Ah…the shopping list. It can be the most important tool in a life with less. You see, when you approach all your spending with intention, you will get more of what you need and less of that which just catches your eye.
I admit it. I used to be a “shop for entertainment” type of girl. That is, I would wander around the mall or the local Target or Bed, Bath or Beyond when I was bored. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I could usually find something that I didn’t even know I needed. And let’s be honest, it’s very easy to justify that set of towels on sale or that clearance sweater or even that dark chocolate candy bar when you don’t have a plan.
It took quite a while for me to break that habit and I won’t pretend it was easy. Making a list of exactly what I needed to purchase was the key to my success. By having a plan, I was able to focus on just the purpose on my shopping trip. I was giving myself permission to buy…but only those items I actually needed. If it wasn’t written down, it didn’t go in the cart. No impulse buys.
However, the plan is very important and making good shopping lists depend on how you’ve planned your spending. Budgeting, meal planning and simplifying are all part of successful planning and list making. However, the first step is to break the habit of mindless shopping and start making purchases with intent. So the next time you go to the store, whether you’re buying food or clothes or household items, make yourself a list. Actually sit down and think about exactly what you need and write it down. And then limit yourself to only what is on that list. A couple things will happen. First, you’ll realize shopping doesn’t take nearly as long when you have a plan. Second, you’ll spend less money. A bit of extra time and money doesn’t sound so bad, does it?