How To Save Money This Christmas On Supermarket Grocery Shopping and Reduce Food Wastage
Reduce food wastage and save money
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Reduce Waste and Save on Shopping bill
Yes, folks, it's that time of the year again, the bank balance is bracing itself for the bashing of the year. But many of us will be looking for ways to save money and still have a jolly, merry Christmas.
As we plan our Christmas shopping, the last thing we want to be thinking about is budgeting, but although the economy is recovering, it is still sluggish and may take some time before we see an improvement in real terms. Never-the-less; it is Christmas and a time for celebration.
Before we collect our environmentally friendly shopping bags to brave the long queues at the grocery store, there are some things we should reflect on.
According to Wrap, the government anti-waste agency, set up in 2000 to help with recycling in the UK, the average British household wastes the equivalent of six meals every week, a massive 4.2 million tonnes of edible food. We are wasting £12.5 billion a year, around £60 a month per average household.
Research shows, 40% of food in the US goes uneaten. Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion per year on uneaten food which ends up rotting in landfill sites, while 13.1% of the world's population, 925 million people goes hungry. We are throwing money down the drain.
We can all do something to help reduce the waste, and by doing so, save money. How do we do it? Simply by changing the way we shop.
The average wage still lags behind the cost of living; most people are actively searching for ways to save money and spend less, managing our grocery shopping is a good place to start. But before we head out to the supermarkets, there are just a few things we should be aware of to keep as much of our hard earned cash as possible firmly in our pockets.
Let's face it; supermarkets are there for one thing, and one thing only, they are in the business of making money. They must find ways to separate us from our cash, and they do this very effectively by using certain strategies.
Those of us of a certain age can still remember a time before the megastores moved into every neighbourhood; they made shopping convenient for us, and pretty soon we couldn't figure out how we ever managed without them.
Little by little, all the quaint little shops were forced to close down. The butcher, the baker, the fishmongers, the man who sold fruits and vegetables down the road, have all gone. Some things we gained, some we lost, but we cannot dispute the fact that supermarkets help us to simplify our lives, love them or hate them, they are here to stay.
However; what we did not bargain for, was that they would declare psychological warfare on our pockets. They make us spend far more money than we need or intended to part with, thereby, causing us to waste food by the tonnes while some of the world's population continue to go hungry. So how do they do that? I hear you ask. The answer is simple; they study us like bugs under a petri dish.
Supermarket Psychology Research used to make us spend more money
Supermarkets do a tremendous amount of research and psychological study to know everything they can about the taste, habits and needs of their customers, in short, they know what makes us tick, what makes us spend. They invest lots of time and money finding ways to get us to buy products we do not necessarily need or want.
Based on the result of psychology study, supermarkets can and do influence shoppers behaviour. Consumers are exploited even when they believe they are in total control; we are made to spend more money as we're expertly steered through stores by bribes and trickery
According to the statistics, an average family will spend between 20% to 25% of its income on grocery shopping. No doubt about it, supermarkets gets us, but do we get them?
They study our habits, they know what we buy on a regular basis, the healthy and the not so healthy stuff we place in our oversized carts and trolleys. They then use the information to target us with vouchers and various offers on the foods we often buy, this encourages us to buy more because we believe we are getting a bargain.
Plans for the future includes TV ads tailored for each shopper, based on what they buy from the supermarket, yes; big brother is in our shopping trolley. Whether you are part of a loyalty scheme, use cash or pay by card, supermarkets make it their business to know their customer's every move.
Shoppers beware, long before you enter the store, you are being manipulated.They use colours to condition us; we see red and yellow, we think discount!!.. They draw us in with sight and smell; fresh fruits are sprayed with water mist to give the illusion of freshness. Flowers and plants welcome us at the entrance of the grocery store.
We are led by the nose as tempting whiffs of warm bread drifts towards us. If you're already feeling the slightest bit peckish, you'll be shopping as if to feed the multitude, but sadly most of the excess food will be binned, creating more wasted food and money.
Never shop on an empty stomach.
The baked goods are strategically positioned to assault the salivary glands and force impulse buying. Essentials like milk, cheese and eggs are placed where customers must wander through the store to find them. Even our natural preference to favour the right side are manipulated.
Some supermarkets are designed to make us move from right to left; the most expensive items are seductively places on the right-hand aisles where we are more inclined to make a purchase, once again we are spending our money on things we did not know we needed.
Subliminal suggestions are often used by supermarkets to make shoppers spend more money than they'd planned. Grocery stores often pair food stuff; don't forget the crackers to go with that Stilton....I see you fancy some of our apple pie. How about some cream to go with that? Before you know it, your oversize shopping trolley is full of stuff you did not know you wanted.
And if you should miss something, it will be conveniently waiting for you at the end of each aisle. In a hurry, we're much more likely to go for what appears to be a bargain, but beware; supermarkets do not place the cheaper options at the end of the aisles.
White background for meat and fish, red painted walls to make us stay longer in the stores, wooden shelves, beautiful lighting are all visual cues used by supermarkets to give the impression of quality to entice us to spend more money.
