Between clipping coupons and not shopping when you’re hungry, we’ve heard all the standard ways you can save money at the grocery store. But you can’t always plan your visit around your budget; sometimes a quick drop-in at the local grocery store can cost you way more than expected. Check out these six ways you can save on your next grocery run:
1. TAKE THE LARGEST CART
You’d think that using a small basket you’d get fewer groceries and spend less money. But a recent study in the Journal of Marketing Research found that pushing a full-size cart could help you make smarter food choices. In the study, shoppers holding the basket made more impulse buys that cost them big bucks.
2. DON’T HIT EVERY AISLE
It’s important to go to the grocery store with a mission. By hand-picking the aisles you need to visit, you avoid cruising down aisles where you may “discover” items you left off your list. Shoppers who hit most or all aisles check out with way more impulse buys than those who visit fewer aisles, according to a study conducted by the Marketing Science Institute.
3. AVOID PREPARED FOODS
While it’s nice to have the work done for us, buying pre-cut fruits and veggies or prepared salads and meats can increase your grocery spending quickly. For example, a head of broccoli averages $1.64 per pound, while cut broccoli florets cost an average of $2.57 per pound.
4. LOOK UP AND DOWN
Most grocery stores stock the higher-priced items where they’re easiest to reach, which is at about chest height. As a result, you should be sure to look at the top and bottom shelves for the better deals.
5. USE SELF-CHECKOUT
While it may be more work for you to scan and bag your own groceries, there are fewer impulse buys at these registers. Plus, you don’t have the time to peruse the candy and gum. A recent study from IHL Consulting Group showed that impulse buys dropped 32.1% in women and 16.7% in men when they used self-checkout lanes.
6. SKIP THE HEALTH AND BEAUTY SECTION
It’s convenient to pick up toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo at the grocery store, but the price will usually be cheaper at big box stores like Target or Walmart.