Before we get into ways of utilizing coupons to save money, it helps to understand the way that stores sell the products and entice you to spend more than you really want. By taking the time to understand the different ways grocery stores encourage you to spend money, you can combat their strategies and spend money only on the merchandise you really need.

Most people view a grocery store as simply a place to purchase food and other household necessities. In reality, grocery stores are built to get you to buy more than you really need. It’s essential that you recognize their sales tactics so that when you walk into a grocery store, you walk out with what your need instead of what the grocery store wants to sell you.

Here are a number of ways that grocery stores manipulate you into spending more than you had planned as well as some simple steps you can take to counter them:

Smell: One of the first senses you’ll use upon entering a grocery store is your sense of smell. Most grocery stores will have the mouth-watering smell of freshly baked goods hit you the minute you walk into the store. The reason is simple. The enticing smell of freshly baked goods will make you hungry. If you feel hungry while you shop, you’re likely to spend a lot more money than if you are shopping when you aren’t hungry.

The best way to counter this tactic is to go grocery shopping only when you’re full. If you can’t shop after eating a meal, drink a couple of glasses of water before leaving to make you feel full. Shopping while you’re full will make it much easier to resist all those fantastic smelling baked items.

Overall Store Layout: Have you noticed that when you want to buy a few staple products, you have to walk to every corner of the grocery store to get them? Grocery stores are not laid out for the convenience of their customers. They are carefully planned to keep you in the store as long as possible. Grocery stores know that the longer that they can keep you in the store, the more money you are likely to spend. By making you walk to every corner of the store, it’s more likely that you’ll make impulse purchases.

Although you’ll have to travel all over the store to get the products you want, you can reduce impulse purchases to zero by making a shopping list and sticking to it. Staying organized and making a single trip to the grocery store each week instead of several smaller trips will also greatly reduce the time you spend in the store and the chances that you’ll purchase items you don’t really need.

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