Zut alors! Even grocery shopping is glamorous and fun in Paris!
So, as far as I can tell, there are two kinds of shopping that I do. The first kind is when you have a shopping list and you go to the store to buy exactly what's on your list (it is also something you need, like eggs or milk or batteries). If the store doesn't have this thing, then you may go to another store, or you may go home with nothing.
The second kind (a.k.a. the kind that I tend to do) is where you feel like shopping, so you go to a store and figure that, as you wander around the aisles, you will think of something that you need to buy. These tend to be things you don't reallllly need, like nail polish that's bright green with sparkles in it, or coconut water because you've always wanted to try it, or the latest issue of Oprah magazine because it's about makeovers. ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I'M THINKING? MAKEOVER!! (watch the video, you'll understand what I'm doing here)
Anyway, I think it's fairly apparent which is the more frugal approach. One treats shopping like a chore, and the other treats shopping like a fun hobby.
But the thing is that, while there is a time and place for chore-shopping, fun shopping should not be disregarded as a fun hobby. I (and other people too, if they think like me) just need to find a BALANCE. And the trick is probably some combo of shopping lists, cash-only spending, and willpower.
Since I don't personally have very much willpower, and since I like using debit because I can track my spending more easily (thanks, Mint.com!) and also I earn movie points for using debit, I'm going to focus on shopping lists.
When I started SHOPPING DETOX (tm) I made a rule that I could only buy what was on the shopping list. But I'm not organized enough to notice when I'm running out of something so - for instance - if I get to the store and remember in the store that I need toilet paper, if that's not on my list can I buy it? Or not? And isn't that a slippery slope of not even using a shopping list anymore?
So, I don't know. I usually have a mental inventory of what I need to buy, which is usually five things (because it's easy to remember 5 things on my 5 fingers). I don't have like a rule about what I can or can't impulse buy, but for sure it shouldn't be anything I already own, it shouldn't be expensive, etc. Basically, I need to use the Shopping Detox App flowchart (and/or the printable decision card from And Then She Saved, which is so cute!)
What I'm going to work on now is to figure out when it's chore-shopping and when it's hobby-shopping. And put most of the budget into chore-shopping and less into hobby-shopping. And a stick of butter.