PFAFFTOWN, N.C. -- Nowadays, Phyllis Westerland knows exactly what's in her pantry and her fridge.
"There's granola bars, fruit juices, everything for kids lunches," she says. But it didn't used to be this way. "It would be $150 or $200 at the grocery store and I'd come home with chicken. Not chicken stir fry or chicken and dumplings, just chicken because I didn't have a plan."
Westerland says just by having a grocery store list, and sticking to it, she has saved serious money at the grocery store. Along with couponing, her bill used to be up to $700 a month, now it's $300.
"I used to spend so much money. Now that just seems so frivolous and irresponsible."
Consumer experts say just winging it, going to the store with no list, the average shopper spends 40 percent more on spur of the moment buys. Also, without a list, you're likely to be in the store longer. Better to zip in and zip out. Consumer experts say the average shopper spends $2.17 for every minute they're in the store.
"I look at what I have in the pantry, come up with meal ideas based on what I already have and what's on sale. Then, I make a meal plan and a list on what I need. That way, I'm ready. I very rarely stray from my list," says Westerland. "We're saving hundreds of dollars just being mindful of what we already have."