Woman comparing brand items at a grocery stor.width ckoqexJ.jpg

Here’s Why Your Groceries (and Other Purchases) Could Get More Expensive

Woman comparing brand items at a grocery store

Image source: Getty Images

Some people really enjoy grocery shopping. For others, it’s an activity they try to wrap up as quickly as possible. If you happen to fall into the latter camp, then you may be someone who prefers the self-checkout option instead of using a lane with an actual cashier.

The logic behind self-checkout is that it’s supposed to save consumers time. But if you’ve ever tried self-checkout, you may find that it’s actually quite a frustrating experience. For one thing, sometimes, the system often breaks down. You can scan your groceries as carefully as possible only to have the machine start beeping, thereby necessitating the help of a store employee. And then there’s the whole “you must place each item in the bagging area individually” thing that can end up being a hassle and cause you to spend more time checking out than is necessary.

It’s not totally surprising to learn that many consumers prefer a traditional checkout process to self-checkout. Also, regular checkouts featuring human cashiers are more likely to make consumers feel loyal to a store, according to research out of Drexel University.

But the reality is that self-checkout, when done right, has the potential to save retailers money. Of course, when it’s done wrong, it can cost them money. And studies have shown a correlation between self-checkout and increased incidents of merchandise losses and theft.

As such, some retailers may be rethinking the idea of self-checkout. And if a growing number opt to do away with it, it could lead to higher product costs. The good news, though, is that there are steps you can take to save money on groceries and other essential products. Here are some tactics to employ.

1. Take advantage of discounts for non-perishables

Tempting as it may be to stock up on yogurt when a $1.25 cup is discounted to $0.99, yogurt only lasts so long. While buying 40 cups of yogurt at a savings of $0.26 each might put an extra $10.40 back in your pocket, you might end up letting some of those cups go to waste, thereby negating your savings.

On the other hand, when your supermarket or big-box store puts non-perishables on sale, load up if you have the room to store them. Let’s say your kids go through three boxes of granola bars most weeks, and they normally cost $2.99 a box. If they’re reduced to $1.99 a box and you have the room and can afford the initial outlay in your budget, buy 40 boxes. At three boxes a week, you’ll be done with your supply in about three month’s time, all the while saving yourself $40.

2. Meal plan

The simple act of planning out your meals in advance could save you money at the supermarket. Rather than roam the aisles randomly adding items to your shopping cart, figure out what your family will be eating on a weekly basis and purchase the items you need to bring your menu to life.

The simple act of shopping with a list might help you avoid wasting money on items you don’t need that could end up going to waste. After all, if you buy chicken breast only to end up making a large batch of meatballs, you might run out of time to cook that chicken. The result? Money you’ve thrown out (unless, of course, you freeze your meat before it goes bad).

3. Take advantage of bulk discounts

You don’t need to be a Costco or Sam’s Club member to take advantage of bulk quantity discounts. Just walk around your local supermarket or big-box store, and you’ll likely see items you use regularly available in larger quantities or sizes. Again, this is a situation where if the item is non-perishable and one you use regularly, it pays to snag the discount.

However, one thing you generally don’t want to do is buy products you’ve never used before in bulk. So let’s say your go-to dish soap isn’t available at the supermarket in a larger size, but a different brand is. You might say, “Well, I know I’m going to need to clean my dishes, so I might as well get the discount.” But if you end up being unable to stomach the scent of that new brand, you risk wasting your money.

It’s too soon to say goodbye to self-checkout lanes. But in the coming years, some retailers may decide to do away with them, and that has the potential to lead to increased costs. It’s best to have strategies for saving money when loading up on the items you need.

Alert: our top-rated cash back card now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a lengthy 0% intro APR period, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee! Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Maurie Backman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts