How to shop with a list and stick to it!

How to shop with a list and stick to it!

Love Food Hate Waste research has found that while 74% of us make a shopping list, only 55% of us think we stick to it and the reality is probably even fewer actually do. Overbuying is a main source of food waste. The lure of a 2 for $2 special on broccoli tempts us, but then the next time we open the fridge that broccoli has started to brown.  We end up wasting food and wasting money. So check out our top tips for how to shop with a list and stick to it!

Never shop on an empty stomach

Shopping hungry pretty much guarantees you will overbuy, as everything you see in store will look appealing. Making sure you have had a meal, or at the very least a snack (a banana is ideal) before you shop, will ensure your stomach doesn’t take charge and make you put all sorts of random or unnecessary items in your trolley.

How to tackle specials

Sometimes it is tempting to overrule the list and stock up on specials, because the discount is too good to pass up. When it comes to fruit and veges though, this may be a classic case of a false economy, as they may go off before you can eat them.  Check out our storage guide for how to store fruit and veges so they last longer. So make sure you only stock up on specials with a long shelf life e.g. tinned and dried food, as these won’t go off. The best way of managing the temptation of specials is to go online or read the mailer before you go shopping. Determine if  you need any of the specials, or base your meal planning around what is on special, so that you know you will eat it up.

The carrot approach

Carrots are probably not the treat you had in mind, but one way of sticking to a list is treating yourself if you manage to stick to it. It could be anything from buying yourself a coffee after the shop to buying a magazine that you browse while waiting in line, but usually never purchase. Or whatever treat will motivate you to resist adlibbing, instead of sticking to the list.

The treat tool is especially useful if leaving the children at home (see below) is not an option. Reward them with a treat of their choice for helping you stick to the list (and, more importantly, for not sneaking extra things into the trolley).

Little helpers

How to shop with a list and stick to it!

If possible, leave the children at home. With another caregiver, obviously. It is a well-known fact that children helping with the shopping increases the amount of food you buy, which increases the amount of money you spend and the potential for food waste. If you can’t leave the children at home, online shopping can be a good option. You can either arrange to collect the groceries at a specific time from your chosen supermarket, or have them delivered for a fee to your door.

However, leaving the children at home or online shopping are not luxuries available to everyone. So here are some tips to reduce child-induced list-skipping.

Allocate a role to the child that suits them: a child who can read and hold a pencil can become the controller of the list (telling you what is on it, and crossing each item off the list); a child with good coordination and is tall enough can be the trolley driver. At supermarkets that offer a scanner option, a child can be in charge of scanning every item, before it is placed in the trolley (a note of warning, you need a reliable child for this so you don’t get caught with accidentally unscanned items at the checkout!).