Comments Off on 9 Big Tips to Save Your Health and Your Money

By Jesse Cannone

how to shop for groceriesHow to shop for groceries probably seems like a no-brainer … but walking into a grocery store is a bit like stepping into a lion’s den. While you’re not likely to be eaten alive, you are likely to be completely overtaken by the alluring displays set up by hungry food marketers.

The deck of cards is very much stacked against you, and there’s a good chance that even if you went in intending to buy a gallon of milk and some eggs, you’ll leave with a cart full of snacks and other goodies your wallet, and your waistline, would be better off without.

Make no mistake — grocery stores are carefully laid out. The milk is almost always at the back of the store, so you have to walk past bright displays of cookies and candy along your way. The end caps (the shelves on the ends of the aisles that are very hard to miss) almost always feature very profitable items the store wants you to buy more of (or perhaps an item they overbought and need to get rid of quickly).

And the items at eye level? These, too, are typically brand-name items that generate the most profits for the store. They’re the easiest to see and reach, making them far more enticing and likely to fly off the shelves than the lesser-known item on the bottom shelf.

Are you ready to give the food marketers a run for their money, so you can keep more of yours? Learn these top tips to outsmart them, and leave the grocery store with the items you need to buy, not the ones they want you to.

How to Shop for Groceries – 9 Top Tips

9. Make a list, check it twice: It sounds so simple, but it is deceivingly powerful. Your list should be carefully thought out, preferably when you’re still at home, so that it has a balanced variety of food to sustain your family until your next shopping trip one — or if you’re ambitious, two or even three – weeks later. Ideally, the making of your grocery list will coincide with meal planning for the week, so you’ll be armed with the items you need to make healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for at least seven days straight.

8. Stick to your list: The grocery list is pointless if you don’t follow it. Make a pact with yourself to only buy what’s on your list. If necessary, shop with a limited amount of cash so that even if you’re tempted to impulse buy, you won’t have enough money left over to do so.

7. Eat before you go: There’s nothing worse than stepping into a grocery store with a growling stomach. Not only are you likely to buy more food than you need in general, you’re much more likely to add extra impulse buys to your purchase. And you know as well as anyone that these impulse buys are not going to be carrots, salmon filets and red peppers … you’re going to grab chocolate cake, frozen pizza and cheese puffs instead.

6. Give generic a try: Sometimes, but not always, you can get the same quality food for much less if you buy generic. How can you tell what you’re buying? Check out the ingredients list and the Nutrition Facts panel on each. If they’re the same, get the generic.

5. Grab a basket, not a shopping cart: Shopping with a larger shopping cart can make you buy 40 percent more groceries.[i] A basket will leave you with just enough room for essentials. If you really want to be sure you don’t over-shop, use no basket at all, and just carry what you need in your arms.

4. Leave your kids at home: Did you know that 75 percent of parents have bought a product for the first-time because their kids requested it? And that stores are fond of using cartoons and other child-based themes in food displays because these often outperform mom-targeted themes? Food companies spend nearly $2 billion a year marketing food to kids because it generates what’s known as “pester power”[ii] – against which most parents are defenseless …. Save yourself some trouble, and some money, by leaving your kids at home instead.

3. Read the sale fine print: Sometimes stores will advertise an item as “5 for $10,” but it doesn’t mean you actually have to buy five to get the sale price. Often you can buy only one or two for the same price. Other sale items may still be more expensive than the same item in a different size, so figuring out the unit price is always important. Sometimes unit prices are right on the shelf price tag, but if not a pocket calculator (or the one on your smartphone) will come in handy.

2. Buy organic items in bulk: If you’re looking to add more organic foods to your diet, research shows you can save about 89 percent on costs by buying them in bulk, instead of pre-packaged.[iii] This includes organic beans, spices, coffees, teas, pasta, nut butters, dried fruit, flour and more …

1. Overcome your cravings for unhealthy foods: If you walk into the grocery store craving pizza, potato chips, ice cream or cookies, the temptation to buy when you see those items will probably prove overwhelming. Think about what your doing……….

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