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25 Supermarket Tips for You to Check Out!

25 Supermarket Tips for You to Check Out!

Have you ever found yourself walking out a supermarket with a lot of purchases and a larger bill then you originally intended? Ever wonder why sometimes the foods you have purchased do not taste fresh?

Check out the below tips before you go to the supermarket next time!

1. Filling Your Shopping Cart? No No NO!

shopping cart 2

    Did your eyes deceive you, or did your shopping cart just look bigger? The carts are actually getting bigger so that it can trick your mind to purchase just a little more to fill it up. Be mindful not to fill up your shopping cart. Try to use a basket or just carry what you need to purchase – straight to the cash register!

    2. Gotta Get A Cake? Order ahead!

    birthday cake

      Ever need to purchase a cake in a hurry? Try not to purchase on the day you need it, as the only cakes available are older and lack texture and taste. If you order ahead a few days earlier (or even on the phone), you can request them to make a fresh cake for the day you pick up.

      If you must purchase in a hurry, look at the dates of all the cakes and select the furthest date out from the ‘it is good until’. I promise you, the date with the furthest date out will be the freshest one there.

      3. Like to Hang Out at the Supermarket? Don’t Stay Too Long!

      clock

        Some people enjoy going to the supermarket and looking around at the variety of products available. However, they are available there for one reason – for YOU to purchase! As you stay longer at the store, you are bound to see something you want to try or something that provokes a past memory or desire, prompting you to make the purchase. You might say, ‘it’s on sale so why not purchase now’? Or think, ‘I sure would like to have some of those chips, or cookies, or drink again’. All of these excuses get you to purchase more as you stay longer at the supermarket.

        4. If It Is In the Circular Ad, It Must Be On Sale. – WRONG!

        sale tag

          The items in the circular ads are all nice and bright, nicely arranged, and made to capture your attention. Although many would think all the items on the circulars are on sale, that is incorrect. Many items that are advertised are at its usual full price, just placed in the circular to get your attention.

          5. Buying Fresh Bread? Take Off the Paper Bag!

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          bread

            Fresh bread looks fancier in a paper bag, but unfortunately it goes stale faster. If it goes stale faster, guess who will be making another round to the supermarket? You! What can be done? Slice it up and put it in a container or use a plastic bag to wrap it.

            6. Don’t Mind the Expiry Date on Food Items? Ask for A Discount!

            discount

              Have you ever seen products in the meat or bakery expiring the next 1 or 2 days and back away from purchasing? If you are going to eat it right away or don’t mind consuming something about to expire, ask for a discount. This will help the supermarket get rid of the item, and you get to save some money in the process! If the supermarket refuses, you lose nothing!

              7. Shop on Weekdays? Potential to Shop Less!

              weekday

                When the store is more crowded, some people may tend to psychologically shop more to ‘go along with the crowd’. It is similar to seeing a lot of people crowding around something, and you instinctively follow to see what is attracting so many people’s attention. Avoid shopping on weekends like the plague!

                8. Making a List to Go By? Don’t Stray Away From the List!

                check list

                  Want to be more practical? Make a list of items you need to purchase and stick to the list. Checking the list off as you go is helpful. If you would like to have a little fun, set a small challenge to finish your shopping in a certain amount of time.

                  9. ‘My, Those are Pretty Flowers and Pretty Cookies! Oh Yeah, It’s THAT Holiday!’ Stay Focused!

                  flowers

                    The floral and bakery sections are placed near the front entrance to attract shopper’s attention to purchase something. Perhaps it is to remind you that it is Valentine’s Day or some other commercial-driven holiday of the 365 days in our calendar year. Stay focused on what you need to get unless you really have the intention to get something from those sections.

                    10. It’s Sure Is A Long Way to Get Those Eggs and Milk! Get Your Priorities Straight!

                    eggs

                      The dairy and egg sections are generally in the back or sides of the supermarket. These essentials force you to walk back to these sections, hoping you will pass other aisles that may have products that just may also capture your attention to buy.

