On Monday, I broke down why we’re buying all the things (catch up on Part 1 here). Today I’m sharing the strategies that help us fix that! Definitely just being aware of stores’ sneaky marketing tactics is a good start. But here’s 5 other ways to avoid buying more than you need:
- Buy groceries at the grocery store, not “all-in-one” stores like Walmart or Target. Sure, some people are really self-disciplined and don’t wander down the shoe aisle while shopping for toilet paper, but for the rest of us, avoiding the “all-in-one” stores completely whenever possible can significantly cut back on the number of random items we purchase.
- Shop alone. If possible, don’t take your children or spouse with you. You’ll either end up with extra items in your cart that you don’t need, have to deal with a meltdown in the store, or be distracted by your kids trying to climb out of the cart while you’re trying to calculate the cost per ounce of ground beef.
- Divide your grocery list by section: produce, deli, aisles, frozen, eggs & yogurt, etc. That way, you go through each section of the store only once to get what you need, and then move on. Have you ever noticed it’s tempting to get something extra when you have to go back to a different section for something on your list? (Like, oh I forgot bananas…hey, that pricey pineapple looks good…)
- Shop online. This doesn’t work for everyone (hey look, alll the things are available with one click!), but I have found it works for me for 4 reasons:
- I can see a running total in my virtual “cart.” I can’t see that with a physical cart full of items.
- I can leave items in my virtual “cart” and decide in a day or two if I really need them. I don’t have to make a split second decision at a cash register while there’s 5 people behind me in line.
- If I only need one item, I can type that item in a search bar, buy it with one click, and then get away from Amazon as fast as humanly possible.
- Remember the whole “don’t shop with kids” thing? Online shopping makes it easier to avoid unnecessary items when you don’t have anyone to watch your kids while you shop.
- Shop for groceries on a full stomach. This is advice that you’ve probably heard before, but that’s because it works. But I’d like to add shop in a good mood also. Shopping when bored, angry, tired, or lonely can affect your judgment related to what you purchase.
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