I hate grocery shopping.
Which is a real shame because clearly I like food.
I just don’t like the pre-fabricated mood, bright lights and John Mayer tunes all that much.
I am also discouraged that the money I spend in groceries could have been used for other really cool things that offer a much longer lifespan, mainly boots and books.
That said, I am aware of the importance of eating well and healthfully for me and my family.
So, I get a little peeved when grocery stores try to capitalize on our vulnerabilities. Andrea Woroch, consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli, Inc. points out nine tricks grocery stores like to spring on consumers to encourage overspending, and ways to overcome them.
Alternatively, we could boycott grocery shopping.
I picture “All we are saying … is give peas a chance … ” slogans alongside “Down with cookies in aisle 9”
Ha! But I did wonder how long I could go without making a single food purchase, based on what I already have in the kitchen. I complain that I spend a lot on groceries, but that’s because I estimate that with the exception of purchasing milk and greens, could conservatively go 2 weeks without stepping into a grocery store. So, clearly the grocery stores are still winning, as I am currently over-buying.
What about you: How long would your pantry let you go without grocery shopping? (Click through for the real strategies!)
Something Smells Really Good. 1 of 9The bombardment starts as soon as the front door swings open. Those mouth-watering smells emanate from the nearby bakery or deli, enticing you to buy the more expensive prepared foods. A grocer in New York City even pipes artificial smells into it's facility to induce shoppers to buy more. The rule, as you've often heard, is to never shop on an empty stomach.
End Caps Aren’t Your Friends. 2 of 9End caps are the shelving units at the end of each aisle, where supermarkets place "sale" items that aren't always that cheap. They're counting on our preference to avoid heading down an aisle, so we'll just grab an end-cap item that seems reasonably priced. Don't give in; wait until you can comparison shop midst the appropriate aisle. Better yet, find grocery couponson your smartphone from sites like CouponSherpa.com, and see if the product on your list is available at a discount.
Losing With Loss Leaders 3 of 9There's a reason supermarkets advertise such cheap prices on milk, bread and other basics. These under-priced items are known as loss leaders because the supermarket is willing to take a loss to bait you into the store, where they'll make up the difference with more purchases. There's no reason you shouldn't take advantage of loss leaders; just don't let it rule which store you shop and what you buy.
BOGO Can Be A No-Go. 4 of 9Deals that offer "seven for $5.50" are designed to confuse shoppers who aren't quick with the mental calculator. The same trick applies to the now popular 10 for $10 game making the supermarket rounds. Bulk buying can be cost effective, but there are a number of variables to consider. You can fool grocery stores at their own game by checking the unit price for competing products and selecting the one that truly offers the best deal.
Expensive Eye Candy 5 of 9Product packaging is usually mind-bogglingly bright, featuring plenty of yellows and reds because these colors attract our eyes. Between this visual whirl and the bright store lights, grocery shopping can lead to migraines. Buying generic brands is one of many ways to combat escalating food prices. Before grabbing the first item that attracts your eyes, look for less-gaudy house brands and compare unit prices
Super Size Can Equal Undervalue. 6 of 9Bigger isn't always better, particularly when a manufacturer increases package size while hitting the contents with a shrink ray. This practice has become particularly popular in recent years since you're not really expected to check whether a box or can is full. Give it a shake or visually compare product contents.
The Check-Out Stand Is The Supermarket’s last Chance. 7 of 9The checkout aisle is akin to its own mini mart, featuring all kinds of impulse buys. Supermarkets know we're a captive audience, so they squeeze in everything and anything that might grab your attention and add to the final bill. Distract yourself by reviewing your grocery list, a tangible reminder that everything you need is already in your cart.
Bend And Stretch Your Way To Better Prices 8 of 9Manufacturers pay big bucks for prime real estate, usually at adult eye level or, in the case of products marketed specifically to children, on the lower shelves. These corporations shell out extra cash because they know we're more likely to buy something we can see easily. Before you grab the first item you see, take a moment to scan the entire shelf and make sure you're truly getting a good deal.
Distance Makes The heart Grow Fonder 9 of 9Ever notice how the things you need most frequently are the furthest away from the door? That's intentional; supermarkets guide you through aisles of the most attractive foods, hoping you'll give in to impulse buys. If you only need one item, it's actually cheaper in the long run to shop at a small market where you'll be less tempted to buy unneeded items.