                      As these products are also refrigerated, it is also not likely you will shop around long after getting them. If these are the only things you need, make sure you get these items first.

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                      11. My, Those Look Like Fresh Fish On Ice! Check Out the Frozen Section for the Same Fish.

                      fish

                        Most fish are cleaned and frozen aboard the catching vessel. The fish in the supermarket may simply just be thawed, sliced, and placed for you to think it’s fresh fish when it’s the same as the fish fillets in the frozen aisle. Check the frozen aisles for the same tasting fish.

                        12. Want to Try Some Free Samples While Hungry? Go Shopping When You Are Full!

                        samples

                          Free samples don’t hurt, right? Anyway, it’s offered to you for free and anything free is good, right? Well, samples are there to get you to purchase the actual product. If you taste something you really like, you are more tempted to purchase it. But it is better to not taste, then taste and lose a few bucks! How can you help make sure that happens? Make sure you are full before visiting the supermarket. You are less likely to taste (and purchase) any foods when you are not hungry.

                          13. Got Kids? It’s Hard to Say No to Them, Right?

                          shelves

                            Generally products that target kids are placed on lower shelves so that it catches the attention of your kids. Once your kids begs you to buy, it’s difficult to look into their big, soft eyes and deny their request. If possible, try to shop when your kids are busy at school.

                            More expensive brand names are also more at eye level or easier to notice than cheaper, no-brand products. Be sure to look around before finalizing on something that is just easier to get.

                            14. Regularly Purchasing Something? Keep Your Receipts.

                            receipt

                              If you are regularly purchasing something and consuming it regularly, it may help you save some money. You can keep track of the prices of items you purchased before at the same place or other places. You can compare whether a product is on sale or whether one store sells it cheaper than others.

                              15. End of the Aisles Are Bargains? Not Necessarily!

                              sale

                                The products placed on the end of the aisles may not necessarily be bargains. They are certainly there to capture your attention, but the prices may not always be a bargain.Try to compare prices before you shop in order to see whether it is indeed a bargain deal.

                                16. Waiting in Line to Check Out? Try Using the Time to Think ‘Do I Really Need That Item‘?

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                                shopping cart 1

                                  The longer you stand in line, the possibility of you dropping products off is higher. As you wait in line, don’t think about what else you need to buy, think about what you don’t really need.

                                  The sales associate will likely be peeved at you for dropping things off on nearby shelves at the checkout sections making it look messy and unorganized and of course messing the inventory up. Everyone is guilty in at least doing this once in their lives. Perhaps it is better if we decide not to purchase something to give it back to the cashier so at least they are aware that they have inventory that’s not in the correct location.

                                  17. Name Brands or Generic? Go the Generic Route!

                                  klauandlauf-22186-m

                                    Like medicine, go for the generic brands for the food products as well. They taste the same as the brand names and cost much cheaper! It does not hurt to at least try once to see whether generic is acceptable or not as per your standards.

                                    18. The Candy is Calling Out For You! So is the Gum! Impulse Buy? Don’t Fall For It!

                                    gummies

                                      Bored and waiting in line, maybe some chocolate, candy, gummy bears, or a new type of gum is drawing your attention? All of these are impulse buys designed to torment you as you wait in line to purchase the things you actually need. Use the self-check out line instead!

                                      19. Can Coupons Save You Money? Not Necessarily.

                                      sale-tag-1072725-m

                                        Most coupons are only valid if you purchase more volume. How annoying are the coupons that say buy three boxes and get 50 cents off of the whole purchase? Now, is it really worth it? Other coupons are made to entice you to purchase a product. Some consumers would say coupons are all a waste of time.

                                        20. Need Produce? Buy Fruits and Vegetables When They’re In Season.

                                        produce 1

                                          Fresh fruits and vegetables are cheaper when in season due to bulk availability. Do some research to see when certain fruits and vegetables are in season and try purchasing them during those times (or eat dishes related to specific veggie or fruits). You may be able to save some money in the process.

