Wednesday, May 30, 2012

lists: the placebo effect

This is what happens when the kids have long afternoon naps. I finish all of my "have to dos" for the day and then engage in my favorite household activity: making a list.

Today, it was a comprehensive list of all the disposable goods we use regularly in our house. Categories included: Spices & Seasonings; Pasta, Rice, and Beans; Canned Food; Baking; Snacks; Misc; Household; Paper goods; Cleaning; Bags; and Personal Care.

In theory, I will use this list to go through my house once a month to take stock and then make one big trip to the store (without kids) to pick up everything we need. Thus, we reduce last-minute trips to the store, better plan for household expenses, and stay within budget.


It never really happens. I could show you approximately 15 different Excel spreadsheets I've made over the last 7 years, all trying to better organize our daily home purchases and thereby save money. My paid career is in evaluating programs to determine what impacts they have. And in light of loads of longitudinal data on this particular "program", I have to admit that no list has ever really saved me money.

I mean, let's just face up to the hard truth here. The trick to saving money is simply saying no to whatever you're about to put in your cart at the store.

Which makes me think that the reason I like to make the lists is because it makes me feel like, even if I have a hard time saying no to the 48 pack of double roll toilet paper on sale for just $8.99 (wow, life is really that exciting sometimes), at least I'm really good at making a list. The list is a symbol of control. Sure, I might be overspending 50% on my household budget every month, but I have it written down, so there.


Sherry said...

I think you make lists just because you like to make lists. You should maybe add it to your list of hobbies. said...

Hahahaha!!! ERIN!!! Awesome and I especially love the disclaimer "in theory..." We ARE related!!! This is why Connie wins the prize...she sets herself up for this kind of stuff and actually makes it happen! kimi