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10 *Actually* Helpful Shopping Tips for Your Next Commissary Adventure

Why do I spend too much time and money in the grocery store?

Getting through a grocery store can be quite complicated, time consuming and costly if you don’t know the ropes. Especially, if you are shopping with children, right?

The food industry is a billion dollar machine and grocery stores are no different, but no need to stress your next food shopping spree.

Let me help you navigate through the grocery store for healthy choices, to avoid poor decisions and save money.

Here is my Top Ten list for grocery shopping:

1. Stay on the outside of the store

More nutritional items are located on the outside such as fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy. Of course not all of these items are created equal, but if you do your homework it is much easier to make “good” decisions.

2. Don’t go to the store on an empty stomach

If you do you will walk out of the store filled with more items than you probably need. Your impulses will be in full-effect which will convert to poor choices. Research has shown that individuals crave “sugary” products when we are hungry.

3. Watch out for store items in the front of the store and at cash registers

Usually these items are preying on impulse buyers and often consist of processed and high fat/sugar products such as sodas, chips, candy, etc. Don’t be embarrassed. Marketers strategically place these directly in front of you with bright, comforting colors and techniques to lure you to buy. Coincidentally, cash register sales account for a high percentage of sales in the store.

4. Stay out of the center of the store

The center of the store and aisles consists of most often processed foods and an assortment of other high sugar and fat content.

5. Have a list

Otherwise you will buy more than you need, make poor choices and spend more time in the store. Some research suggests we buy over 60% of what we had no intention of buying.

6. Dig Deep

Retailers often have their oldest merchandise in the front to get rid of it so don’t be afraid to search in the back of the stack for the freshest choices. Also, buy during the week as most deliveries are made during the week.

7. Be careful of grocery store traps

For example, stores often put big-name products on the end of the aisles where it gets much traffic and attention. These products are usually more expensive than the average brand. Be patient so you can find the brand and sale item you are looking for.

8. Go for the shortest line

The average wait is 3 minutes and 11 seconds. The longer you stay in line the more likely you are to make impulse buys.

9. Pay attention to where your product is located on the shelf:

The most bought brands are usually located on the 2nd and 3rd level shelves which are directly in the eye sight of the customer. Did you know that manufacturers have to pay for this premium location, which translates to the highest mark-ups and prices? Look low and high to find the most reasonable prices.

10. Leave the children at home

I realize this may not be an option, but in the long run it will save money and time. Retailers put children’s items at “eye-level” making it easy for them to grab and put in the cart before you know it.

So, go ahead and use these techniques now that you are well-versed for a successful and efficient trip to the grocery store!

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