Have you ever ran into the grocery store thinking that you’d just get cereal and apples and came out with three bags of groceries and $50 less in your wallet? It’s not surprising when you think that the supermarket industry has poured millions of dollars into research to find out the best ways to get us to buy, buy, buy.
The good news is that with a bit of knowledge you can stick with your budget and only buy the food you need, when you need it. Resisting temptation isn’t always easy, but think about how much better it feels to have money in your pocket instead of in the fridge!
1. This is big: think about only taking cash into the store and leaving the cards at home. You can’t spend what you don’t have, after all! Knowing that you only have a set amount of cash will ensure that you keep a careful eye on what you’re putting in the basket and reduce the number of impulse buys.
2. Good deals always come around again! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to buy it now to take advantage of a sales price. Those that follow the sales flyers know that sales go in cycles and the soup that’s on special this week will be on special again six weeks from now. Get to know the cycles and only buy as much as you’ll need until it goes on sale again.
3. Just because it’s on the end of a shelf, doesn’t mean it’s on sale. We automatically assume that items displayed on an end cap are on sale, but this isn’t always the case. Most often, if it’s really on sale, there will be a tag that lists the regular price below the reduced price. If you don’t see that, it’s probably not on sale. In either case, if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
4. In most stores, if it says 10 for $10, you can also buy 1 for $1. Learn your grocery store’s policy to find out if you are required to buy all 10 to get the lower price. In many cases, if you are required to buy the exact quantity, the sign will say something like “or 1 for $1.50”. Some stores will also sell you one item for half price on buy one get one free specials, but be sure to check first.
5. Don’t get reeled in by “limit 3” signs and automatically grab 3. While these policies help insure that there is stock enough for every customer, it also triggers a feeling of scarcity in our brains and compels us to get as many as we can. Only buy as much as you need.
6. Generics and the store brand might not always be the best bargain. Coupons can often lower the price of name brands to below that of generics. Some store brands are only a few cents cheaper than name brand so it might not be worth the savings if you honestly prefer the name brand version.
7. Buying in bulk doesn’t always save money. Sometimes the bigger size is more per unit than a smaller size. Always make sure to compare. If you have coupons, buying several of the smaller size and applying a coupon to each can make more sense than buying the bigger size.
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