Go old school. Use a basket

My daughter grabbed a basket at the supermarket.

“Let’s get a cart in case we want to get something big,” I said.

“But this basket holds less. I’m trying to save you money,” she insisted.

And so we shopped with a basket.

We found a few things that weren’t on our list (pretty typical when shopping with a child). However, since we had less space and had to carry everything, many purchases were averted.

The basket forced us to carefully consider our purchases. We stuck to our shopping list like glue.

Which got me thinking… when were shopping carts invented? Shopping carts first rolled into stores in 1937. The concept was delightfully simple: make shopping easy for customers so that they’ll visit often and buy more.

Ah, but of course!

If you want to put the brakes on your spending (and improve your upper body strength), go old school. Use a basket.

What tactics do you use to buy less?


  1. Often I walk to the grocery store. Knowing that I have to lug it all home prevents me from going overboard. I like the basket idea though and am going to try it. If it’s too heavy in the store, it’s definitely too heavy for the trek home.

  2. I like the basket idea. I, like Lisa, control myself with the knowledge that I have to carry everything I buy home. AND it all has to fit in my backpack. Helps keep purchases in check, though it also means I have to grocery shop more often, which sometimes leads me to buy more afterall.

    • Yes, using a backpack is a great idea. I do this with my bike sometimes – I had one trip where I overstuffed the backpack (heavy!) and I learned my lesson (won’t do that again).

  3. I too limit myself when I’m making a trip for only a few things. In fact, when I run into the store for one thing, I purposely do not get a basket or cart. I am limiting myself to what I can carry with my two hands. It’s a silly trick but it helps me with impulse spending!

  4. I guess you can play mind games like this but the best way to save money is to make a precise detailed list and stick to it and completely swear off impulse buying.

  5. I just joined The Compact (I think!) and am going to park my vehicle for the next year to see how things go. I bought a used bicycle and a used bike trailer. I just turned 50 last month and decided it was time to make a massive change to reduce my everything including my carbon footprint. I’m going to have to carry my groceries in my backpack as well and some of the stores I like to shop in (to save money of course!!) are a long ways away (6 miles or 10 kilometers depending on which side of the border you live!)

  6. My walmart doesn’t even have baskets any more, so I just get what I can carry — unless it’s a big trip, then I just have to be careful.

  7. I started doing this when I was in college and started buying my own groceries for the first time. When my mom started noticing me doing it back home, or when other friends and family ask me why I do it, I say “Because I need to carry the weight of my decisions”. I do this when shopping for clothes too, and it REALLY helps! I love that someone else apparently does this :)

  8. I love using a basket – often the basket on the bottom of the stroller, which is even smaller – but working multiple jobs with a child while pregnant means I do have to make the bigger trips at least once a month.

  9. So true. I am going to have to implement this. I prefer getting a shallow trolley because then I don’t have to carry items, and cannot fit as much in. But you are entirely right, and it will build upper body strength. I may recommend this suggestion to a few friends as well (who’d have thought something so simple could make such a difference) I did read one blog whose author chose to jog round the supermarket in order to ensure they couldn’t stop and overspend.

  10. Love this! I wish I’d thought of this! I have such a habit of buying outside of my list! I find that shopping on a busy night helps too! No lingering through the aisles! Making it into an “errand” instead of an “event” changes how much I get :) My hubby and I are beginning a chapter in frugal living and we love hearing others ideas. Keep it up!

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