Here's How to Save $100+ Per Week By Shopping With a Grocery List

Shopping with a grocery list is a simple, smart financial hack that actually works—and saves you tons of money in the long run.

If you've ever walked into a grocery store on a mission to buy just eggs and milk, but left with a cart full of items you didn't really need, you're not alone. We've definitely been in your shoes. However, with one small lifestyle change, you can end up saving more than $100 every week.

Impulsive buying is a difficult habit to break, especially at grocery stores. It's easy to start filling your cart with buy-one-get-one snacks, bottles of wine on sale, and some new salad dressings that sound tasty. Next thing you know, you've spent an extra $100 on groceries you never intended to spend. It adds up fast-especially when you're grocery shopping on a weekly basis.

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Breaking the cycle

Spending ridiculous amounts of money on groceries (some averaging out to $250 or more per haul) is pretty easy to do. It can feel excessive and wasteful, especially when at least a quarter of the items purchased end up sitting in your pantry for months, uneaten and forgotten about. So, we started thinking about how much money we could save through smarter shopping habits.

To break the cycle, implement a grocery shopping list that can get you out of this shopping trap. In many other areas in life, including work, we know it's helpful to use lists. They help keep you on track, make sure that you get everything done, and also add some structure to whatever it is you're taking on at any given moment. Plus, they make you feel more organized in your day-to-day activities. Why couldn't this also work for grocery shopping?

Not only does a list help you not forget to buy what you actually need, but it cuts down on the amount of time you spend in a grocery store. A list has the benefit of fewer impulse buys.

Make one master list to keep on your phone that has all of your essentials that you buy each week, such as eggs, dairy, meats, fruits, vegetables, drinks and a handful of go-to snacks. Use a whiteboard on a fridge to write down anything else you might run out of. Then, before each trip to the grocery store, sit down and combine the two lists, keeping a written tab on everything you need that day.

When you start this method, make a vow to stick as closely to the list as possible, allowing no more than three additional impulse buys if something catches your eye.


Saving big with smarter shopping

If you stick to your list, you'll soon find out how much faster you make your way through the grocery store. Instead of spending an hour shopping, you can easily be in and out in half the time. You'll also be less inclined to make impulse buys, since you aren't casually browsing the aisles. The biggest kicker? When you check out—with everything you actually need—the final sum will likely be much lower than your usual amount.

Sure, you might not go home with an extra three bottles of wine that had such a good sale on them that you couldn't say no, and an armful of exotic snacks, but you did go home with a decent chunk of cash that you could use elsewhere. What could be better than that?

When I checked out-with everything I needed that week-it clocked in at half the price of our usual grocery hauls. Rather than looking at a $250-plus bill, the final sum was $100 less.

While switching to list-only shopping seemed like a major change at first, you'll get used to it rather quickly. It makes shopping more efficient, and your household budget that much more flexible. After a few months, you'll never go back to casual browsing. Thanks to this tiny lifestyle hack that amounted to serious financial gains, you will be able to better prioritize your spending and learn smart ways to both shop and save. Plus, it feels good to be less wasteful with food—another hidden bonus of this strategic shopping practice.

Print out a list like the one above or make one on your phone; it doesn't matter how you go about it. Shopping with a grocery list (any grocery list!) can be a smart financial hack that actually works-and saves you tons of money in the long run.

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