Navigating your grocery store

Here are some tips that will help you save time and money at the grocery store.

Navigating the grocery store can be challenging and overwhelming. It’s important to know however that most of our shopping behaviors are habitual; meaning we do not tend to put a lot of thought into the purchase of most of our brands. Also, studies show that two-thirds of the groceries consumers buy were not initially intended to be purchased. That leads to wasting about 25 percent of the food and beverages the average American purchases, according to a report by the National Resources Defense Council.

Price changes, special deals, the music playing in the back ground of the store and the heavenly smells of freshly baked bread from the bakery and deli are stimulators that encourage us to shop more. Other factors such as shopping hungry, the location of candy and magazines at the checkout isles, bakery items at the front of the store, and other services at the front of the grocery stores can encourage impulse shopping too. 

Here are some tips from Michigan State University Extension to save you money and time when you’re at the grocery store:

  • Failing to plan is planning to fail, so make a list and stick to it. Start planning your grocery shopping trip at home by inventorying your pantry and refrigerator. This will allow you to purchase items and ingredients that will supplement what you already have in stock.
  • Skip prepared foods. You’ll almost always pay more for cut up chicken, shredded cheese, and bagged lettuce.
  • If you’re trying to eat healthier, buy most of your food from the perimeter of the store as that’s where grocery stores stock fresh foods such as produce, meats and dairy product. Most of your processed and packaged foods will be found inside the center isles. 
  • Know the price per unit. This allows you to compare the same food across different brands or compare the different sizes of the same food.
  • Buy generic! In most cases generic brands can be as good as name brands. Also, just because a name brand item is on sale, that doesn’t mean that it is cheaper than its generic counterpart.
  • Properly store your items. Eat foods that cannot be stored in the fridge or freezer first, such as some fruits and vegetables and promptly freeze your meats if you’re not going to cook them any time soon.

If you follow these tips, your next trip to the grocery store won’t seem to be a hassle.  For more information on budgeting and healthy eating, please visit MSU Extension or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678- 3464).

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