How many times have you come home from the store and realized that you purchased items that weren’t on your list? If you’re like me, many times. According to Mediascope, Inc., 40% of consumer spending is impulse buying. Imagine 40% over your budget,  40% more items in your stockpile, and 40% more spending without coupons. Avoid marketing strategies, like attractive product displays, to keep from overspending. The goal of successful marketing for any business is to increase sales, so don’t let businesses take advantage of you!

Recently, I went to Harris Teeter because they had a special on milk and juice. My daughter came along, and since I had my coupon binder, I told her to follow me. When we entered the store, I went straight for the milk and then on to the juice aisle. She laughed and told me two things that have stuck in my mind. My daughter said, “You come into the store to get only what is on your list. I would’ve first gone through the produce aisle when I entered the store to browse.” The produce aisle is directly in front of the entrance, causing people to impulse buy all the time! It made me feel good that my daughter noticed the things I did differently, which positively affects my bottom line costs!

According to the article on Mediascope:

  • 90% of shoppers impulse spend
  • 60% of women shoppers impulse buy
  • Sale price is a leading indicator for impulse shopping
  • Younger consumers with higher incomes are impulse shoppers
  • Women are more likely to shop for bargains than men.
  • Men have a higher percentage of impulse shopping

1. Give yourself an allotted amount of time to browse

Most women I know like to browse. It’s a lot of fun except when you’re on a budget with a list! Browsing leads to buying, and you need to be aware of your personal shopping habits in order to reduce unnecessary or unplanned purchases. I’m not a browser in the canned food aisle, but give me 20 minutes to waste and you’ll find me either in the frozen food section or skin care aisle. I have to make myself aware of the time otherwise I’ll waste a lot just browsing and impulse buying.

2. Steer clear of new item displays

These are solely meant to grab your attention. In my local Harris Teeter, I’ve found that the end caps at the front of the store feature the sale items. The opposite end caps in the back of the store showcase new or more expensive items, such as a new wine. For example, the sodas featured on sale are in the front while the more expensive sodas are in the back. In my store, dairy products like milk, eggs and orange juice are in the back of the store. What do I see when I turn around from grabbing the milk? A new item for me to try!

3. Keep away from buy-2-get-3-free or 10 for $10 deals

These are advertising strategies meant to encourage you to purchase all of a selected item. If you know that mustard is routinely $.99 at Walmart and your grocery store has a 10 for 10 mustard sale, don’t buy 10 bottles of mustard. This is a great marketing gimmick meant to increase the bottom line profit of the store. Buy 3 bottles at Walmart when you need them! You’ll avoid overstocking on items which may expire, and overspending at the same time.

4. Avoid products near the checkout

Avoid displays of fresh baked items at the checkout. Why do you think these items are put there? Because you may need a dessert for tonight or you’re hungry from shopping. If you find them on your list after you’ve reviewed everything you planned on purchasing, that’s one thing. But if you haven’t purchased this item by the time you’ve reached the checkout, it’s not something you need. The store wants you to look at the appetizing items and grab them. And a lot of us do!

 5. Skip aisles with items not on your list

If I don’t have ketchup or mustard on my list, I don’t need to walk down the condiments aisle. If I consciously make this decision, I decrease my risk for impulse shopping. I love the frozen food section, but my local store routinely has chips and snacks on display in the center of it. Impulse buy! Be aware of the association of food purchases and how you’re influenced by them.

This is guest post by Tammy from North Carolina. 

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