Back to school means back to the grocery store where the time and money you spend are being manipulated on both subtle and blatant levels. Once you know the grocery magician’s tricks, you will find that you have only the items you want in your cart and a little more money in your pocket (and a few less inches around your waist).
Know that everything that happens from the moment you walk in the door is designed for your comfort, meaning designed to make you feel happy so you slow down and buy more (and more of the things you don’t really need).
Behind the Curtain of the Grocery Monster Manipulations
Know what things cost! A sale isn’t always a sale if you don’t know how much your favorite eggs cost next door. Review the flyers online or spend a few minutes with the ones delivered to your door before your shopping trip. Is $4.99 per pound a good price for eye of the round or is this sale tag enticing you to believe so? You need a point of reference before you even enter the store.
Read coupons carefully! Here’s the scenario: you picked up the 16 ounce can of tomatoes you thought the coupon was promoting only to find that it was the 28 ounce can? You find out your error at the register and what do you do? Buy the wrong one anyway that cost more than the brand you usually buy. Make sure you buy the right quantity or the lowest allowable quantity specified on the coupon.
Choose your store wisely! Store marketers regularly monitor your habits and behaviors in while in the store. They lay out the store to maximize time spent and items purchase (and renovate “to serve you better” when they spot a dead zone that doesn’t get much action). Frequenting one store will mean that you can put your fingers on exactly what you need and be able to compare from week to week how your grocery bill is adding up.
Take a list! Some online flyers have wonderful email-able lists that can be built online and then sent to your own mobile (or someone else’s!) It helps to have a list that includes all of your items sorted by store aisle. Nothing slows you down more than having to criss-cross the store in search of one forgotten tin (which usually means other impulse items are picked up along the way).
Don’t stop and smell the baked goods! You know that isn’t just a mistake, right? The smell from the in store bakery is purposely pumped back in to tickle your senses. Okay, so you can’t stop smelling but you can prevent it from enticing you by eating before you go. Or pick up a package of chopped fresh veggies and munch on them while you stroll. You didn’t get enough veggies today anyway, you may as well make it work for you.
Don’t listen! The music is carefully chosen to suit the likely person in the store at a given time. Folksy romance tunes in major chords? Must be Friday night when the young couples or singles are shopping. This helps them feel all mushy and needy so that they seek comfort in the form of food. Do yourself a favor, plug in your headset and listen to something angry to pick up the pace and block out that sentimental drivel.
Look up and down, not just straight ahead. The priciest items are set at eye level and the ones enticing the kids are down around your knees. Do look for in store signs that signal a price reduction, remembering of course, to compare prices to determine if a deal is actually a deal, or choose house brands that may cost less and be the same darned thing that is in the name brand anyway.
Buy for what you need now, not later! Halloween is 2 months away! You will see all the displays for this candy-fest now and you may think to yourself, “Hmm, if I buy them now, I won’t need to go searching later”. It’s a trick. You will (or some other little gremlin will) eat them now and still need to find them later.
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