Making certain supermarket mistakes costs consumers an average of $2.5 billion dollars a year, if not more, according to ABC news. Mistakes range from choosing impulse items to not paying attention to items at the register. To avoid certain important supermarket mistakes, put these 9 on the top of your list, and carry them to the store, along with your list of healthy foods! Hopefully, this will save you money and calories, for years to come.
1. Make a List and Stick to It
One of the first supermarket mistakes most people make is they don’t make a list, or they don’t stick to the one they do make. You can only spend money on what you put on that list. Make your budget, plan out your items, and stick to that list missy!
2. Non-taxed Items
Many non-taxable items are actually charged as taxable items to customers. This can cost you a lot of money if you don’t pay attention to this. Grocery food items are non-taxable, while specialty items like food containers and such are. To make sure your cashier isn’t charging you tax on an non-taxable food item, be sure to watch every item go through the checkout line and check you receipt. Stores do this by not correctly inputting items into the machine systems, whether on accident, or on purpose.
3. Choosing Eye Level Items
Another top mistake to avoid making at the supermarket is choosing items that are in the middle of the shelves, at eye level view. This is “prime real estate” in terms of how supermarkets make their money. All the pricier items or brands are placed there, because it’s the first thing most people see. Always check the top and bottom shelves before the middle shelf, where most of the lower priced items are located.
Most stores put items on sale on the endcaps, to trick customers into believing this is where the deals are. Yet, if you compare items on the endcaps to lower priced items on the shelf, you’ll see that most likely, this is a rip off. As someone who’s worked in a supermarket before, I can tell you this is true. Our managers were asked to put items on end caps each week to boost sales of a certain product. They were asked to pair certain items together to get those out of stock sooner, and usually rotated similar items every 6-8 weeks. Don’t fall for this and think they’re trying to sell you a deal. Though sometimes you can get a good bargain on an endcap, it doesn’t always serve as a guarantee.
5. Not Buying Generic
I’ve found that while some items are lower quality in generic form, most are not. Don’t believe me? Turn over the ingredient list and read it. Most of the time, it’s identical, or nearly so, to the well known brand product. Just this one change can save you tons of money.
6. Not Checking Coupons
Now, here’s where I differ from your average couponer out there. I don’t cut coupons for items I don’t buy. For one, many of those items are unhealthy, and number two, coupons can actually make you spend more money, not save. Many make you buy two items, and the coupon is over 50 cents, so it can’t be doubled at most stores. Also, many stores don’t offer coupon offers through mobile devices either. Be sure to check whether the item you’re buying is something you first and foremost need, and if you have a coupon for it, great! Otherwise, leave it alone, and be sure to check coupon policies at stores, before you leave home.
7. Impulse Buys
Of course we all know impulse items are a major mistake to avoid making, but we all still do it, right? Remember it this way: stores are trying to trick and tempt you, so turn the blind eye on the way to the register and keep your budget in mind. You can always buy it next time if you really want it that badly.
8. Going after Your Workout
Never go to the store after your workout. For one, you’re hungry, and number two, you’re under an endorphin rush from all that exercise, and more prone to pick up more items because you’re in a good mood. I understand this can’t always be avoided, but do the best you can to be aware that you probably will buy more when you’re coming off an exercise high, or hungry. Another great idea is to carry a post workout snack with you to eat before you go inside, so you’re less likely to buy out of starvation. Pick something with protein, fat and fiber to keep your blood sugar stable, and ensure that your mood is in the right place.
9. Forgoing Frozen
Let me fill you in on something: frozen food is where it’s at people! No, I’m not talking about the frozen entrées either. I’m talking frozen fruits and veggies. These items are frozen at their peak, locking in their precious nutrient power, and you can use them in almost any way! Plus, I buy most of my greens frozen, as they make the best thick, frosty green smoothies, which are way better than fresh, along with my berries. You can stir frozen veggies into omelets, steam them, thaw them and put onto salads or anything else, and frozen fruits are much cheaper bought this way as well. I like buying some fresh items each week, but frozen items are much cheaper, which helps me save money too. Just be sure to compare the package size with the price and don’t fall for high dollar name brand items when generic are the exact same thing.
If you know of a supermarket mistake many of us make, would you mind sharing it here? I’m all about eating healthy, but I’m also big on saving money. Share your tips here and let me know what supermarket mistakes you avoid at all costs.