With just a few tricks, you can save money when shopping in the supermarket. When is the perfect timing for going to the store and why does the mood play a decisive role when shopping?
Perhaps you have already noticed that many things have become significantly more expensive compared to last year due to inflation. Foodstuffs such as coffee, lettuce or tomatoes were particularly hard hit – a good time to train yourself to save money in the supermarket. We therefore tell you the five best life hacks on how to spend less money with minimal effort.
Use the bar trick
As a first step, think carefully about how much budget you have available for your purchases each month. On average, this is between $170 and $200 for one person. Once you have figured out how much you need, there is an important step: take exactly that amount with you – in the largest possible bills. This is based on the theory of mental accounting.
It says that we mentally assign all of our expenses to different categories, such as holidays, concerts, clothing, etc. In addition, in contrast to card payments, we actively see how our money is gradually being reduced and thus perceive the pain of loss much more clearly.
Get the perfect timing to save money at the grocery store
Have you heard of the latte factor? A latte macchiato here, a small snack there in between – these many small amounts gradually add up. To avoid the latte factor, good timing goes a long way. Anyone who makes a bulk purchase once a week has a better overview of their budget and pays less for unnecessary small items.
It is therefore worth planning a fixed day for your errands – and at the right time at that. Shortly before closing time, many supermarkets have to get rid of perishable goods such as fruit, vegetables or baked goods and offer them at a much lower price. Another tip: if you are in the store and are inclined to reach for another product on impulse, then take it with you for ten minutes. After thinking about it, you might decide that you don’t actually need it. For larger purchases, the rule of thumb is a waiting period of 30 days.
Know the tricks of the supermarkets
Haven’t you ever wondered why so many products seem so illogically placed? In this way, the shops guide their customers through as many aisles as possible in order to entice them to consume more. So it’s best to write a list in order of the departments you walk through. The cheapest goods can be found in the bottom compartments in the middle – i.e. exactly in the area that you don’t see first. House brands are often offered there, which in many cases are at least as good as their more expensive counterparts.
In addition, you will often find the cheaper products on the left-hand side. The majority of supermarkets are designed for right-handed people, allowing them to access the more expensive items more quickly – so most stores also direct customers counter-clockwise through the store. Another trick are large shopping trolleys: They are made to appear emptier and to tempt customers to take more with them. It is therefore worthwhile to only shop with the smaller basket instead. This is how you can save money in the supermarket.
Be in a good mood and full
Have you ever been to the supermarket with a growling stomach and ended up buying a lot more than you actually wanted? A few years ago, researchers found that hunger distorts our perceptions. If we’re not full, portions feel much smaller and we become more receptive to all food-related stimuli – especially those that promise high calorific values. Therefore, in such situations, we increasingly turn to junk food and other unhealthy calorie monsters.
A full stomach when shopping is therefore not only good for your wallet, but also for your health. Not only does hunger make us consume more – a bad mood is also the enemy of every saver. Anyone who is frustrated or disappointed hunts for a supposed endorphin rush in the supermarket and tends to make impulse purchases. Unfortunately, the feeling of happiness usually does not come about in the end, so you should rather avoid doing business in this state.
Don’t fall for price tricks
With psychological pricing, many shops try to fool us into thinking they are bargains. An example is the anchor effect: in order to decide whether something is favorable, we need a reference point – an “anchor”. For this reason, it is supplied to us right away, for example in the form of an older crossed-out price. Often the promotional goods are not cheaper than the rest of the selection, so you should also compare the range of such offers, if possible by the kilo price.
When there are two relatively equal products next to each other, we tend to go for the cheaper one. Due to the anchor effect, many retailers also add a slightly more expensive one, so that in the end we choose the middle of the three. The dealers also trick with the famous threshold prices like $14.99, because in the end the first number sticks in our minds: Therefore: It is best to round up all prices and do the math when shopping, so you automatically have more of your budget.
Save money in the supermarket
If you take a few of these tips to heart, you can certainly save a few dollars in the supermarket. The shopping experience should still be a little fun, so it’s best to take it easy! Try incorporating a few of these tips into your shopping routine as you go. Then, over time, it becomes a habit.