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Four Spendy Spots in the Supermarket

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Four Spendy Spots in the Supermarket

By Vicki Santillano, DivineCaroline

I walked into the grocery store last night with the intention of grabbing a few things for dinner. Forty-five minutes later, I walked out with a lighter wallet, two full bags of groceries, and only the vaguest idea of what was in them. Why did my in-and-out shopping trip turn into an almost hour-long session of meandering through aisles? How did a couple of ingredients for dinner multiply into boxes of cereal, canned goods, and shaving gel? And more important, why does this happen to almost everyone I know?

Here’s a refreshing fact: we’re not entirely to blame for our lack of impulse control. Studies have shown that we make anywhere from 20 to 75 percent of buying decisions once we’ve already started shopping. That’s because there are forces at work in grocery stores compelling us to reach for things we didn’t even know we wanted. In fact, certain sections of the supermarket are specifically designed for that very purpose. We tend to think of grocery stores as humble purveyors of food, but like any retail business, their main purpose is to make a profit off your money — and if you wander by any of these areas of the market, chances are, you’ll help them succeed.

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DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

71 comments

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10:46PM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

I agree with Jan C. Bring a list when you shop (and stick to it!) and never shop hungry! And you can't blame a business for wanting to make money...that's just what they do.

1:56PM PDT on May 29, 2010

My mother and home ec teachers may not have had the data, but they taught me the same concepts several decades ago! Two things that will prevent over spending and leaving only with the things you really need or want, are to a) bring a list and b) never shop hungry.

You can't blame a business for wanting to make money. This article makes it sound like the grocery store is doing something borderline unethical. Silly!

7:58AM PDT on Apr 23, 2010

Yes,this is true

7:02PM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

Interesting - thank you for posting this!

1:48PM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

Thanks for this read! I'm always looking for new ways to keep my grocery budget at a minimum. My newest dilemma is whether to start shopping at stores like Wal-Mart that now offer local and organic produce.

http://blog.greensherpa.com/index.php/personal-finance/produce-wars-wal-mart-or-whole-foods/

What do you think of this topic?

12:42PM PDT on Mar 30, 2010

excellent. thnx.

11:34AM PDT on Mar 30, 2010

I've been a price comparison shopper and label (indredient/content) reader for a long time. And I learned a long time ago that coupons don't necessarily save you money. Often the products they are for are a lot more expensive. I also take a VERY ORGANIZED list (on a clipboard) with me to the store every time. I still purchase items that aren't on my list (we all get weak now and then), sometimes it's because I realize as I pass an item that I left it off my list, but I probably buy on impulse less than most people. I'm frugal, but also very choosy. In fact I will spend more for quality organic food and cage free, hormone free eggs and meats. Just like other decisions in your life it's about being informed, paying attention and putting your dollars where your values are.

5:14AM PDT on Mar 26, 2010

I have solved this problem by shopping online. Never more did I realise it than when I went to the supermarket yesterday, for a change of scenery, and came away having spent double the cash I normally spend shopping online. Pavlov anyone? lol!

2:38AM PDT on Mar 25, 2010

sorry, i don´t have this problem. i go to a shop and know what i want. nearly never i buy things i didn´t plan to buy. it´s not difficult.

1:57PM PDT on Mar 24, 2010

This is something I've been noticing for a long time now, especially when it comes to soft drinks. You'll almost always find Coca Cola and Pepsi in prime positions, and the cheap house brands hidden away on the top or bottom sections in the middle.... Since I'm always watching the price stickers for deals, placement usually doesn't influence me....

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