One of the big things I've been working on this year is getting my finances in check— I have one more year before I go out into the "real world" as an adult. As much of an "adulting" thing as that seems, I'd be clueless about finances without one of my favorite YouTube channels, The Financial Diet or TFD. Their platform is to make financial sense seem more like common sense for us millennials through relatable, personal anecdotes and sound financial advice. One of their videos, "7 Non-Financial Tools That Will Help You Save Money," happened to peak my frugal foodie interests: the anti-grocery list.

The idea behind an anti-grocery list is having a reminder on hand of foods you shouldn't buy. It could be anything from produce that you often forget about, foods that you hate, or even specific brands that you don't want to support. After trying it out for a month, I've noticed some that the anti-grocery list has added some significant benefits to my food lifestyle:

1. Food Mindfulness

Jazmine Velasquez

The anti-grocery list has kept me accountable for what I did and didn't eat throughout the last few weeks. I started to notice after week one that some of the foods I bought on a consistent basis, like spinach and brown rice, were thrown away because I didn't want to eat them. I just bought them thinking it was a healthier choice and never actually ate them, defeating that well-intentioned thought process. Now I purchase spring mix and quinoa, which are healthier options that I like and will eat.

2. Less Food Waste

nachos, pizza, chicken
Laura Quinting

I've felt incredibly guilty in the past cleaning out my fridge, throwing away food that I never even touched. Now, my trash and compost bin don't make me look away in shame. Since I'm not buying foods I won't eat, I can focus on buying, planning, and cooking meals I genuinely enjoy. 

3. More Money for New Food Items

vegetable, sweet
Delissa Handoko

Now that I'm not wasting my food budget, I can allocate my money to try new foods or get foods I thought were out of my price range. Seafood, slightly more expensive produce and cheeses, and some free range, organic options have now made it into my weekly grocery rotation. It's honestly really nice to have some more variety in my fridge.

4. Saving Money

twenty, 20, bill, cash, money, Pay, dollar
Caroline Ingalls

Since I've started using the anti-grocery list, I've noticed that even if I happen to spend a little extra on other food products, I'm still under budget most weeks. I can start following some smart TFD advice about starting a small emergency fund with the leftover money.

The best part about an anti-grocery list is that it doesn't feel restrictive the way a traditional grocery list can. It can evolve as your preferences change, and you can have it on your phone, in your bullet journal, or just a good old-fashioned list. You can essentially buy whatever you want within your budget—the only thing you have to worry about is making sure nothing that's on the anti-grocery list makes it into your shopping cart.