Why A Grocery Store Price List Is Important


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
There was a time in the not-so-distant past that I would barge into a grocery store with a cavalier attitude. I would pull stuff off the shelves with nary a glance at the price tag or product information, and plop them into my shopping cart without a second thought. I didn’t even bother with a grocery list and prices because I thought I was well-equipped to shop without a list – I’ve been doing it since I was a college kid, anyway.

Boy, was I wrong!

Not only did I end up not getting all the essentials my family needed – it also resulted in me going over our grocery shopping budget for the month. You can imagine the kind of financial ripples it caused later on – what with the money I spent on non-essentials creating a deficit in our electricity and other utility budgets!

Thankfully, I’m a wiser thrifty person today. And because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did, here are some reasons why I think a grocery store price list is crucial for you and your family.


You can tell which shop offers the best price

I discovered what a big help it was to have a grocery shopping list with prices on it with me at all times, wherever I may be. My family and I have a favorite grocery store where I am familiar with the layout, pricing, schedule of sales and promotions, and other budgeting-related issues. However, I do sometimes find myself having to shop at an unfamiliar store due to unavoidable circumstances (like when we travel, or when my favorite shop is closed).

These strange stores often have different pricing schemes and promotions from my usual one. But with my list of grocery needs and their corresponding prices, I can compare which ones are close to what I usually pay. If I’m lucky, I will end up paying much lower than what I typically do with certain items.


You can stick to your budget

This is perhaps the most dangerous bit about not having a proper grocery budget list. Without a clear idea of how something costs, I often make broad approximations of prices in which I always underestimate them. The consequences are often embarrassing. It either results with me having to rush to the nearest ATM to withdraw more money because I fell short at the cashier’s, or I end up returning items that didn’t fit my budget. The mutterings and judgmental looks I get from other shoppers because I am holding up the line aren’t things I want to be part of my regular grocery shopping experience.

With a list, I can avoid all that and strictly stick to my budget. After months of doing this, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I often have a bit of cash left over from my grocery list to augment our other bills, which is a huge help.


You can get more value for your money

When you have a grocery list with prices at the ready, you will be able to make sound judgments beyond price tags alone. The list should also indicate the package or content weight of the item versus its price, and if certain promo items (such as the “two for the price of one” products) will really mean savings for you in the long run. With my handy grocery store list, I can tell right away how much a particular item has increased in price (or decreased in net weight or amount), and it helps me decide if I should stick with that specific brand or select another one instead.

Thankfully, I have not yet encountered a shortage of products or massive inflation that significantly affects our monthly grocery budget – at least not yet. But knowing the value of the usual grocery items I buy will help me to adjust my budget if and when the time comes.


You can update the list as needed

I use a tablet to keep my monthly grocery list at the ready because it allows me to update prices and other changes in my variables as soon as I learn about them. Doing this is important because I realized that even with just a couple of cents in price increase among certain items, there is a genuine possibility of me going over our grocery budget if I don’t factor them in right away.


You won’t be tempted to splurge

Bringing the kids with me and my wife during grocery day is almost always an exhausting event. They always want one “teensy” item to add to the shopping cart which isn’t on our list. With me, it’s usually a pair of socks or a small pocket tool, while the kids are all about sweets and snacks that aren’t even part of our weekly menu. We have to tell them over and over that, we need to stick to our grocery list, and if we do end up with cash to spare, that’s when they can pick out one item each that they want.

As a result, the grocery list has become a useful tool for my kids to practice their mathematical skills on. They can practice addition and approximation rounding while we make our way through the grocery aisles looking for our pantry needs. Because they want to know if we are staying within budget (and will have some left over for their little splurge purchases), they are extra careful about computing our purchases before we even reach the cashier. This little math lesson is an unexpected but welcome bonus in our small world of grocery shopping budgets, but it’s a win-win situation for all of us!

The verdict?

Those were just some of my practical reasons why you should always have a list of grocery items and prices with you. It encourages you to avoid overspending and making impulse buys, thus keeping the rest of your household budget intact and untouched. Keeping to a shopping list also makes you more savvy about the value of products and wise about which promos are best avoided.

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