Household, Lifestyle

Ways to Save Money While Doing the Shopping

Sometimes after coming home from the supermarket, you look at the receipt and think: “I didn’t buy anything much, but I’ve spent so much money …”. And more often than not it’s because of marketing tricks that stores tend to use. After all, how many times we brought home what we did not need. That’s why it’s so important to know how to manage your shopping trips in order not to waste your money and spend the entire salary at once. Even if you consider yourself smart and know how to save your money, you won’t say no to a few additional tips for economical shopping! Note down these few shopping rules which, we’re sure, you will find useful.

Think about what you need to buy

The first thing you should do before going to the store is open and carefully examine your fridge. Perhaps there are enough eggs and cheese for a day or two, in which case it makes no sense to buy them so that they lie around for a few more days waiting for their time. Think about what you want to cook next week – if you know exactly what and when you cook, you will be able to determine what exactly you need to buy. This will save you from rash purchases and, at the same time, from the painful thoughts on what to cook for dinner during the week.

Make a shopping list

A must-have item that will help you save the budget as much as possible is a shopping list. Even if you have a great memory, you should not rely on it in this matter. Write down on a piece of paper or put in your smartphone all the products that you need to buy. Look in the bathroom and the cabinet under the sink: perhaps you’re out of the laundry detergent or the trash bags – so you can at once buy everything you really need. It’s really important to make a list before leaving your house and sticking to it while you’re in the supermarket. It doesn’t only help you save your money, but also makes shopping easier, faster and more enjoyable.

Make a schedule of doing the shopping

If one day you decide to quickly do the shopping on your way home from work, you will most likely be stuck in a traffic jam during the rush hour. To avoid the trouble, plan large-scale shopping trips for a more suitable time – set certain days for going to the supermarket. Let it be 2-3 times a week and other days don’t even enter any stores! After all, the less we are there – the less we spend. This way you will also avoid huge queues and cramped aisles, and the shelves won’t be emptied. By the way, some stores offer additional discounts for special days and hours of shopping, look for this information on notification boards or online.

Limit shopping time

Set a goal to finish your shopping trip in a certain, reasonable amount of time. Strict timing won’t give you the opportunity to “check something else” and spend too much. Besides, the category “something else” rarely includes something that is really necessary.

Park closer to the exit

You usually enter the supermarket without any bags and can manage any distance. However, it gets much more difficult when you leave the supermarket with huge packages or a heavy trolley. Therefore, the way back to your car should be as short as possible.

 Always go shopping alone

Remember that one buyer is a smart buyer! The more people you take with you when you’re doing the shopping, the more unnecessary things you’re bound to buy. They will distract you, and you will pay less attention to your shopping. In addition, they can push you to buy those things that you were not going to buy, especially if you’re shopping companion is your child! It’s better to just buy your loved ones something delicious yourself, while determining beforehand how much money you can spend on it.

Never go shopping when you’re hungry

Eat before you go shopping! If you are shopping in a supermarket when you are hungry, you can buy relatively more than you would like, or worse – things that you don’t need at all! It’s not difficult to seduce a hungry person with food, and your basket will get filled much more actively. Scientists even calculated how much: if you do not eat in advance, you’re likely to spend an average of 64% more than with a full stomach.

Think whether you need a big cart or just a small basket

It’s very important to take the right cart. You don’t need a big cart if you came to shop for just a day or two. If you do choose a big cart, on a subconscious level, you’ll want to fill it up, and very often about the third of the goods you buy will be unnecessary. For small purchases, it is better to take baskets or small carts. And another piece of advice is to put everything you’ve bought in the shopping bag at once.

Grab the player

Even though it might sound strange, but it’s true: slow background music increases sales in stores by 38%. Less meditative melodies, sounding from your headphones, will help not to fall for this bait.

Go only to specific aisles

If you need pasta, cabbage and milk, go to the vegetable, dairy sections and to the shelves with pasta. Slow wandering around the supermarket makes you buy something that wasn’t in your plans. And don’t be scared to forget something – you have your list!

Avoid cheap stores with low quality product

Every woman knows at least one cheap store where they sell goods that are not of very good quality. Our tip here is to avoid such stores at all costs! Otherwise, you will be distracted and end up buying a lot of unnecessary low-quality goods that will soon enough prove to be not worse buying. A better option will be to look for good deals in stores with better quality. Goods bought there will last longer so you will save money because you won’t need to buy them again soon. (You can apply this rule to practical anything apart from food).

Don’t be lazy to reach for things

It’s worth paying attention to the fact that stores often lay out the products that the customers are likely to choose and that are also the most expensive on the middle shelves – that is, on the shelves that are at the eye level. At the same time, they also place most goods with available discounts there. Very often, we get fooled by this and go for such offers, even without looking at the upper and lower shelves, where similar products can be fresher and cheaper. Please note that cheaper doesn’t mean worse – just compare the contents.

