Five Grocery Shopping Mistakes
Shopping at the grocery store is not as cut and dry as it seems on the surface. You can’t just go into the store anymore and know you are getting the best deal automatically. Gone are the days when a town had one or two markets and the prices simply were what they were. Now, there are stores on every corner and grocery store pricing and marketing is tough to navigate unless you educated yourself. Because these stores are so adept at taking money out of our pockets, we have to pay close attention and learn the game. One of the best ways to do that is to become aware of the mistakes that we are making. Overspending is not one particular mistake….it is generally several mistakes that are made without your even realizing it. Here are five grocery shopping mistakes that we all make from time to time, along with some thoughts about how to avoid them:
Do you recognize these mistakes?
Spending too much time on the aisles
It is a known fact that grocery stores funnel you towards the interior aisles with their marketing. Those aisles are loaded with all the prepackaged, expensive, unhealthy and often unnecessary things we all love to buy. If you ever notice, the outer edges of the grocery store is where you find the good stuff….produce, fresh meats, dairy and frozen items. If you spend most of your time in the aisles you are probably not eating healthy and losing money to boot. Spend more time on the outside of the aisles and your food budget will reflect it. (not to mention your waistline)
“Saving Money” by buying items you will never use because they are on sale.
If you happen to coupon (and if not, why?), you are probably already aware of this trap. You know the deal, right? You have a coupon that is going to save you money off of a great big bag of nacho cheese dip. In fact, you are going to get it for 75 percent off! The problem is, you don’t eat nacho cheese dip and neither does anyone in your family. Why do we buy it anyway? Some folks don’t, but many of us simply can’t walk away from “the deal” even when it is not something we are going to use.
Common excuses include:
● Someone will use it.
● I can give it away.
● Perhaps a recipe will call for it.
● It seems a shame to leave it behind.
● Just look at that container! I could make a flower pot out of that….
You get the idea. What is really going to happen? You are going to go home, put it in the cabinet and then complain about no space in your cabinets. (despite the nacho cheese dip that has been sitting in the back for a year) If you don’t use it and you are not giving it away for sure, leave it behind. If nothing else, buy it and donate it on the way home.
Not working off a list
Walking into the grocery store without a list is not a good idea. You will walk out with all kinds of things you have no need for and rarely get everything you were supposed to. Meal planning is a wonderful way to cure yourself of this problem. (Link opportunity for meal planning here) If you need some advice on meal planning, we have you covered. It will save you more money than just about any other changes you could make.
Going to the store hungry
Going into the store hungry is grocery store budget suicide. Your belly will lead you to parts of the grocery store that you never knew existed. In fact, you may find yourself eating before you even get out of line. Fill up and eat before you go shopping and you will not be nearly as likely to shop with your stomach.
Being a label snob
Like anyone else, we are aware that some brands are simply better than others. Those items are not the same for everyone, however. What you find to be label important and others find to be label important are usually quite different. The point is, none of us need to be label dependent on everything. Pick and choose the items you don’t mind paying a premium for. Shop for the rest of your groceries with a stronger lean towards price. The vast majority of store brand generics are just as good as the name brand items. Why spend the extra cash?
While these are far from the only grocery shopping mistakes we make, they are easily fixed and improved upon. Try to start by changing one or two of them and then slowly integrating them into your “shopping rules” to live by.