They use music to influence us, research from Leicester University found that slow music makes us linger longer, classical music makes us spend more and French music in the wine aisles help to sell more French wines while German folk music resulted in massive increase in the sale of German wines.
Expensive items are placed at eye level (1.6m from the ground) products that are aimed at children are placed at their eye level while the cheapest buys are hidden at the bottom of the shelves where we are less likely to look for them. The higher and lower shelves are where you'll find the best deals and the store's own brands
Have you ever wondered why everyday items such as socks and deodorants are often placed next to the till? These are 'impulse buys', things we think we will need, even though we did not plan to buy them. We're tempted at the till with an array of special offers, magazines to browse while we wait, yummy treats like sweets, gums and chocolates, out friendly supermarket take full advantage of 'pester power' from bored, tired and peckish children.
Where is your water bottled?
Use A Water Filter
Buy only what you need
Supermarket Tricks and Scams to watch out for
Supermarket Tricks and Scams
Supermarkets monitor consumer's buying behaviour, that's a fact of life in the 21st century, but then there are the damn right cons.
According to an article in the Mail August 2012, Tesco and Asda were found to be selling bottled tap water to millions of unsuspecting customers. What appears to be good value was actually tap water marked up 2,500 per cent.
Beware of supermarket scams dressed up as special offers. The consumer magazine, Which, found that some supermarkets more than doubled the price of certain items just before placing them as multi-buy offers. Which also discovered that many items were sold as 'on offer' at a reduced price for longer than they have been sold at the real price, tricking us into thinking we are getting a good deal and buying more than we would usually purchase, believing the offer will run out soon.
Save money on your grocery shopping
So now we know some of the tricks and scams our supermarkets uses to get us to spend more money in their stores, what can we do about it?
- Budgeting wisely allows us to spend only what we can afford to pay when we budget we shop within our means.
Plan your shopping.
Where possible, get your fresh produce from a farmers market.
Check your stock, know what you already have in the cupboard before shopping.
Make a healthy food shopping list.
Use a water filter and don't get conned by supermarket tricks.
- Avoid the large carts and trolleys unless you really need one.
Prevent impulse buying by leaving the credit card at home and use cash instead. Research shows, we find it harder to part with cash than we do with the numbers on our credit card statement. When we allow ourselves a limited amount of money to spend on grocery shopping, we are less likely to be tempted.
Read the labels, know what you're buying.
Use headset, listen to your own music, this can help to remove yourself from sensory stimuli, set your own pace.
Where possible leave the children at home, this will reduce distraction buying, so you don't miss the best values.
Do not be seduced by special offers you are not likely to make use of, and watch out for multibuy scams.
- Compare prices.
- Check special deals carefully to see if they are cost-effective before buying.
- Try supermarket's brand, do a taste test see if you can tell the difference. Brand names are often more expensive, and on many items, there is little or no difference.
- Save money online grocery shopping; buy just what you need when you order your grocery online. There are fewer distractions, temptation and impulse buying. Some supermarkets like Waitrose offers free delivery when you spend a minimum of £50 per shop. Look at stores delivery saver schemes. There are tips to cover the delivery fees such as, signing up for email, and joining loyalty schemes. Let the store entice you with their discount codes; this may be sufficient to cover the delivery fee.
- Do not pay your grocery bill in instalments; this does not make your shopping any cheaper, it simply takes longer to pay off. Be on your guard at the till; don't be tempted unless there is something you genuinely need.
- Complain, if you are less than satisfied with your shopping or delivery. Most customer service managers will want you to keep using their services and may be prepared to replace damaged products or items that are too close to the sell by date; they may refund your money or give you a credit note towards your next purchase.
- Beware of sale-like signs for sale products; the reduction can be minimal while cheaper equivalents are hidden. In February 2012, Which checked the prices of 700,000 items on sale at five of the UK's biggest supermarkets, they found that some special offers were actually more expensive than items on sale.
- Compare the cost of your shopping trolley at the online supermarket with sites like MySupermarket
- Know the difference between sell by date, display until date and best before date. Don't waste food that is perfectly edible.
- Check your refrigerator temperature, the colder the temperature, the slower the bacterial growth. The temperature should be cold enough to reduce germ growth without freezing. The ideal fridge temperature should be around 1 to 5 degrees Centigrade, But cold temperature will not stop the growth completely. The Ideal freezer temperature is -18 degree Centigrade.
Why make a grocery shopping List?
Making a grocery shopping list can save time and money, with a list, we can be more organised and disciplined; we buy just what is on the list, we get in and out, not allowing ourselves to be sidetracked into spending more money than we intended.
A healthy grocery shopping list helps us think and evaluate the type of foods we buy, taking into consideration all the health implications.
Shopping is proven to be less stressful when we use a shopping list. When we use a list, we reduce waste because we are purchasing only the items we actually need.
The good news is that in the current economic climate more of us are responding by embracing a sense of frugality, we are careful with our household spending, more of us are returning to the old fashion grocery list.
Shop smart and have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.
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