Supermarket Savings Tip #2: Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry

Want to set yourself up for failure in sticking with your grocery list? Go to the store with an empty belly.

Shopping when you’re hungry encourages you to make impulse purchases. All of a sudden that box of doughnuts has your name on it, the salad bar looks incredibly enticing, and the pie from the bakery seems irresistible.

You can have great resolve to stick with your grocery budget, you can be determined to only buy what’s on your list, but when your stomach is begging to be fed, it’s much easier to give into the temptation and blow your budget. Even just a $5 or $10 splurge on a few items every few weeks can really start to add up to a lot of unnecessary purchases over time.

So before you head to the store, make sure you’ve already eaten at home. It’s such a simple thing, but your wallet will thank you.

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  1. says

    Sometimes this tip backfires on me. If I go into the grocery store having just eaten and quite full, I will go to something that I would normally buy and think ‘Oh I don’t really need that’ and move on. I have come home from the grocery store with much less stuff than I’ve needed and have had to make another trip later in the week. :)

  2. says

    It’s true, but also don’t go thirsty! :) That juice will be calling your name the whole time you’re there. I make sure I bring snacks for my toddler because I want to finish the shopping trip without forgetting to get half the things because I want to get her home, but also because I don’t want her to think that it’s ok to open something before you paid for it.

    • Brooke says

      Oooh I agree with the snacks for a toddler! When they’re in the middle of a meltdown it is so easy to completely go blank and forget things you need! Very good tip!

  3. says

    So simple, and yet so true! It’s easy to make sure I’m not hungry for my big trips. But on the occasion I need to stop on the way home from work, that’s when I’ve got the after noon munches and tend to come home with an extra or two.

  4. says

    I always make sure I have a water bottle or something with me as well. When I am thirsty, 30+ weeks pregnant and shopping it spells trouble. I also usually bring a snack for my youngest. Last time I was at the store a whole apple kept him much happier much longer than a free cookie from the bakery.

  5. Liz says

    Ha, ha. This made me laugh because I never really thought about it until I read your comment, but this same exact thing happens to me, also!

  6. says

    This is a great tip…and should include making sure the kiddos have a full belly as well, or at least a snack to munch on as you shop.

    I have made the mistake (way too many times), of stopping to pick up a few things when it’s close to dinnnertime, and I always end up buying a bunch of unnecessary items because the kids are “staaarrrvvving.” :-)

  7. says

    I chuckled when I read this because I can’t even tell you the odd things that have landed in my grocery cart because I was hungry. Shopping without kids is really helpful too, my girls have sticky hands. Grabbing a Starbucks, my list and no kids is truly the way to go. A great way to remember to eat well before shopping.

    Katheryn F.
    http://www.outoftheboring .com

  8. says

    One of my friends does this- he and his mom go out to dinner, it’s their weekly meal out, then go to the grocery store to shop :). But this is definitely a good idea and a great way to avoid buying junk food.

  9. Lana says

    If I unavoidably arrive at the store hungry I pick up a banana in the produce section to eat in the car after I shop. For some reason, knowing that I have a snack for right after checking out I am much more able to avoid the donuts, which are my down fall and I don’t even really like donuts!

    • cheryl says

      I do the same thing but I buy the banana and eat it while shopping. Otherwise my blood sugars start plummeting. Just keep your receipt and tell the clerk you’re planning to eat it while in the store. (normally I’ve already snarfed it down before starting my shopping so its not a problem!)

  10. Kate says

    Haha, my parents treated my husband and me to dinner the other night. Before going to the restaurant though, they needed to make a “quick” stop at Walmart. I needed a few things so I ran in with them. Being pregnant AND hungry was not good on my budget!! I bought a few junky items that certainly weren’t on my list. I finally told my mom we had to leave before things it totally out of control! I bought some stuff we didn’t need, but I still enjoyed eating them later! :-) I guess a splurge now and then isn’t all bad, but definitely not something I would make a habit of!

  11. Christine M says

    OK so my hubby and I KNOW not to shop when we are hungry yet we did that on Wed. We started drinking protein shakes as meal replacements but needed to get eggs, milk and bananas. Some how our quick trip to the commissary costs us $85 because we were starving lol! I think we would have spent more if 1. we didn’t have to go get our kids from school 2. our younger kids with us were ready to eat too and 3. we wanted to get out the store to eat what we bought =)

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