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Why I Remain Faithful to my List

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Why I Remain Faithful to my List
Our family was preparing for a long car trip. When we will be sitting in the van for an extended period of time, we usually fill a cooler with soft drinks and a bag with snacks to have accessible during the trip.  Purchased from the grocery store ahead of time, they are much less expensive than from the gas station on the way out of town.

Great plan!

Out running errands and near our grocery store, Vonnie and I decided to stop and pick up the snacks for the upcoming trip. We hadn't made a list, but we figured we could just wing it. We made up the list in our heads as we walked through the grocery store, throwing items into the cart as we found them.  

We didn't find everything that we were looking for, so we walked to the club store next door to complete our shopping. Vonnie pushed the cart through the parking lot, and I pulled out the two receipts. I stopped and added up the total a couple of times. I must have had a puzzled look on my face because Vonnie asked me if something didn't look right.

I informed her that we had just purchased $73 worth of snacks for the car ride.

I'm a list guy. This isn't a secret, as I've written about my love of lists before. They help  organize my thoughts, make sure we don't purchase too much or too little, and keep us on budget.

It helps me plan my purchases.

This experience-which happened in the middle of summer-forced Vonnie and I to squeeze a firmer grip on our finances. Early in the summer we had been sitting down to have regular budget discussions, but had gotten a little "lax" on doing so. We again dedicated ourselves to having a finance discussion every Thursday evening to review our funds available and map out our spending plan for the coming weekend.  When I go to work on Friday, I now withdraw cash from our checking account and put the agreed upon amounts into envelopes.  

By planning our spending ahead of time, putting cash into envelopes, and using only that cash for our purchases, we have been able to string together the most consistent and successful budget months ever.

Life is busy, but we know we have to make time for our spending planning. If we don't, we just might end up with $73 worth of snacks.

Related Links:

The List

A Grocery Store Dilemma

Make Your Spending Count

 

Travis Pizel, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc.Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

To connect with Travis on Google+ click here

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  • But snacks are the best! No, I'm just kidding. (Kinda.) I'm a huge advocate of list-making! And I physically I have to write things out - tapping it into my iPhone doesn't mean I'll remember anything. Roomie always makes fun of me for having post-it notes on the back of my iPhone, haha... but I need my lists! Nice post, Travis.

  • Post-it notes on the back of your iPhone....maybe you could just have one that says "look at list stored IN IPhone"  LOL.  I shouldn't talk - I have post it notes or just a piece of notebook paper on out kitchen counter at all times with things I need to get done.  I also write things on my hand so I don't forget - after all I see stuff on my hand pretty easily.  :)  Thanks for reading and commenting Cait!!!

  • LOL! I have never met anyone so like me before! I make a menu for the week and make our list from that every week. I also ask each family member what they need at the store. Once in a while we will end up shopping without a list and the bill is ALWAYS way more. The kids are well trained too. If they don't get what they want on the list they do not get it that week. Plus - I am mean and if they do not say we need dishwasher detergent or trash bags then they have to pay for them. Now, they can just let me know at any time during the week that we are low and then it is on me to remember. I just hate to go do the shopping and have a kid tell me that night "Oh, I just used the last of the dishwasher detergent." Not only is it annoying to have to make a special trip but I always end up with a couple other things to pick up. We also pack a cooler when we travel. We actually pack breakfast and lunch stuff too. I don't write things on my hand though. I have been known to draw on it though LOL! I keep a spiral notebook on my desk and have sticky tabs for different list sections.

  • Travis I think you hit a spot for a lot of us.  If I go to the store and don't have my list, I am sure to spend more than expected.  I also find that I come home without things I actually did need.  I also found that if I go with my debit card instead of cash, I have the same problem.  I spend more then I intended to spend.  I too, have written on my hand, but gave it up when I found the information gone after I washed my hands.  Love the post!!

  • Travis, my friend.......... many of us kindred spirits who use lists really CAN attest to how vital this is when one is trying to use their finances wisely.  Spontaneous spending is one of things that really got me into trouble.  And as much as I LOVE club stores, THEY can also be trouble!  It's easy to go in with intentions of getting a few things, and end up with a $300 cart ful of stuff that wasn't needed, much less in the budget.  I used to laugh at the financial gurus who encouraged making lists before heading into a store, but boy, was I ever foolish!  I now see that going "un-armed" causes me to over spend, sometimes buy duplicate items, and fall prey to alot more impulse buying.  There's something about the list that is empowering, makes me feel more incontrol, and reminds me of my resolve.  I haven't perfected it, of course, but it's a learning process.  thanks for those good reminders and insights.

  • That's an interesting way of making sure you get everything from the store, kimmer5000.....my kids wouldn't know if we were out of dishwasher detergent or garbage bags since I'm the one that usually does those chores (or my wife).  Is that part of your kids' responsibilities?  It sure would teach them some responsibility.....

  • Monica, I've actually gotten to the grocery store, noticed I didn't have my list, and turned around and went home to get it - because I KNOW I'd overspend if I didn't have my list.....and I'd get back home, look at it and see that I forgot things.  I need my list!  :)

  • Boy oh boy, Julie (Conradsmom) do I know what you're talking about when it comes to Club stores.  I don't normally do this, but since you brought them up.....I happened to write a post for a different blog on my recent first trip to Costco and my feelings about Club stores.  If you are so inclined, check out the link below:

    www.enemyofdebt.com/.../my-first-trip-to-costco-why-i-hate-club-stores

  • I empty the dishwasher in the morning and clean up throughout the day - including cleaning up after their breakfast and lunch making activities. I also make dinner and generally clean up as I go along but the kids do the after dinner work. They take turns one on even days and one on odd days. On any month with a 31st Daryl and I do the chores (so my daughter does not have to do it two days in a row - 31st and 1st. - since she has odd days.) This let's Daryl and I walk after dinner. My son does the trash and my daughter feeds the cats. They started chores with setting the table when they started getting allowance at 5. We have regular family meetings to renegotiate and things have really changed over the years but it has been this way for a long time. They really like the way this works. I am really interested in your other blog as I am trying to decide about renewing my Costco membership so I am off to read that LOL

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