Dig deeper

When you buy food for the whole week, but on the shelf, you can only see products that expire the day after tomorrow, check the items in the second, third row and so on. Supermarkets often put goods that are fresher at the back of the shelf, and that makes sense – customers will first go for the goods, the shelf life of which is about to expire.

Take heed of pre-packaged products

On the packaging of sliced sausage or cheese, you can often find only the date of packing, which is easy to change along with the plastic film. And there’s often not a word about the manufacturing date. Therefore, buying these products you often risk to get food which is off. Besides, most supermarkets offer to cut products like cheese and sausage on the spot, just ask the shop assistant about it.

Weigh the fruit and vegetables yourself

It’s always nice when someone does the dirty work for you, but packaged produce might turn out to be not of the best quality. Besides, pre-packaged fruit and vegetables are usually more expensive than those you have to weigh yourself. However, there are exceptions. For example, bananas torn from the bunch go bad faster, so supermarkets are interested in selling them first. Keep in mind that seasonal and local produce is always cheaper and better for you than that imported from exotic countries.

Do not buy things you don’t need just because they’re on sale

In order to save the family budget, try not to buy things that are quite unnecessary for you even if they’re cheaper now than they usually are – it won’t help you save money but rather spend more. And even if you need the product but not right now, avoid buying it if you know it’s often on sale. It’s just a waste of money and free space – if these items are always available, then you can buy them later. Buying in advance is not always the best option! So once in the supermarket, just look for the items on your list without paying too much attention to discounts. Although sometimes you can stumble upon really good offers there, it’s usually not the case, so don’t let it destruct you.

Use coupons wisely

Coupons are a great way to save on the things you need! However, they can also be a marketing trick that will make you buy goods that you don’t really need. That’s why you should use coupons only if you know that you will use the thing you buy, or at least give it to someone else.

Buy in small quantities

Buying frozen, canned and dried foods in large quantities is quite a usual practice for many people. But never buy what you can’t freeze or use until it expires! Pay attention to vegetables and fruit – they are cheap, but they also quickly go bad. According to statistics people throw away 20-25% of the food they buy. So only buy a lot of vegetables and fruit when you’re absolutely sure that you will cook them very soon.

Always pay in cash

While shopping it’s better forget about the option of paying by card. Doing so, you don’t seem to feel how much money you actually spend and can easily go beyond the limit. Better take a certain amount of cash you’re planning to spend this particular time, and that should be enough only for what’s on your shopping list.

Always check the expiration date, size, and price

Remember that family packages are not always cheaper than small ones! We have recently discovered that they are not only more expensive but also contain less product than 2 or 3 small packages! Always pay attention to the shelf life, manufacturing date, storage conditions and don’t forget about the contents. For example, you shouldn’t find vegetable fats in butter while a low-fat yogurt may be more caloric than its regular counterpart, which is important if you buy it with the intent of losing some weight. And don’t buy what you won’t use before the expiration date. We also often overpay for the bright packaging or brand, although you can buy a similar good product with a simpler design and much cheaper.

Compare prices per kilogram or liter

On the same shelf, we can often see two very similar packages of the same product with the same price but from different manufacturers. But on closer examination, it turns out that one package is, say, 200 grams while the other one is only 180 grams – an old but still effective marketing move. Hence the conclusion – in order to compare the goods, you need to look at their cost per kilogram or liter, which many stores today indicate under the price of packaged products.

Don’t even touch the products that aren’t on your list

All unplanned purchases are made because a buyer has examined, touched, smelt or tried something that cause positive emotions. The more attention is paid to the product, the higher is the likelihood that it will be bought. The high-risk zone is the line to the checkout where the vast majority of spontaneous purchases are made. Painful waiting in the queue can cause a desire to reward yourself and a chocolate bar might slip from the shelf into your basket. Suddenly, you need wet wipes, lollipops, and lemonade to wash down the sweetness of that chocolate. This is what marketing specialists are counting on. So control yourself and if you happen to be with a child, try to distract them from the colourful shelves as well.

Inspect the contents of the cart

Inspect the goods before heading to the checkout. Perhaps you grabbed something extra from a shelf without thinking. Now it’s the best time to take the excess out of your cart and not to spend more than you need.

Check the receipt

Some products can accidentally be counted twice, while others might turn out to be more expensive than you expected. Disputes may arise because of a price that’s different from the one on the shelf. If you start arguing at the checkout, they will keep you there and might even go and change the prices and you won’t be able to prove anything. Therefore, it’s better to first go to the shelf where you picked the item up and take a photo of the price tag, and then go and prove your point at the checkout.

Do you have any other shopping tips? Share in the comments!

Featured image: Alexas_Fotos / pixabay