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How to save money on groceries

Unlike a fixed monthly cost, like a mortgage or car payment, the amount you spend on groceries each month is somewhat flexible. While the common advice to clip coupons and buy generic brands to save money while you shop is sensible, the best way to really keep your grocery spending in check is to understand how stores entice you to spend more than you really want to. By fully understanding the ways grocery stores encourage you to spend, many of which you’ve probably never even noticed before, you can combat their strategies and spend money only on the merchandise you really need.

Although a grocery store may seem like just a place to buy groceries and other household necessities, it’s actually a cutting-edge example of “how to sell more of what consumers really need.” Since you are the consumer, it is important to be aware of these sales tactics so that you walk into a grocery store to get only what you need and avoid everything else the grocery store wants to sell you. Here are some ways grocery stores manipulate you into spending more than you planned and some simple steps you can take to counter them:

Smell – One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk into a grocery store is the delicious smell. There’s a specific reason why grocery stores smell like freshly baked goods, and also why the bakery is almost always located near the front of the store. The reason is that a bakery that makes bread and desserts emits a tempting smell, and that smell is likely to make you hungry. The grocery store also knows that if you’re hungry while shopping, you’re likely to spend more money—much more—than if you’re not hungry.

An easy way to combat this is to go shopping only after you’ve eaten and are satisfied. If time doesn’t allow you to do this, at least drink a couple of glasses of water before you leave to feel full before you go shopping. Shopping while you’re full makes it much easier to resist the big smelling temptations the grocery store will flaunt in front of you.

General Store Layout – Have you ever noticed that when you only need to buy a few basic items, you have to walk all over the grocery store floor to get them? While you might assume that the convenience of placing basic essentials in the same general area would make customers happy, grocery stores know that the longer they can keep you in the store, the more money you’ll likely spend. They also know that getting you to walk as far inside the store as they can will make you more likely to pick up impulsive items. The stores are specifically designed so that you spend as much time as possible inside them and roam the entire store floor to get the essentials that everyone needs.

While there’s no way to avoid going to the far corners of the store to get the groceries you need, you can avoid the trap of impulsive buying on the store floor by taking the time to make a list of the items you need. need and stick with it. When Shopping Getting into the habit of making a single trip once a week for all your grocery shopping needs instead of several smaller trips throughout the week will also greatly reduce your time in the store and your chances. from buying items you don’t really need

Item display layout: Manufacturers of brand-name goods pay high storage fees to stores so that their products are placed on the shelves at eye level for adults (and at eye level for children in the case of products intended for children, such as cereals). Manufacturers are willing to pay these prices because they know you’re much more likely to buy something you can easily see as you walk down the aisle than something you have to stop and search for. The result is that products placed at eye level tend to be the most expensive.

Before you grab the first item you see, take a few seconds to look at the top and bottom shelves. Similar products are placed together and simply looking will often reveal the same product at a much better price.

“Sale” Merchandise: Grocery stores will advertise a certain number of items at very low prices (called “loss leaders”) for you to come into the store. While these may be genuine deals, don’t be fooled into thinking that anything with the words “sale” or “bargain” above it is really just that. While the ends of the aisles are reserved for these “bargains,” they’re not always the deals they seem to be and discounted items are often displayed alongside higher-priced items. Sometimes you can even find similar products in the regular aisle section that are less than the “sale” merchandise down the aisle.

The important thing to remember when shopping for groceries is to focus on the price of the product and not all the fancy advertising and slogans promoting the product. Take the time to check out the other brands and see if there is a better deal. Also, remember that if you weren’t planning on buying the item and you don’t really need it, then it really isn’t a bargain for you, no matter the price. Only consider those items that you use regularly and need.

Product Appearance: Product packaging in grocery stores is bright, usually in red and yellow, as these colors attract attention. However, just because something catches your eye doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Stay focused on your shopping list and don’t get distracted by items you don’t really need.

The packaging will also be much larger than the actual product for many foods. Manufacturers know that shoppers assume that larger pack sizes equal a better deal. It would make sense as bundling items together saves the manufacturer the packaging, shipping and storage that may happen to you. With the mantra “buying in bulk” now firmly entrenched in most people’s minds as a way to save money, manufacturers are taking advantage of this. While not yet the norm, increasingly larger pack sizes are less important than their smaller size counterparts as manufacturers know you will make the above assumptions and probably won’t compare cost per unit.

Before you grab the biggest box of a product, take the time to calculate the cost per unit or per weight. More often than not, smaller packages of an item are actually a better deal than buying the same item in a larger package.

Checkout Layout: The checkout aisle of a store is like a mini-mart unto itself. This is because grocery stores know they have a captive audience as you wait in line to pay for your purchases. They squeeze every little thing that could remotely pique your interest to rack up a huge amount in impulse sales.

The best way to avoid these temptations is to plan your purchases off-peak. Avoid the weekend if possible, as this is when grocery stores are busiest, as well as the night everyone just got off work. Since many grocery stores now stay open 24 hours a day, late-night and early-morning trips when the aisle and checkout lines are mostly empty are the perfect time to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible. possible.

By taking the time to understand how grocery stores try to influence your clothing purchases and spending, you are now in control. Use the tips on how to counter grocery store sales techniques and you’ll be able to control your grocery spending to a greater extent and have a much easier time sticking to your monthly food budget.

Copyright (c) 2004, by Jeffrey Strain

This article may be freely distributed as long as copyright, author information, and an active link (where possible) are included. A free copy of any newsletter or a link to the site where the article is posted would be greatly appreciated.

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