At the supermarket: We all make these 10 mistakes while shopping

You probably know the scene: you're leaving the supermarket looking at your receipt and you realize, once again, that you've gone over your budget. You bought too much stuff that you didn't really need. It's hard to avoid this and other common mistakes at the grocery store. But these tips will help you pay closer attention: 


1. New merchandise

It's useful to know when your supermarket gets deliveries of new goods. That way you'll get fresher groceries and have more choice.


2. Save food from being thrown out

That thing about knowing when deliveries happen: it's not just to scavenge for the freshest food. Prior to the arrival of new products, the old stuff is usually about to expire and gets put on sale before it has to be tossed. This offers a great opportunity to buy less expensive food before the expiration date.

And besides, even for awhile after that date most food is still perfectly good.

Oh look. Cupcakes are on sale.

3. Prepackaged veggies

Don't buy prepackaged fruits or vegetables where water has started to condense on the inside of the plastic wrapping. That's a sign that the produce isn't fresh anymore. You're better off picking out loose veggies. 


4. Don't choose based on appearances alone

Appearances can be very deceiving with fruits and veggies, since they can be cultivated to look appealing without having any flavor. It's often better to smell fresh food for an accurate idea of whether it's flavorful and fresh or not. 


5. Shopping list

The supermarket is carefully designed to tempt you off course. They want you to buy more than you need, which is why it's always worth it to write out a grocery list and stick to it. 

shopping list

6. Look down 

A lot of supermarket temptations are placed at eye level, of course. That's where expensive items usually get located, whereas less pricey goods are stored on lower shelves. So even if it's not comfortable, it's worth it to check what's down there. 

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7. Home brand

Most grocery stores nowadays offer their own in-house brand for less than name brands. The quality is usually similar: sometimes it's even the same product, just with a different label. And you can save up to 70% on house brands, so it's worth trying them out. 

Fabric softener/conditioner selection at Kaiser's in Berlin, Germany

8. Prepackaged meat

Similar to vegetables, meat that's already been cut and packaged — and sometimes also marinated or preserved — is usually not as fresh. If you have the opportunity to buy freshly cut pieces of meat and marinate them yourself, you'll enjoy the better quality and flavor!


9. Shop full

Don't go grocery shopping on an empty stomach! If you're hungry, you'll buy more than you need, especially sweets and other carbs. It's worth it to eat even a little snack beforehand so you can think straighter in the store, and won't be reacting to panicky "feed me" messages from your body. 


10. Plastic bags

A lot of places aren't giving shopping bags out for free anymore. The initiative started out as a way to protect the environment, since non-biodegradable plastic bags make up a scary proportion of the trash we humans produce, and they're terrible for wild animals. But since they're usually also made from petroleum derivatives, not using them is a good little step towards stopping climate change.

If you shop at a store that charges extra for plastic bags nowadays, it's smart to keep a couple of shopping bags — plastic or re-usable cloth bags — around so you have them when you need them!


These suggestions aren't all new but we all need to hear the useful reminders again and again. With a shopping list, a little snack in your tummy, and a re-useable shopping bag in hand, your next trip to the grocery store will go so much better than the last one!




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