Grocery shopping can be stressful. Most of us just want to get in, get what we need, and get the heck out of there. Especially if you go grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon (also known as: The Worst Time to Go Shopping). Is this you?
To make sure you get your shopping done quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively, here are 5 things you should not do while grocery shopping:
1. Don’t shop on an empty stomach
To curb impulse buys, it’s always best to go grocery shopping immediately after you’ve had something to eat – not before.
If you shop when you’re hungry, everything in the store looks delicious. Even things you have never tried before. This often leads to many impulse buys that can kill your budget.
2. Don’t shop without a budget in mind
Speaking of budgets, you should always know what your spending cap is before you go shopping. If you don’t have a grocery budget, you never know when to stop shopping.
Not sure how much you should be spending on groceries each month? Track your grocery purchases for at least 3 months (6 is best) and get the average number. Then, cut that number by 25%. So if you usually spend about $600 on groceries, cut it to $450.
Save that $150 toward retirement, your child’s education fund, a down payment on a home, or anything else you need to save for.
Keep your budget in mind when you go grocery shopping. And don’t go over your budget.
Note: If you already spend very little on groceries, only cut 10%. (You may not need to cut anything t all.)
3. Don’t shop without a list
Shopping without a list (for anything, not just groceries) can be very dangerous. Just like shopping on an empty stomach, shopping without a list often leads to many impulse purchases.
Make your list before you go shopping and as soon as you get to the store, bring your list out and only buy the items that are on it.
4. Don’t shop with young children
If you’re able to shop alone, do it. Always shop by yourself whenever possible. Children have a way of convincing us that Dunkaroos and Twizzlers are a good purchase. Doritos and Oreos? Yes, let’s buy those too!
If you absolutely must shop with your children, let them know ahead of time (before you set foot in any store) that you can only buy what is on your shopping list.
5. Don’t forget to watch the register
Have you heard of the Scanning Code of Practice? If not, let me explain. The Scanning Code of Practice is a voluntary code that many retailers follow. It promises customers accurate pricing. If an item you are purchasing scans at a price higher than the advertised price, you get it for free (up to $10).
Make sure that you are watching the register as your items are being scanned to catch any errors, and if you see any, mention the Scanning Code of Practice to your cashier. The majority of them will either not mention it, or not know about it.
An average shopping trip for me is about 1 hour long. The reason I am able to complete my shopping in such a short period of time (1 hour is short, isn’t it?) is because I am prepared.
I have my list, I know my budget, I shop alone, and I never shop on an empty stomach.
Get in, get out, go home, enjoy the money you’ve saved.