Unless you’re planning on eating take out for every meal, regular trips to the local grocer are just a part of your routine. You can’t avoid them entirely, but you can be smart about it. Grocery stores are designed to make you buy a lot of things you don’t need, so here’s how you can make the most out of your trip to the grocery store.
Shop Midweek, Early Morning, or at Night
While many people choose to do their grocery shopping on the weekend, that’s the worst time to go. If you go during off-hours, you’ll be more likely to get better deals on bakery items that need to be sold right away. By shopping in the morning, you’ll also get discounts on produce or meat items about to be rotated out. You can take it a step further by finding out when your local grocery store restocks the shelves. Go to the store right before they restock to take advantage of lowered prices on things that are about to be replaced by newer items.
Don’t Fill Your Cart
Did you know that grocery carts are three times larger than they used to be? That’s because when you have a larger trolley cart, you tend to buy more. In a 2011 experiment, researchers found that when you double the size of your shopping cart, you’re likely to buy about 40 percent more groceries. To avoid over-purchasing, choose a smaller cart or take a handbasket if you can. If only a mega-sized shopping cart is available, don’t be tempted to fill it up.
Only Visit the Aisles Where You Need Something
The more you walk through the aisles, the more likely you’ll end up buying things you don’t need. Every bit of the supermarket is designed to tempt you to buy more, and if you walk down random aisles because you think you might need something, more likely than not, you’ll end up with groceries you didn’t intend to buy. Instead, plan ahead, so you know what you want to buy before you walk in the door. Skip all the aisles that don’t have something you specifically need.
Start in the Middle of the Store
Have you ever noticed that you walk the same way around the supermarket every time you go? That’s because stores are specifically designed to get you to walk a specific route. It starts with the flower display and bakery, where the tasty smells will activate your salivary glands and make you hungrier so you’ll buy more. Then you walk by the deli counter. If you’re hungry, you may decide to stop for a bite to eat or grab some cold cuts. By the time you get to the dairy section, your cart is already full of impulse purchases. Instead of falling into that trap, skip the perimeter of the store and go straight for the middle.