Planning a Shopping Trip

Stores are built to make money. Retailers may pride themselves on excellent customer service and entice us with special offers, but the bottom line is they need to get us into the store so we will spend our hard earned dollars with them. There’s nothing wrong with that concept. Enterprise makes the world go ’round.

Unfortunately retailers know too well our gotta-have-it-right-now attitude and busy lifestyles will deepen their profits. It’s up to us to change our attitude and guard ourselves from spending more than we must.  Adopting new ways to shop and changing how we provide for our families is a great start towards becoming prosperous.

Shopping on an empty stomach can not only be distracting, it can result in unplanned purchases. Have a snack before entering the grocery store. Even thrifty people have ended up with a bag of chips or cookies in their buggy at their stomach’s request. The key is to stay focused and not be rushed or stressed. This means going alone when possible.

Many people plan shopping trips while the kids are in school. Others employ the help of friends and family. My sister has shopped at the crack of dawn on Sunday mornings for years. She says the store is quiet, fully stocked and her son and husband aren’t sneaking unplanned purchases into the shopping cart.

I know too well that trying to keep up with a toddler while shopping for savings can be a distraction. It’s not always feasible to head to the store without children so if you must take them with you, explain that you are only buying what’s on the list and never give in to whining or begging. For the older ones, give them their own shopping list of items and let them help you. Shopping can be a great learning tool for school-aged children.

Grocery retailers and manufacturers spend a lot of money on research to better understand the shopper. Analysts are hired to tell how consumers make purchases, what pattern we walk through the store, where our eyes look and our hands reach. When we’re too busy to create a shopping list, have no planned budget or we’re too rushed to even notice shelf prices, the merchants win. It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little knowledge and good judgment we can save our money by understanding the retailers’ strategies.


When is your favorite time to shop? Do you have a shopping plan that saves money? Use the comments below to share your shopping strategies.

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Shari is a freelance writer and speaker specializing in the topics of starting a home business, living richly on less, and the challenges of raising children while doing both.

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