How to make your master list

Control spending and avoid impulse buying by making a list of the items needed. Then stick to it.

Whether your list is a printed, organized masterpiece, or on the back of an envelope, the time spent making the list is less than returning to the store for a forgotten item. Fewer trips to the store mean less chances for impulse buying.

List Basics:

  • Organize your list according to the store layout. This will save you time in the store and reduce the temptation to buy foods not on your list.
  • Look over the recipes you plan to use. Be sure you have the necessary ingredients.
  • Check the cupboards, refrigerator and freezer for foods on hand. Are there staple items – flour, sugar, coffee, salt, rice – which should be added to the list?
  • Develop a form you can photocopy or print for weekly use. If there are foods and other items that you must have every week, give yourself a reminder by making them a permanent part of your master list. For example, if you usually buy carrots, write carrots under your vegetable category heading. Then, if you need carrots that week, circle that item.
  • Post an ongoing list and jot down items as your supply gets low.

Sample Lists

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