Making Wise Grocery Lists

My grocery lists are often long, expensive, and filled with unnecessary items.  Things I THINK I need are always put on.  This gets me to use our money unwisely and also eat unhealthy.

I have recently come up with a new way of making grocery lists.  I now have decided to make a "need" list and a "want" list.  I also try to use what we have as long as possible before taking that grocery shop trip.  Separating needs and wants will look different for everyone and will look different each week, but these are some basic guidelines I am working on going by week by week.  

1. Write an overall 'need' list to refer to each week.  Like I said before, needs will be different for every family.  This is my family's overall need list:
  • basics (milk, cheese, eggs, yoghurt, flour, etc.)
  • food for dinners from meal plan
  • fruit and veggies (mostly sticking to in-season and on-sale items)
  • coffee and tea  (This could be a want for many families.  I chose to make it a 'need' because if we don't buy coffee and tea then we will end up going to Tim the end loosing more money :)
2. Write an overall 'want' list to refer to each week.  For our family "wants" are the following...
  • Snacks of ANY kind (Instead, think of veggies and fruit as snacks or how about bake?)
  • Bagels and other bread (I try not to eat a lot of bread, so bread is now a treat for me!)
  • Pre-made or ready made food (pizza, pancake batter, etc.,)  
  • Pop and Juice
  • Any extras (extra salad dressing, other sauces, etc.)
3.  Always start with a meal plan.  Focus the meal plan on using what you already have and if possible, take the time to search for sale items.

4.  Then, write a full list.  When writing this initial list, don't worry about the 'needs' vs. 'wants' quite yet.  Simply write out a complete grocery list, as you might normally do.  THEN, rewrite that list in sections of 'needs' and 'wants'.  You will be surprised how many items are not really needs for that week!
5.  This does not mean you cannot buy any wants.  The list is meant to help you prioritize.  It can help you spend less especially on a week with less money and be reminded of healthy options.  A goal I have for each week is to only buy 3-5 wants.  For those who are really trying to save money, perhaps you can cut out wants all together or stick with one a week.

6.  Begin your grocery trip with the amount that you will spend and do not waver from it.  In the grocery line, separate needs and wants in the cart.  Put needs on first, check how much it costs and then only add wants if money left in budget allows.

My "needs" for groceries this week.  

The three "wants" my family gets this week. (I'm a sucker for adding Italian seasoning to my cooking, My husband could drink that carton of OJ in a day, and we both were craving pizza!)

Throughout this post I have written 'need' with quotations.  Even many of the 'needs' that I did write down are truly not needs!  In reality, we are all so blessed to even be able to think about 'needs'vs. 'wants'.  Above all, let's praise God for our needs always being taken care of!   


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