3 Grocery Shopping Strategies You Should Apply to Shopping Online

published Oct 15, 2020
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Shopping is weird these days. Things that used to feel important, like fashion trends, have lost much of their appeal. Other items, like sewing machines or above-ground pools, have been highly sought-after and, at times, impossible to find. Then, there’s the fact that in-person shopping is not the fun escape it used to be.

As a result, online shopping has become more of a lifeline than ever. Collectively, we’re ordering everything from clothes to groceries online in effort to social distance. Not to mention, these days it’s a little too easy to turn to online shopping out of boredom or diversion.

If you regularly find yourself hitting “add to cart,” these old-school grocery shopping strategies can help keep your online spending in check:

Don’t shop hungry

When applied to grocery shopping, this tip is physical and straightforward. If you’re feeling hungry, everything will look so delicious that it will end up in your cart. Adapted to online shopping, this principle suggests becoming aware of what’s driving you to put things in your proverbial cart. Are you emotionally or mentally hungry? Did you go browsing for cute sweaters because you’re feeling down? Did you land on the Amazon page after getting “influenced?”

Look for hunger cues, and fill yourself up before you shop. Maybe you really do need some work-at-home appropriate garments for cooler weather. Look for them at a time when you’re feeling “full,” perhaps after a nice phone call with a friend or after finishing your exercise routine. This way, you aren’t trying to fill an inner void without outward purchases.

Always shop with a list

Whether shopping at a brick-and-mortar location or online, a list keeps you on track. Rather than poking around online for items in the nebulous—and very large—categories of clothes or toys, for instance, create a running list of both needs and wants. And make no mistake: Online stores have their own ways of creating those endcap displays that draw you in.

Writing down what you intend to purchase drastically cuts down on impulse buys. If you see something you feel like you have to have that’s not on your list, rather than buying it, add it to a list of maybes. Revisit the list in a few days to see whether that burning desire or frantic draw is still there.

Meal plan

A meal plan is an item-specific roadmap for you to reach your goal of having a certain meal ready for your family each evening. Even if some nights your meal plan reads “takeout” or “leftovers,” you’re still operating under a predetermined set of guidelines that eliminates the dreaded question of what’s for dinner? and a stressful evening scrounging for something to cook.

The same kind of preparations pay off when it comes to shopping for non-grocery items. Try to look at the big picture. Are you embarking on a new exercise program? Do you need to fill in gaps in a stay-at-home winter wardrobe? These types of goals are what will inform your “meal plan,” or list of items to purchase. Rather than shopping willy-nilly and derailing your budget, your purchases will support your personal pursuits and desires. This way, you’ll have just what you need with no waste.