As my work day came to an end, my beautiful wife sent me a text to pick up a few bell peppers from the grocery store on my way home. I asked how many she needed and I was on my way. Simple grocery store trip, in and out. I am not a fan of shopping in any grocery store, especially the one near our home. It takes the longest time to get through the checkout line. I can get in, pick up a whole week’s worth of groceries and it will still take longer to checkout then it does to pick up all of the items. It is frustrating.
As I entered the grocery store, I was a simple mission to pick up some bell peppers. Check a few and see if they are ripe, yep! Check the price, yep! Stuff them in the bag, yep! Wait, wait a minute. What is that…..
Stomach, are you talking to me? You want what to snack on? Ok, let me try and find it…..
DANG IT! My stomach started talking to me and wanted me to walk through the store and find some tasty things in order to have a nice snack later in the night. My simple one item shopping trip ended with me purchasing about 12 items and all of them were unnecessary. There goes the grocery budget for the week.
The funny thing is that I didn’t buy things that were crazy. I bought sour cream for the meal to go with the peppers, string cheese (a family favorite), peanut butter, celery, peanuts, and popcorn kernels. I mean, it is really not a bad “splurge” food purchase. The last time this happened to me I had purchased all junk food. I don’t even want to remember what I bought, but my stomach was leading that show. I think I came home with bags of chips, soda, and other junk I normally don’t eat. Whoops!
Why Grocery Shopping While Hungry Will Kill Your Budget!
This just goes to show that you should never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Nothing good can come from it. No matter what time of day, if you are hungry, you WILL spend more at the grocery store. I had a list of just one item, just one, and I still overspent on the trip. I should have spent $3.50, but ended up over $20. That’s what hunger will do to you and your grocery budget. It will destroy it.
When your stomach takes over your rational mind, you will always lose out. You will spend more money in the grocery store, order more in a restaurant, or stop over to your favorite fast food restaurant to get a quick bite to eat. It’s especially bad in the grocery store because the food is all right there in front of you. You don’t have to wait for it. You can pick it off the shelf and eat it. It’s the ultimate store for convenience.
Most grocery stores (probably all of them) are set up for you to make impulse purchases and buy stuff where they make the most money. As a marketing major in college, this was taught to us in great detail. You entice shoppers to buy what you want them to at every part of the store. It’s like a grocery game with people’s money. I’m usually pretty good and keeping to myself and my list, but when hunger sticks, it’s game on.
How to Keep Your Grocery Budget in Check When Hungry
We’ve all probably been there. We need to pick something up at the grocery store, so we stop by when we’re on our way home from work. It doesn’t take long and it’s on the way home. This is perfect to save time, but it will almost never save you money. If you’re anything like me and hunger takes over you wallet and your rational purchasing mindset, then you need to thing again before stopping at the store.
If you really want to reduce your costs at the store and keep your hunger in check, I would recommend keeping some crackers or a granola bar in your car or purse. Something you can grab on the go to squelch that hunger and keep your money in your bank account. It’s really not difficult to do either. Crackers and granola bars are easy to transport and can stay in your car for some time without going bad.
If you don’t want to keep food in your car, then think about just going home first to grab a snack (which you already paid for) and then going to the store. You might argue that is a waste of time and gas, but if you are going for one item and end up buying ten, then it’s not really a waste at all. The extra time it takes to go back to your house might be minuscule compared to the amount of money your hungry mind will spend. Extra gas at even $4 per gallon is still a better deal than purchasing $20 worth of food when you meant to only spend $3.50.
I would say that I have learned my lesson, but I have done this more than I want to admit. I know it is bad, but I don’t have food in my car. I can’t eat on the way to the grocery store, but I will have to work on my timing. Life happens and I just have to eat a piece of it before I go into the grocery store 😉 .
How many of you have blown your budgets at the grocery store because you were hungry? Be honest…
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