Flipping through a magazine, an advertisement caught my eye. A happy woman was pressing buttons on a sleek device. The ad stated, “Stress Free Shopping is just a button away.” The advertised item was an electronic grocery and list organizer that mounts on a wall. Impressive. To use it, you press a button and speak the name of the item you’ve just run out of and the device saves the recording. Then when you are ready to shop, it prints a list. The ad gushes “How many times have you had to make return visits to the store because you forgot something?”
I see a couple of things wrong with this logic. How would I remember to find the device (now where did I stick that on the wall?) to press the button and carefully speak the name of an item I need to buy? More importantly, how often would I remember to print a tiny receipt-like list and put it in my purse? The ad claims that the device “requires no ink replacement!” probably because no one has ever used it long enough to run out of ink.
I would guess they’ve sold a few thousand of them, though. “Stress Free Shopping” and the line about return visits to the store will get ‘em every time. We all hope that there is an easy, pain-free solution to every problem.
Since I don’t want to spend $149.99 on the Electronic Grocery and List Organizer, let’s talk about some ways to keep your grocery list handy and helpful.
First of all, do shop with a list. Going to the grocery store tired, hungry and without a list is a setup for food budget disaster.
Keep it simple. For some, this means a homemade permanent list of the items you commonly buy. One friend of mine made this list on her computer and gave it to her husband. He won’t shop without it. Your list may be a scrawled note on the back of an envelope.
Ask for help. A quick “What do we need from the store?” inquiry can alert you to items you’ve forgotten. Until the comedians start calling out “Candy! Root Beer! A new TV!”
Have a place to keep track. Having a central list that others can access and add to is a nice way to have your list mostly written for you. This can be anything from a magnetic pad of paper on the fridge, to a marker board in the kitchen, to a notebook in a drawer.
Organize your list. In its simplest form, this means “food on one side, non-food on the other side.” You may want to group items according to the area in the store.
Take your cell phone. This is one of my favorite things about the cell phone age. You can always call from the store and ask, “Do we need detergent?” Back in the old days you had to wait until you got home to discover the bad news. Now you only have that problem when you leave the cell phone on the bathroom counter at home.
Try using a cell phone app for your shopping list. I use a cell phone app to do most of my shopping these days. I’ve used the notepad feature on my iPhone, but my favorite is Awesome Note. It has cute little colored folders for tasks and I have a “To Go/To Buy” folder. Paperless is a simple and pretty note app. I recently downloaded 2Do, but I still prefer Awesome Note. And wish I hadn’t spent the money on 2Do (please tell me this happens to you, too). Others have recommended Cozi and Grocery Zen, but I haven’t gotten that fancy yet. I’m into simple and zero learning curve.
I don’t know—you may still be convinced that you must have the Electronic Grocery and List Organizer. You probably have just the spot for it on your kitchen wall. At least you’re convinced that a grocery list will save you time and money. And you’ll need to save money after spending $149.99.
Leave a comment (or recommend an app)!