Grocery stores can be dangerous places if you aren’t careful with your spending. As a consumer, you may walk into a store with the intention of just purchasing one or two items, but within the first fifteen minutes you start paying attention to all the other delicious goods you’re starting to believe you need. If you’ve ever experienced this, you’re certainly not alone. Here’s a simple solution that can help: shop the perimeter of a store to save time, money and benefit your health!

Aisle layouts

Grocery aisles are designed to increase customer spending. Store layouts are often the same across the country: produce near the entrance; dairy, eggs, bakery, seafood and meat products along the sides; and packaged, canned and processed food in the center aisles. Why do stores do this? The answer comes down to higher profits. Shoppers simply buy more when they have to go through the middle aisles to get to the fresh goods they need. Once stores get customers in a center aisle, those customers are much more likely to visit other middle aisles and be influenced to buy items that are not on their list or on sale.

What you can do

To avoid overspending, shop around the edges of the store. First fill your cart with fresh produce, dairy and protein and bread. This will leave less room in the cart for expensive impulse buys. The important lesson is to stick to your list, only buy the packaged items you will use that are on sale, and stay mainly in the outer aisles. When you are finished with the perimeter and your list, make a beeline to checkout, thus avoiding the temptation to "just shop around."

Fresh and nutritious

An added bonus to perimeter shopping is increased health benefits. Many times the middle aisles contain processed foods (those with high sodium and fat content, added preservatives and artificial colors and flavors) though this is not true for all center items. Krazy Couponers often venture to the middle to get staples such as flour, oil, yeast, rice, whole grain cereal, canned fish, seasonings, beans, peanut butter and canned fruits and veggies that are not in season. In these cases, remember to stay focused on your list, and you will enjoy a faster, healthier and less expensive trip!