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The Secret To Better Shopping?   
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Academics from across the world have established what millions have known for decades - using a shopping list is a good idea.

Teams from four universities spread across three continents used 700 volunteers to test the usefulness of lists for buying fresh produce.

In the end, they concluded: 'Shoppers should bring a list to minimise the chances of returning home only to find they forgot something.'

The details of the study have been peer reviewed, checked for accuracy and validity, and published in the academic Journal of Consumer Psychology.

The researchers argue their findings offer useful guidance beyond doing the weekly shopping and forgetting to buy a bunch of bananas.

They say it is likely that using lists in other areas of daily life, whether it is DIY jobs around the home or a daily 'to do' list in the office, will also help to get things done.

The work was led by Daniel Fernandes, assistant professor of marketing at the Catholic University of Portugal.

He recruited three other universities to help quiz consumers in America and Australia to try shopping in store and online with or without a list of 10 to 20 popular and less popular items.

This included lists of fruits and vegetables which were divided into everyday choices such as bananas and apples and more unusual ones, such as beetroot, coconuts and figs.

The shoppers involved in the tests were asked to read a story for ten minutes after being told what they had to buy to see whether this would disturb their recall.

Researchers found that people who did not have a list and relied on their memory alone were more likely to forget to pick up some of the common fresh produce they always buy.

These people were better able to remember to buy the unusual items, apparently because the shape and image was likely to shake them out of their auto-pilot shopping mode.

Mr Fernades said: 'One of our key findings is that people don't correctly anticipate when they are more likely to forget items.

'When we have something in our mind, it is hard to imagine that we will forget it.'

Although the conclusions may seem obvious, Mr Fernandes said they do prove the value of lists.

'We often rely on our memories to perform familiar tasks at work, and those tasks will come easily to mind, but unfamiliar tasks are hard to recall,' he said.

'To maximise our effectiveness on the job, it's important to pay special attention to those less familiar tasks and put them on the agenda.'

Just last month, the government's Money Advice Service also championed the idea of shopping lists as a way of avoiding overspending.

It said people who do not have lists are more likely to be wooed by special offers and bulk buys, so spending an extra £200 a year on groceries.

Source: Dailymail.co.uk

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