

The mere process of making a list makes your shopping more memorable. It helps you remember the items to shop for, even if you’ve left or lost your list on the way to the store. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, 80% of items that are placed on a shopping list are ultimately bought: “Shopping lists appear to be an effective external memory storage device for grocery purchasing.”

How you made the grocery list also helps with your memory. Your brain works spatially, making it easy to recall the items based on their location in the bulleted or numbered list.

Making a shopping list can give you a sense of accomplishment from being able to control your urges to buying items you don’t need and being able to stick to your plan. This triggers the release of dopamine, which makes you feel good. It also motivates you to complete your shopping task with gusto.

Apps that Help with Your Shopping:

  • Google Assistant – Creates your shopping list using voice commands on your Android phone or Google Home device, which can be shared with your contacts
  • Ibota – Helps list your items, monitors your expenses by scanning the receipts, lets you earn money by completing a series of tasks or activities, gives additional points/bonuses when you link your store loyalty cards
  • Smart Shopping List – Provides a “Quicklist” option, in which you can easily add items, create food groups, and create multiple shopping lists
  • Any.do – A grocery list app that best pairs with Alexa
  • Bring! Shopping List – A shared list app that helps you monitor when others are shopping, what they are buying and if they add or delete items in the list
  • Free Shopping List Ease – This allows you to run a list of groceries you already have in order to avoid double purchases

With the influx of products out in the market, controlling your urge to buy non-essentials can be a daunting task, but something as simple as a shopping list can go a long way in helping you stick to your goals and save money.

Need to shop for a major purchase, like a piece of furniture or an appliance, but don’t have enough funds? 

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