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 shopping is sound, the best way to really keep your grocery spending in check is to understand how grocery stores lure you to spend more than you actually do. want. By fully understanding the ways grocery stores encourage you to spend, many of which you probably never 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 is actually a cutting edge example of “how to sell more than what consumers really need.” Since you are the consumer, it is important for you to be aware of these sales tactics so that you walk into a grocery store and get only what you need and avoid everything else that the grocery store wants to sell you. Here are some ways that grocery stores manipulate you into spending more than you had planned and some simple steps you can take to counter them:

Smell: One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter a grocery store is the appetizing smell. There is a specific reason why grocery stores smell like fresh baked goods and also why the bakery is almost always located near the store entrance. The reason is that a bakery that makes bread and desserts gives off a tempting smell, and that smell is likely to make you hungry. The supermarket also knows that if you are hungry while shopping, you are likely to spend more money, much more, than if you are not hungry.

An easy way to combat this is to go grocery shopping only after you’ve eaten and are full. If time does not allow you to do this, at least drink a couple of glasses of water before going out to feel full before you go shopping. Shopping while full makes it much easier to resist the temptations of the great smells that the grocery store will be flaunting in front of you.

General Store Layout: Ever notice that when you only need to buy a few basic items, you have to scour the entire store floor to get them? While it could be assumed that the convenience of placing basic staples in the same general area would make customers happier, grocery stores know that the longer they can keep it in store, the more money you are likely to spend. They also know that having him walk as far into the store as possible will make him more likely to pick up impulsive items. The stores are specifically designed in such a way as to allow you to spend as much time as possible inside them and walk around the entire store floor to get the basic goods that everyone needs.

Although there is no way around the farthest corners of the store to get the food you need, you can avoid the trap of impulse shopping on the store floor by taking the time to make a list of the items you need. and clings to it. when buying. Getting into the habit of taking only one trip once a week to tend to all your grocery shopping needs instead of several smaller trips during the week will also greatly reduce your time in the store and the chances of you buying items. you don’t need. I really need it.

Item Display Design – Brand name product manufacturers pay high storage fees to stores for their merchandise to be placed on shelves at adult eye level (and children’s eye level in the case of products intended for children such as cereals). Manufacturers are willing to pay these prices because they know that you are much more likely to buy something that you can easily see as you walk down the aisle than something that you have to stop and look for. The result is that products placed at eye level are often the most expensive.

Before grabbing 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 rock-bottom items (called “loss leaders”) for you to come to the store. While these may be genuine offers, don’t be fooled into thinking that anything with the words “sale” or “bargain” above is really that. While the aisle ends are reserved for these “bargains,” they aren’t always the deals they appear 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 end-of-aisle “sale” merchandise.

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 to buy the item and you really don’t need it, then it really isn’t a bargain for you no matter the price. Only consider those items that you use regularly and that you 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. Focus 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 buyers assume that larger packaging equals a better deal. It would make sense, since grouping items together saves the manufacturer packing, shipping, and storage, which can happen to you. With the mantra of “buy in bulk” now firmly ingrained in most people’s minds as a way to save money, manufacturers are taking advantage of this. While not the norm yet, more and more larger-size packages are less important than their smaller-size counterparts, as manufacturers know that you will make the assumptions above and probably won’t compare cost per unit.

Before picking up the largest box of a product, take the time to calculate the cost per unit or by weight. More often than you might expect, smaller packages of an item are actually a better deal than buying the same item in a larger package.

Checkout design: The checkout aisle of a store is like a mini market in itself. This is because grocery stores know they have a captive audience as you wait in line to pay for your groceries. They squeeze out every little thing that could remotely increase your interest to rack up a large number of impulsive sales.

The best way to avoid these temptations is to plan your purchases outside of peak hours. Avoid the weekend if possible, as this is when the grocery stores are busiest, as well as the evening when everyone has just gotten off work. With many grocery stores now open 24 hours a day, trips late at night and early in the morning, when the aisle and exit lanes are practically empty, are the perfect time to get in and out of the street. shop as quickly as possible.

By taking the time to understand how grocery stores try to influence your shopping and spending habits, you have now put yourself in control. Use the tips on how to counter grocery store selling techniques and you can control your grocery spending more and it will be much easier for you to meet your monthly food budget.

Copyright (c) 2004, by Jeffrey Strain

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

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