JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) "We go through books and look, and they circle and put their names so I know what they want," said shopper, Shilah McNatt.
It's a Christmas shopping strategy mother of two Shilah McNatt says saves her time, and she hopes a little bit of money too.
"You have your list, you get what you need and then you go. You're not looking for, you know, what you don't need," said McNatt.
"With or without a recession, you should always have a list," said ASU Economist, Dr. Dan Marburger.
It's a helpful tool to rein people in when it comes to spending for the holidays and really any day.
"Otherwise, you're going to exceed your budget and you're going to wind up in debt and you're going to have to cut something out of your life that's important to you," said Dr. Marburger.
It's a message more people might be getting according to a USA Today report saying impulse buying appears to be on the decline. It says these days it seems more people are getting what they need and getting out.
"Sometimes a recession is a shock to reality that says ok, the good times can end and it basically forces people to do something they should have been doing all along," said Dr. Marburger.
According to the report, some economists say even though the economy is growing, the more budget conscious, focused shoppers, may be here to stay.
"You don't want to be in a bad position if you should lose your job. Anytime you put yourself into debt buy spending beyond your means, you are making yourself vulnerable,"said Dr. Marburger.
Shoppers like Julian Woodson and his wife say a list is helpful when trying to find the best deals and helps them get started earlier too. For mom Shilah McNatt, she says knowing what she's looking for is easier on her and her pocketbook.
"When you start earlier, they're there and when you know you just go grab it and you're ready to go," said McNatt.