Nine Simple Ways to Avoid Supermarket Impulse Purchases

Posted on Posted in Money Saving Tips

It never fails. We go into the supermarket to buy a few things and come out with a cart loaded with groceries. The problem those impulse grabs that fill our grocery carts.

In fact, depending on the study cited, nearly 40% to 50% of our grocery purchases are impulse buys items we never intended on purchasing when we set foot in the store.

So how do we avoid these costly impulse purchases? Below I list nine simple tricks that you can use to keep more of your hard earned money.

Skip the grocery cart and go with the hand basket.

Have you noticed the growth in the size of grocery carts over the past decade? Supermarkets understand the larger the cart the more likely we are to fill it up. If your grocery trip is only for a few items simply walk right past the carts and take a small hand basket instead.

Skip the hand basket and use your arms.

Need only one or two items? Skip even the hand basket. With only two hands youre only able to pick up what you can carry. This almost ensures that youll have to walk right past those impulse temptations.

Leave your credit card in car. Instead bring just enough cash.

So you only need a bag of sugar and some butter. Simply leave the credit cards in the car and instead bring in just enough cash to cover the cost of the butter and sugar. If you notice a REALLY good deal you can always run back to the car. This also gives you more time to think about whether or not you need to take advantage of that good deal anyway.

Park your grocery cart at the end of the aisle.

One of our readers submitted this tip. If you need to buy a weeks worth of groceries avoiding a grocery cart is out of the question. But you can still lower your chances of making impulse purchases. Simply park you cart at the end of each aisle. Walk down the aisle to pick up what you need and then head back to your grocery cart. Head to the next aisle and repeat. Again, with only two hands you force yourself to pick up only what you need and can carry, thus avoiding impulse buys.

Do a grocery cart check before you check out.

Theres nothing that says once you place an item in your cart you cant remove it. Make a habit of finding a quiet corner in the grocery store where you can calmly examine your grocery cart. Does it contain items you really dont need? Perhaps you have items that can be bought cheaper at the drug store or local Target. Do you really need 10 cans of pinto beans?

Dont get fooled by a sucker sale.

Sales are one of the ways in which supermarkets trick us into making impulse purchases. Im not talking about the great deep discount sales but what I call the sucker sales. These are sales in which the regular price of an item has hardly been reduced at all.

You notice that delicious bag of cookies on the shelf with the big bright red sales sticker above it. You instinctively grab a bag even though you know you dont need cookies but hey theyre on sale. If youd look closer you would have noticed that youre only saving ten cents on a $3 bag of cookies! youve just become another victim of the sucker sale.

When you cant find an item ask for directions.

Supermarkets dont want you to become too comfortable with the store layout. This would allow you to enter the store, quickly find what you need, and walk out. Not the optimal situation for the supermarket because the more time you spend in the store the more money you spend.

This is why supermarkets periodically relocate items in their stores. In fact, store shelves actually contain retractable wheels on the bottom that make this task of relocating items all the easier.

The next time you notice that your store has moved an item you buy on a regular basis, dont waste time wandering the store looking for its new location. Just ask the nearest clerk or checkout person where it is.

Place a snack in your car ahead of time.

Common advice is not to go to the grocery store hungry as you are inevitably much more susceptible to impulse purchases.

Sounds great in theory, but in practice many of us have such hurried and hectic schedules that were not even thinking about eating something before we arrive at the supermarket.

One way to make sure that youre not hungry when shopping is to always have a snack available in your glove compartment chips, energy bar, or gum for example. I get stock up on cheap snacks at my local dollar store.

Finally, watch out for those cheap $1 Redbox video rentals.

Those frugal $1 video rentals from the Redbox kiosks located outside the supermarket entrance are a great entertainment bargain. Be careful, however, because they may also lead to more impulse spending.

When you rent a video you naturally have to return it. Its the return visit where you may be tempted to step inside the grocery store and again open yourself up to impulse shopping. In essence, the cheap videos serve as a way for the supermarket to get you back to the store within a short period of time a recipe for increased grocery spending.