Is there anyone out there who doesn’t use one of the major grocery chains? If so, you are a rare bird, indeed. The reality for most of us is that love them or loathe them, the likes of Walmart, Publix and Target are our go-to stores for all of our everyday shopping needs. We all have our favorites, of course, and there are also the ones we like to avoid.
Whichever your personal choice, you can bet on one thing – your preferred retailer will be playing all kinds of psychological tricks on you to ensure you spend more money than you originally wanted.
How to Beat the Grocery Chains at Their Own Game
From promotional offers through to the actual layout of the store, at every stage of your shopping trip, you will be bombarded with subtle signals, temptation, and suggestion. And it pays off, too – millions of people buy products they don’t want or need from the major grocery stores every single week. And over the course of a year, that results in huge, personal expense.
The big question is, how can you beat them at their own game, and ensure you only spend on your terms? Let’s take a look.
Make a list and shop online
The beauty of modern retailers is that you don’t have to leave the house to access them anymore. Make a list of items you want – and only the items you want – and you will be able to order them straight to your door. Sure, there will be a delivery charge. But in truth, this is a small price to pay for the guarantee that you will only buy what you need.
But what if you have to visit the store in person? The first step in avoiding overspending is to make sure you can’t. Leave the debit and credit cards at home or in the car, and only take out a budgeted amount of cash. This will force you into thinking carefully about every purchase.
Whether you use discount websites, coupons, or use store cards, there is a multitude of ways to save at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and the other major grocery store chains. Use them, but be careful. There is a big difference between getting discounts on things you need and would buy anyway, and being tempted by a sale on items you hadn’t previously considered.
When it comes to fruit, veg, and other produce, work with your local seasons. As each product comes into season, the grocery stores have an abundance of locally-grown produce they want to fly off the shelves, so they sell it cheaper than at any other time of year. If your food is being transported from a state on the other side of the country – or world – you can expect to pay for its journey.
Shop with a basket
Finally, try and use a basket rather than a cart. Grocery store carts are enormous for a reason – the store, and your brain, will both want you to fill it. Using a cart increases the chance of you opting for the larger packets, extra products, and impulse purchases. With a basket, however, you are more likely to avoid the ‘extras.’