This is part of my Letters To My 20-Year-Old Self.

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

You waste so much money going grocery shopping every few days. You don’t have a shopping list, so you come home with gummy bears, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Doritos. Fruit pies but no actual fruit.

This is stupid. Just stop.

Start a shopping list and add things as you think of them. Only go shopping on Saturday morning when you’re the most rested and the least likely to buy a king size Snickers. Lastly, before you shop, rewrite your list and group items by their aisle. (Or use a digital list.)

Operating this way has four benefits:

1. During the week, when you run out of fettuccine, you don’t have to remember it later. Just add it to the list. As David Allen said, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”

2. No more forgetting things while at the store. No more, “I’m forgetting something, but I don’t know what” moments as you leave.

3. You spend less time in the store and encounter fewer temptations (lemon meringue pie!) because you grouped items by aisle.

4. You go shopping less often, which means fewer impulse buys, like jalapeño kettle chips. Less junk in your house means less junk in your body.

Lastly, keep lists for stores you visit less often, e.g., Costco, Home Depot, and The Dollar Store.

Take action

Make a shopping list. Add things as you think of them. And group them by aisle.