Ahhh, household budgets: The last thing I want to work on in my spare time. Such a buzz kill and downright depressing some months. What makes it worse? Bad money habits. The worst of those bad money habits? Frequent impulse buys. One sure-fire way to avoid impulse (or regular price) buys? A low inventory list! See, I knew I was going somewhere with this. 😉
I have always been frugal, I was a penny pincher well before I met my husband and we had our boys (for the most part anyway). Now that we have a family, it seems like our money just wants to fly right out the window. Which, my friend, is exactly why we need to maintain our household’s low inventory list. Print it off, trim it, slap it in an 8X10 photo frame and you’ll have a Low Inventory List too!
Why Every Household Needs a Low Inventory List
Why a low inventory list you ask? As the main shopper in our household, I need to know that we need something before we need it. This helps me to keep an eye on sales and any applicable coupons or rebates or gift card deals at Target etc. If I know that the kids are on their last bottle of mouthwash, I can keep an eye out for deals or sales when I hit the grocery store. So much more cost effective than running out and buying a $4 bottle of mouthwash when they do run out.
How do we keep on top of it?
We have an 8X10 photo frame with a sheet that I’ve trimmed to fit (get yours here!), and the rule in our house is that once you pull out the next to last bottle (or tube, package etc) you write the item down using a dry erase marker on the glass. I am constatnly wiping off and re-writing the list to remove items we’ve purchased or just to clean it up a bit. This gives us plenty of time to keep the item firmly on our deal radar. Note that this is normally hanging by the washer and dryer, but I pulled it out for a prettier photo. 😉
I have also created these Printable Inventory Sheets for the household, including pantry, freezer and health and beauty items. Every so often I go through and reorganize pantry or the freezer etc and if I notice something we have a bunch of, I can incorporate that into the next month’s meal plan. Alternatively, if I notice that we are down to our last jar of mayo for example, I can throw that on our low inventory list as well.
Do you do something similar at your house? I’ve found that this really does help to cut down on the impulse buys as well as paying full price in general. The cardinal rule of frugal living: never pay retail.
Ready for more money saving tips?
Ways to Save at Kroger (from an Extreme Couponer turned Frugalista)
Better Budget: How to Live On ONE Income, Tips and Budget Ideas
Budget 101: How to Manage Your Budget Like an Adult
Why You Should Have Regular Family Meetings: Budget, School, Meal Planning and More
The Day I Used the Last of My Extreme Coupons
19 Secret Shopping Hacks for Saving at Kohl’s
5 of the Worst Money Habits
27 Must Have Money Saving Smartphone Apps