Supermarkets pay a lot to get the layout of their stores just right so that you spend as much money as possible and visit as much of the store as possible as well, for instance:-
Fresh food is at the start of the store which means that you feel virtuous after getting all the green produce, you are drawn to the back of the store by the alluring smell of freshly baked bread (often the smell is helped around the store to make you wander over as well!), and the offers are at the end of each aisle so that you are much more likely to submit to buying more than you need because its a good deal – all the staples are also well spaced out so that you need to travel down most aisles to fill up on the basics.
They’re not playing at this, its business!
So what are the tricks to get the most out of your shopping, while staying alert to the tricks?
Here are my fail safe tips to make food shopping a breeze.
Go food shopping when you have already eaten
If you shop for food on an empty stomach you are going to be ruled by your tummy rather than your head.
You will make rash decisions about getting more food than you need, as you will be tempted by much more.
If you eat a meal before you go, then you will be much more likely to stick to what you need.
Never again be seduced by the freshly baked bread smells or delicious treats at the deli! (unless they are on your list of course!), and talking of lists…..
Write a shopping list and stick to it
Its never a good idea to go into a store and buy what you fancy for tea that night – as you inevitably come out with a lot more than you really need.
You either can’t make a decision so end up buying a couple of choices – or you can be tempted to buy the more unhealthy options.
If you can write a list (ideally based around a preprepared meal plan) and stick to it then you won’t go far wrong!
An offer is only worth it if you use the product and were going to buy it anyway, or if you can store it easily
Think about an offer before you pack it into your trolley. 2 for 1 on bags of salad for instance may seem a good idea, but not if you are only in to eat tonight and then out for the next 2 days – it will have too short a shelf life and one of the bags will inevitably be thrown away (so you end up spending more on the one bag that you actually used).
Think about what you are planning to eat for the next week/month and look at offers around what you are going to need anyway – thats when its a real bonus!
TIP – exceptions to this rule are things that you can store easily that you will use up eventually (as long as you have the space) – like toilet rolls, dishwasher tablets, washing powder, shampoo, soap, and even food items that you can freeze.
If you need it then you’ve got a bargain, if you don’t then you’re just wasting your money
I always buy dishwasher tabs and washing powder when its on offer as we use the same brand each time – and it comes up half price at certain times – so I grab loads when this offer comes about as it saves a fortune.
Consider getting your food delivered
Take away the temptations pretty much completely by getting your food delivered.
Most supermarkets offer this service now – it does cost a little but when you weigh up how much our time is worth getting there, shopping and getting back then it is a justified cost.
You won’t be tempted by bargains as much (although they are online as well) – but most online applications will let you shop from your favourites list – which takes you straight to what you usually buy, which is a great way of doing your general shopping in really quick time!
If you prefer to see the items in person before buying (and I am like this for fresh produce), you can still utilise the online stores for the bulky items such as toilet roll, toiletries, canned goods etc….. and just go to your local store for fresh items weekly.
Pick the time you shop
Going to the shops at certain times make sense for a few reasons:-
- Supermarkets often mark down produce at the end of the day so you can get a bargain if you time it right
- Shops are often less busy very early or very late each day so consider going out of peak times to save queues
- Shop when the kids aren’t with you as this leads to added stress and distractions for many of us which can be avoided
- Don’t shop too many times each week/month – go once a month for a bulk shop and then weekly for fresh produce and you will cut the stress
And lastly – I’ve fallen fowl to this a couple of times so thought it worth mentioning – check your boot before you shop – theres nothing more frustrating than if you’ve come out of a shop with a trolley load of products only to find the car is full of that stuff you have to take to the tip….
Always shop on a full stomach and only buy products on offer if you really do use them and will be able to use them before their best before date – an offer is only an offer if it helps!
If you are unsure when a quiet time would be to do your shop then ask someone next time you are there, and plan your next trip around that (as long as it fits in with your schedule nicely!)
Follow these simple rules and shopping should be so much more pleasant!