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Here’s How You can Become A Smart Grocery Shopper

It’s smart visiting the local grocery store, shopping list in hand. Actually two lists are needed here, the what-to-buy list and additionally, a how-to-shop list. As we all know, its difficult buying what you need at the prices you want, unless you buy the same food items again and again. Some methods to enable shopping even smarter, are given below.

Shop when you don’t have much time

Grocery stores are known to play soothing music, and even pump out artificial smells of fresh-baked bread and rotisserie chicken. The mood music keeps you relaxed ensuring a longer stay while the food smells are designed to make you hungry and buy more. Shopping leisurely on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, is avoidable and you must shop on busy weekdays with a more focused, and quicker shopping attitude.

Compare the price of each unit

While comparing packaged food items, look at the sale price and the unit price. It must be on the price sticker of the grocery shelf, possibly in fine print. This is the cost of the item per unit, such as per ounce. This is important because buying a bottle of orange juice for $2.99 when a similar brand costs $4.99. But if the latter has a lesser unit price, that’s the bargain.

Compare packages in general

Similar to checking unit prices, scrutinize what you buy. If buying paper towels, don’t grab the one with four rolls while rejecting the one with two rolls as the two rolls may have more square feet than the four thinner rolls. Comparing unit prices is an effective way to compare prices and save, but never become complacent while shopping. Always read the labels!

Shop with cash

There are downsides as you might not afford buying your entire list. But keeping your debit or credit card at home, guarantees that you cannot spend more than the amount planned. Or take only cash and do your best to stay within the set limits then venture to pay the surplus with plastic. You will force yourself to think carefully about what goods you are actually buying.

Do not accept free samples

If free samples are packaged and you can take it home, by all means, accept these happily. But if offered free mini hot dogs or chips, do not take the bait. Or at least understand what may happen. Veteran shoppers know never to shop when hungry, so imagine the effect of those free samples on your stomach. They are meant to excite your taste buds and you end up buying more than your needs.

Check the circulars

Many grocery stores feature bargains in their advertised weekly specials, and very frequently, these are loss leaders or products sold at discounted prices or loss of profit by the store, assuming that shoppers will more than make up for these losses by spending more on other items. You may find some good deals in these circulars, but be aware that not all that you see there, is on sale.

Buy local store brands

If a veteran shopper, you are aware that store brands or “generic” brands are cheaper but just as good as branded items. The National Bureau of Economic Research released a 2018 study highlighting store-brand product quality. It revealed that consumer awareness about certain products, influenced buying of generic brands.

Clean your refrigerator and pantry often

How often have you seen baking soda, flour, or some item on the store-shelf and wondered if you have it, or are almost out? Clean your refrigerator and pantry at least prior to shopping for a quick inventory to refine your shopping list, as this stops you from buying what you already have; you will also ensure a very organized kitchen.

Remember to tear the coupon off the product

Sometimes, you notice a coupon sticker on a product with a “peel here” note, promising savings in excess of 50 cents. Like all consumers, that coupon convinces you to place the item in your cart. Well, do remember to “peel here,” preferably before the item enters your shopping-cart and gets submerged amongst eggs, cereal and bread.

It’s lonely both at the top and bottom

The costlier products always occupy the middle shelves, where your eyes hit first. StatisticBrain.com estimates that most grocery stores carry about 39,000 items, keep in mind the inevitable turnover. It makes financial sense for stores to put the priciest items where buyers can see and reach out for them. But with recent food prices rising sharply, you may find prices somewhat costlier in the least consumer-friendly spots on the shelves.

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