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5 Tips To Avoid Impulse Buying at the Grocery Store

impulse buying at the grocery shopping

Impulse buying at the grocery store leads to a higher grocery bill and a cart full of unhealthy food, or food that will get thrown out. Check out these tips to help you avoid impulse buying on your next grocery shopping trip. 

Why Should You Avoid Impulse Buying at the Grocery Store?

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our disclosure. defines an impulse buy as, “the buying of retail merchandise prompted by a whim on seeing the product displayed.” In short, it’s buying something you didn’t intend ahead of time. Why is this bad when you are shopping for groceries? Last-minute decisions on food are typically made by grabbing unhealthy items. Sales can also trigger impulse buying when grocery shopping. This might not be a bad choice, assuming the food is healthy and it fits your budget. Sometimes items on sale are still more expensive than a different brand, so be sure to check the prices. Another reason to refrain from impulse buying is to avoid tossing food in the trash. If you are grabbing something on an impulse, but you and your family don’t end up liking that food, it will most likely end up in the trash.

Create a Meal Plan and Write Out a List

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

The best way to avoid impulse purchases at the grocery store is by having a plan before you even go shopping. Create a meal plan for the week so you know exactly what items you’ll need. When you write up your store list, write in in order of the aisles that you’ll need to go in. This will keep you out of any aisles you don’t need to go in and reduce your chance of coming across a product that you might buy on impulse. 

Check Out Sales Ahead of Time

If your weakness is a good deal, check out your store flyer before you go grocery shopping. Deciding ahead of time which bargains you’ll take advantage of will save you from buying food you don’t really want or need just because it’s on sale. 

Empty Out Fridge and Pantry

Before you hit the grocery store, clean out your refrigerator and pantry. This works well for 2 reasons. First, when you come home with your food, you’ll have plenty of space to unpack your groceries. Secondly, it will remind you not to buy items you and your family won’t eat. I don’t know about you, but I’ve done my fair share of buying a drawer full of fresh veggies only to toss them because they went bad before we ate them. 

Plan Your Splurge

There’s nothing wrong with buying treats and sweets, but going in without a plan may result in too many treats! If you plan what you are going to splurge on before you get to the store, you won’t overbuy on unhealthy foods. If your family has ice cream every day after dinner, write out the amount you need for the week on your store list. Just writing, “dessert” might be a little too open-ended and you may grab more impulse items than you intended. 

Remember Your Budget

grocery budget

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

It’s easy to overspend on impulse items at the grocery store because those splurges aren’t typically high ticket items. But, five $5 impulse buys adds up to $25 pretty quickly. If you are keeping a strict budget, keeping the total cost in mind will help keep you on track. 

Take the time to prepare before your next grocery shopping trip and you’ll be able to avoid the trap of impulse purchases! 

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