Believe me guys, I am the type of consumer who can be excited and who looks forward to making her trip to the supermarket. For me, it is like going to the mall to shop for my shoes, clothes and other fashion stuffs- the only difference ……..is the tax! As a matter of fact, grocery shopping is even more challenging and a fun-filled task, once you get the hang of it. This is where my smartness and sheer business acumen comes into the picture! To some, it may be stressful especially if it is done with a limited budget for a large family or with some kids or baby in the shopping cart!
I am lucky that I live in an area where five big grocery stores are present and accessible , namely Key Food, Bravo, Pathmark, C-Town and BJ’s , a wholesale club. Location is not really much of a big deal , what matters is how would you do it . Regardless of where ever you are in any part of the globe, the “art and science” of grocery shopping is universal – people’s attitude towards any kind of shopping for that matter would be more or less the same.
Here are some simple tips and strategies to make your next grocery shopping smart and less stressful:
A shopping plan – Just like boy scouts preparing for a camp site, you need to list down the items that you need to buy either for weekly or monthly consumption, using your menu plan and food inventory as reference . This is a crucial step to make sure if your list would be just enough forthe estimated budget for the said period.Most, if not all, of the major supermarkets send out in advance eithervia email or thru courier their respective weekly flyers or circulars showing the items which areon sale (buy one take one) or with special discounts (So far, I have not used coupons as based on observation, these are sometimes being offered for the not soessential items.).Once you have the list, check with the supermarket flyers if what you have in your list is on sale, then identify which store you intend to go.For sure, you want to go to the supermarket which has all the things you need to buy and which will give the most bang for your buck – i.e, the cheapest price possible.Once everything is completed,you’re set to go with the resolve to “stick to your plan”. Remember,”if it’s not in the list, don’t buy it.” Experience has taught me the following:
–Shopping on a weekly basis prevents me from buying food that spoils.
–Shopping with fewer people in the grocery store makes it more less stressful.
A full stomach – I consider this a major factor but to some it may be absurd. Yes, it is funny, but it is true! I was amazed to find some write-ups which mention the same thing. For practical reasons, I do my shopping on a weekend either after breakfast or lunch time for certain reasons. One reason is to ensure that I have enough energy and another is to mitigate the urge and the craving to buy palatable food that I wish to eat at that time but not necessarily in the checklist. When you shop on an empty stomach, everything you see in the store appear delicious and you will end up buying more foods than you actually need or which you already have at home. Seems logical, right?
Awareness of the Supermarket’s Layout – I observed that the basic commodities such as milk, fresh veggies eggs, bread and the like are usually situated at the outer perimeters or at the back of the grocery stores. While those items like processed foods, canned goods, junk foods sodas, etc. are in the inner or middle long aisles. As such, you will have to pass a long way just to get some of the things you need, thus spending more time than saving.Haven’t you noticed it?This is true not onlyin the U.S.but in other countries as well.I have been to many places and the same store policy applies.An expert has mentioned that one reason for this is to attract the consumers’ (specifically the impulsive buyers) attention to see as many products as as possible and buy on impulse.The most important advice is not to be sidetracked by the said store’s strategy but simply to “stick to your plan”.
Other Salient Reminders:
Use Cash or debit cards for purchases instead of credit cards. We all know the reasons why.
Stick first to the perimeter of the supermarket where the healthy stuff are found (e.g. fruits and veggies).
As much as possible, leave the kids at home.
Don’t go bulk shopping when you feel being rushed. If you still have time and the energy, counter check your receipt with the purchased items.
I may not be the savviest grocer shopper on earth, but I trust the aforesaid ways and means will serve as pointers on how to cut back on your bills. I would love to hear your comments or your suggestions or your tips maybe on how to be a wise consumer!