May 12, 2011

Tip of the day—She’s making a list and checking it twice

There are some studies that debate the money saving aspects of list making for shopping.  Some note that those who make lists buy more products than those who go without a list.  I would tend to argue that they buy more because they don’t forget anything that they meant to purchase. 

An example is a recent trip that I made to Target with Hubby and daughter.  We were buzzing around town running errands, and I had jotted down a few notes of things that I needed to pick up there.  I didn’t, however, bring with me my master list that I make each week when sitting in front of the matchups on the computer.  Almost as soon as I left the store, I realized that I had some coupons for card games that I wanted to price there.  Rather than dragging everyone back into the store, I decided to wait until my next trip there.  Below are a few tips about making lists that I hope you find helpful:

  • Start a list for each store at which you plan to shop as soon as you start seeing deals.  Sometimes this will be the week prior to the ad being released. 
  • Don’t let the matchups be your sole buying guide.  A blogger might not highlight a product that I need to purchase because there isn’t a coupon available for it.  By looking at the sales ad, you’ll see if there are some good deals that you need to pick up. 
  • For shops like Walgreens and CVS, if there is a hot deal, I try to go on Sunday morning before church. Stores like Target, though, often have a lot of deals unearthed throughout the week.  Watch the blogs for a few days and then make a trip in.  Note, though, that if there is a really fantastic deal they are often gone as soon as they are released. 
  • Make a monthly needs list.  Think about all of the things you’ll need to buy for the month and keep them on a separate list while you are shopping.  If you need cake mix for a birthday later in the month and spot a good deal, you can mark it off your list.  This works much better than paying full price for something at the last minute.  As much as you can, try to train yourself to shop ahead.  You’ll be able to decide what price you are willing to pay instead of being at the mercy of the store.
  • Paperclip your coupons to your list.  Yes, I have a coupon bag (the binder system got out of control for me), but I also try to take any of the coupons that I know I’ll be using that day and put them at an easy to access spot. 
  • Let your children be in charge of your list.  When our daughter was  younger, she would color all over the list while we shopped.  Sometimes I draw pictures of the items that we are buying for her to watch for, and as she becomes a better reader, she’ll start reading the names of the products off for me.


  1. Two of these tips that I really agree with are the shopping early Sunday morning and the paperclipping of coupons to the shopping list. However, sometimes the store will provide a raincheck so just because the product is not in stock, it doesn't mean you can't get the deal.

  2. Good point, Frayda. You've cued me to remind folks about rain checks, and I'll try to do that in tomorrow's tip of the day. Thanks!!