The Don’t Buy List

Do you have one? A list of items NOT to buy?

For a two-person household, grocery-shopping doesn’t need to be a weekly affair. It’s become a fortnightly husband-wife bonding activity to walk through the aisles of the grocery store and debate about what makes it to checkout (like how many bags of chips he’s allowed to have).

Having a grocery list is really helpful (as I’m sure you would already know) – it keeps us from adding unnecessary items onto our cart. Every once in a while I remember to write a short list of must-buy items after asking the husband what pantry items need to be replenished – he would know better because he’s the Master Chef in this family. I’d really hate for him to get frustrated when he starts to cook only to realize he’s missing an ingredient or seasoning (also, if that happens, it’s his fault. Haha!).

At other times we just don’t have a list at all. What for? Even with one we end up going thru each aisle at the store anyway. Lately, I felt like we’ve done a better job at making wiser choices – the tape receipts are getting shorter and we’re getting closer to sticking to the budget. There are also sections that we ignore and old favorites that we’ve stopped bringing home (our purchasing habits changed a bit since I made the choice to take the path to true wellness – hope to write about this soon!).

A few weeks ago, while at the kitchen sink, I noticed that we had one too many bottles of ketchup. Then a quick check revealed that we also had one too many bottles of a few other items. We had a good laugh about this, but I knew, there was a lesson there somewhere.

We’ve also had too much toilet paper, bath soap, etcetera, etcetera.

That’s when I realized that we needed a Don’t Buy List.

The Don’t Buy List is for items we are well-stocked on – at least for the next two weeks. Having such a list becomes handy when there are on-the-spot decisions about the next week’s menu – do you want spaghetti? how about tuna-macaroni salad? At least we can check our list and know that, for example, we don’t need to buy more canned mushrooms or pasta.

But the list isn’t comprehensive and isn’t an inventory of every grocery item we still have in the house. What get’s on the list are just those obvious ones that we already have too much of, or won’t run out in the next month. Certainly, we don’t mind having extras – but too much at a time just means we could have used the money for something that would have been more urgent. With a small living space, it also means we’re not storing too much of what we don’t need right now or in the immediate future.

What do you think about the Don’t Buy List?

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