Updated Shopping List

I’ve gotten some good feedback about my original post about Saving time at the supermarket with a shopping list. I spent some time revising the shopping list to help in a few ways:

1) Now I have the week’s menu on the list itself. Before I would write the menu on a sticky, but now I find it’s nice to reference the menu in the store in case I think of something else I’ll need to go along with it.
2) I’ve added boxes for all the stores I might shop at. I do shop sales sometimes, so if an item I want is on sale at a particular store, I’ll buy it there. And I found that I don’t buy much at King Sooper anymore as we’re pretty much converted over to natural foods, which I get at Vitamin Cottage.

Here is the revised shopping list, in Word and PDF formats:

MS Word format:Shopping list-1.doc

PDF: Shopping List-1 PDF Format

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Saving time at the supermarket with a shopping list

I created a shopping list that saves me a tremendous amount of time when shopping. It’s organized by store, and by aisle in the store.

At home when I use something up, or will need something in a recipe, I write it down in the aisle where it will be found. Then, when at the store, on my old shopping lists, I’d have to scan and re-scan the list to see if something I need is in the aisle I’m in, but now I just look in the section for that aisle. Simple!

This also saves money because I only buy what’s written down (with some exceptions for things I know I’ve forgotten, or stuff I find on good sale.) Without a list, I’d often just “browse” to fill the pantry, and buy a bunch of stuff we didn’t use often.

Over the several months I’ve been using it, this list has really saved me time, and made shopping easier. I never have to backtrack in a supermarket to get something from an aisle I’ve already been through because I just noticed something on a list. Saving that frustration alone, makes this list worthwhile.

I’ve attached the current version of my shopping list in both Word and PDF formats. Obviously you’ll probably have to modify these for your stores, but it’s a start…
MS Word Format: shopping list.doc

PDF: Shopping List

Note about the organization of the list: I mainly shop at three stores, and they’re represented in different spaces on the shopping list. I tried to arrange the stores in the actual order of the aisles to make it even easier. You’ll note that the “Whole Foods” section is just one big box. This is because I usually buy everything I can at Vitamin Cottage (where it’s 10-20% cheaper than Whole Foods), and then if I can’t get something there I buy it at Whole foods. The “Whole Foods” box is just for the few things that I know I’ll buy there.

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Frugal vs. Cheapskate

Ok, I’m the first to admit that I’m a frugal person, and that I consider this to be a virtue. But sometimes I go too far and become a cheapskate. Being a cheapskate is not Worthwhile Living. Here’s an illustrative story:

Last summer we went to Water World, a water-oriented theme park, with lots of rides where you get wet on each one. A whole lot of fun. One of the great things about Water World is that you can bring your own picnic, so you don’t have to pay their prices for the greasy food they offer there.

Along with the several families we went with, we set up a picnic area; claiming a piece of grass on one of the lawns for our own. We’d leave our stuff there all day. But what to do with the keys to the car?

Here’s where the cheapskate (and maybe even the worrier) in me becomes apparent.

Waterworld has nice lockers to rent for 50 cents. Cheap! But they’re 50 cents each use. What if I needed to get in there more than once? Why, that’s a whole dollar! What about leaving the keys with the rest of our picnic stuff? NO way, I’d be worried that someone would take our stuff. And then I’d lose the key. How would I get home?!

So I elected to keep the key in the pocket of my bathing suit. I’d taken the key for the car off the ring and left the rest of the keys (to the house, etc.) in the car itself. So, I put a single key in my bathing suit pocket, closed the little velcro on the flap and hoped for the best.

Throughout the day, I checked to see if it was still there, and it was … up until after the last ride. Thereafter ensued a frantic search for the key. We never found it.

A friend had to bring me home to get a spare key, then drive me back. I finally got home with the car many hours later.

Then I had to replace the key. It’s not a normal key, but a transponder key. (A neat theft-preventing technology that makes it so only the right key will start the car even if the teeth on the key are correct.) So the key is expensive.

The key cost $300 at the dealer.
It cost $60 at a local locksmith.
It cost $15 at ebay.

I ended up getting a replacement key from ebay. That’s being frugal.

Through this episode, I’ve learned that there’s a difference between being frugal and being a cheapskate. To me, when the frugality begins to have a negative effect on my life, I’ve become a cheapskate.

Since making this discovery, I now take a mindful look when I’m being frugal to make sure I’m not going too far. Am I skimping in areas that diminish the joy of living? or are harmful to my health? or will cost me more in the long run? May be a good area of inquiry for you too…

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