                                          21. It’s ‘Natural’ So It Must Be Organic? Do Not Assume It’s Organic!

                                          organic

                                            Products with labels that say ‘natural’ may not be entirely organic. It is best to check the ingredients list before assuming it is organic. In addition, even if you go to the organic brand store, not everything inside is organic. If it does not say organic and says conventionally grown, then it is not organic. Research is key. Do not go in and purchase blindly assuming you are purchasing fully organic products.

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                                            22. Those Prepared Foods Look So Good. Do They Use Fresh Ingredients?

                                            pizza

                                              Sometimes supermarkets like to reuse produce that doesn’t sell in time to cook or make prepared foods for customers. Although the dishes look tasty, it may not as fresh as you think when you do eat it. Some pizzas are from the same frozen pizzas in the frozen aisle!

                                              23. The Cheese and Deli Section Seems More Unique and Fresh. Is it really?

                                              cheese

                                                Try checking out the pre-packaged section to see whether they have the same type of cheese available. It is likely more cheaper than the cheese you ask to be sliced. Pre-packaged foods generally taste the same as the products in the cheese section. Cheese from the cheese section may also be more exposed and likely to have multiple people touching it.

                                                24. Worried About What’s In Your Ground Meat? Ask the Butcher to Grind A Fresh Piece.

                                                OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

                                                  If you buy a fresh piece of roast and ask the butcher to cut it up for you, then you don’t have to worry about what’s in your meat. Contamination is also lower as it is meat from one cow. (In my personal opinion, it is best not to eat red meat at all!)

                                                  25. Who Cleans the Produce After Someone Touches It? How About Shopping Carts? The Answer is You!

                                                  cleaning

                                                    In a supermarket, lots of people likely have touched your fruits and vegetables before you even got your hands on them. It’s a public place with lots of people passing through, which means lots of germs pass through as well. Some products get dropped on the floor, kicked around, and then put back up on the shelves for sale. Be sure to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before you consume them.

                                                    Having started this list with a shopping cart tip, lets end it with another shopping cart tip. The shopping carts are never cleaned by anyone. It may look decent and clean, but it’s been handled by lots of people and touched by lots of babies, kids, and possibly sick adults. If sanitizing wipes are available, at least clean the handles.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Stokpic.com via stokpic.com

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                                                    Last Updated on September 2, 2020

                                                    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                                    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                                    Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                                                    In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

                                                    4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

                                                    Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

                                                    1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                                                    Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                                                    It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

                                                    Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

                                                    2. Keep Goals Realistic

                                                    It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

                                                    It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                                                    3. Account for Inflation

                                                    Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

                                                    Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

                                                    For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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                                                    4. Short Term Vs Long Term

                                                    Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

                                                    As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                                                    By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                                                    How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                                                    Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

                                                    • Ensuring healthy savings
                                                    • Making smart investments

                                                    You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

                                                    Ensuring Healthy Savings

                                                    Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                                                    This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                                                    1. Track Expenses

                                                    The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

                                                    Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

                                                    If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

                                                    2. Pay Yourself First

                                                    Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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                                                    Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

                                                    The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

                                                    Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

                                                    3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

                                                    Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

                                                    Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

                                                    At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                                                    Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                                                    You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                                                    4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                                                    In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                                                    Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                                                    • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
                                                    • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
                                                    • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                                                    The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                                                    5. Talk About It

                                                    Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

                                                    Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                                                    6. Maintain a Journal

                                                    For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                                                    If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                                                    When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

                                                    Making Smart Investments

                                                    Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

                                                    1. Consult a Financial Advisor

                                                    Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

                                                    Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                                                    2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                                                    Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

                                                    Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

                                                    As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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                                                    3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                                                    Einstein once remarked about compounding:

                                                    “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

                                                    Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                                                      Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                                                      Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                                                      4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                                                      All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                                                      If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                                                      Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                                                      The Bottom Line

                                                      Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                                                      and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                                                      More Tips on Financial Goals

                                                      Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

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