This is part of my Blog Post Series: How To Thrive As An Adult

The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.
— Erma Bombeck

When I was in college, I went to the store grocery every few days. I didn’t have a shopping list, and therefore I didn’t have a plan for what I wanted to buy. Multiple times a week, I wandered the store aimlessly, filling my basket with impulse buys e.g., gummy bears and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The net result is that I wasted a lot of time and money shopping, and bought a lot of junk that made me overweight and unhealthy.

These days I keep a shopping list on my smartphone. It has a couple free tools to do this, and they came preinstalled. There are more sophisticated ones, too, that synchronize with a computer, like Evernote and Simplenote.

Personally, I like Simplenote and use it to manage my shopping list. I even go so far as to group items according to what aisle they’re on, i.e., the oatmeal and cereal are listed next to each other because they’re on the same aisle at my local store. This allows me to go through the store quickly and only visit each aisle once.

In fact, a shopping list has four significant benefits:

1. During the week, when I have one of those, Oh man! We need more spinach! moments, I don’t have to try to remember it later. I simply update my shopping list.

2. I don’t forget to buy things when I’m at the store. And I don’t worry that I’ll forget to buy things. I leave the store feeling confident that I have everything. As David Allen said, Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.

3. I spend less time in the store and encounter fewer temptations — lemon meringue pie! — because items on my list are grouped according to the aisle, they’re on.

4. I go shopping less often, which means fewer opportunities for impulse buys, e.g., jalapeño kettle chips. Less junk food in my house means less junk food in my body.

These days, I have a goal to go to the grocery store just once a week. I’d go less often, but I like to buy milk, bread, and produce weekly.

In addition to a grocery shopping list, I have lists for a few stores that I visit less often: Costco, Home Depot, and The Dollar Store. This way, I can get what I need without visiting them every week.

So, try it out! Use your handy smartphone and make a shopping list. When you think of something you need, add it to your list. And make a goal of grocery shopping less often. You’ll end up buying less stuff and consuming less junk. This will save you time, money, and pounds. And your life will be better.

Be well, my friend.


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