We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!Have a healthy (and cheap) trip to the grocery store
By Bari Nan Cohen, Prevention
You walk into a grocery store expecting to buy only the items on your list, yet you leave with a cart full of extras you may not really need — and a considerably lighter wallet. An accident — or lapse in judgment? Actually, the store setup is likely to blame. "You want to get in and out quickly, but the folks in charge want you to linger as long as possible, spend as much as possible, and ideally spend it on the highest-profit items," explains Ali Benjamin, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters, One Meal at a Time (Storey Publishing, 2011). How, exactly, do they make you stick around and load up on items you never meant to buy? Here are eight ways to guarantee a healthier (and cheaper) grocery shopping experience every time.
Bring A C-Note — And Leave Your Credit Cards Behind
Cash is king when it comes to avoiding impulse buys. "I know that I spend way less when I use cash rather than credit," says Benjamin. And the research proves her right — Lindstrom advises shoppers to use a 100-dollar note for grocery purchases. "We find it emotionally harder to break a larger bill, so we spend less," says Lindstrom. "We don't have an emotional connection with numbers on a credit card statement."
Watch Out For "Health-Washing"
You may not read labels with as critical an eye in a store like Whole Foods as in, say, Super Target says Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg, president of Monetized Intellect Consulting, Inc, in Brooklyn, NY. "The atmosphere in Whole Foods Market makes you feel like everything in the store must be healthy," he notes. "In Target you'll look at the calorie count on the same package of granola you buy without thinking in a 'healthy' grocery store."
Learn three more sneaky tricks when you read more.
Listen To The Piped-In Music
Typically, the store manager is piping in music to keep you on her schedule. "Slow hours mean slow music—they want you to linger and buy; fast music at the busy hour means they want moving, moving, buying," says Ginzberg. "And it's not unusual to hear, say, Spanish music if salsa is on sale." Tote your own tunes to set your pace, but opt for pop or house music—really! "If you're using a music player and headset, it removes you from sensory stimuli," says Linstrom, "and if you play music you don't like at a fast beat, it will shorten your trip — and make you shop in a more rational way."
Read Every Price Tag
Many markets have lower prices on staple items like milk, eggs, and toilet tissue so that you come away with the impression that the whole store is cheaper. But they mark up other items by 10 percent because you've already decided you're getting a better value in that store.
Look Up, Down, And All Around
Impulse items are stocked at eye level on the shelves—so if you're hunting for healthy choices, or even a lesser-known organic or all-natural brand (that doesn't have the bucks to buy primo placement), avert your eyes from their natural sightline, says Ginzberg. "A store like Walmart marks down items on the end cap to draw you down the aisle too," he notes. "Once you are there, they don't have any reason to give you the best price."