Five Important Things I use Lists For

by Matt B

Lists are an every day part of my life.  Some days I do not need them at all, while others, I would be lost without them.  These are the list types that I use most frequently:


Photo by qmnonic

Groceries/Shopping Lists

12-20% of your income is likely spent on food.  Making a grocery list has many benefits. 1) Keeps more “impulse buys” out of your cart and saves you money.  2) If meals are planned for in advance, you spend less on going out. 3) The grocery list usually contains well thought and conscience purchases.  Wandering the supermarket, searching for what “looks good” usually means quicker meals.  Quicker meals often means UNHEALTHIER meals, the same applies for snack food.


The simple act of writing down goals can make them more attainable by making them more tangible (so to speak).  Your goals list should not just be a list of needs or wants for the future.  It should be organized, for starters.  Making separate lists for life goals, money goals, work/career goals and learning goals may be necessary to keep on task.  Although lists for goals are different than most other lists, and you will have to keep them around longer, they can be a great motivator.


Laundry, dishes, picking up the kids.  You know, the everyday tasks that often need to be prioritized.  Lists are the best way (at least for me) to have a reminder of what needs to be done, and sometimes, what order to do it in.  Ranking tasks by order of importance is the best way for me to feel a sense of accomplishment some days.

Photo by blakespot

Photo by blakespot


While some are simply “pipe dreams”, a list of wants keeps me financially motivated to save money and organize that money to work toward my wants list.  This list is purely for motivation.  A constant reminder of why I’m saving and trying to earn more gives me a boost.  You can only positively reinforce yourself about your retirement so many times until it is not quite enough, and you are working for more short-term wants.


While not technically a “list”, schedules in any form keep our lives stable and our routines intact.  Do you want to show up late when picking up your kid from karate practice?  I don’t think so.  Every morning, make a schedule for yourself.  Allow time for the things you need to get done, and time for the things you want to get done.  Organize them by priority.  If followed correctly, you will find that you had a productive and enjoyable day.  If you can not stand the “shackles” of being constrained by a list telling what to do and when to do it, you should still find some system to help you get things done.

Did I miss any?  I know that these are the five that I use more than any others.  What about you?


CashAholic June 8, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I love making lists. It’s helped me personally and professionally. I recommend writing down your goals and ambitions to everyone.

mattb June 8, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Agreed. It’s weird, when I was writing this, all I could think was, it’s so simple! But they do help immensely with a ton of things.

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