College Connect: Tips to save at the grocery store

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By Kouichi Shirayanagi

A typical college students spends $80 –to $200 on groceries, depending on how much you cook.

That’s a lot of money and grocery stores know it. That’s why the layout of a grocery store is a marketing science. The milk is never put in the front of a grocery store because often all someone needs if they just need one item is a gallon of milk. How often have you heard stories about people going to the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk but coming home with 15 items and forgetting milk?

The science is to make sure you walk all the way to the back of the store and notice other things you want, and put them in your basket.  With food waste at an all-time in the U.S., you not only save money but do the planet a favor by not wasting food by buying what you don’t need.

Some other ideas to outwit the stealth marketing of supermarkets:

  • Don’t get a big cart – get a mini-basket or a hand basket. You’ll realize how much you are buying.
  • Start shopping in the middle of the store. Produce section – usually the first thing you encounter in most stories, makes you happy with those fresh smells and bright colors. Start in the middle instead.
  • Stores also want you to linger and play relaxing music to get you to spend more time. Put in your earbuds and click on an upbeat mix to speed you through the store instead.
  • Put items back if you change your mind.   The reason that most stores want you to check out quick is that many people change their minds and dump items after they’ve had a change to sit and look at their cart while in line.
  • Find the clearance bin. Many stories have clearance areas with steep discounts. Find them in your store, but again – stick to the list!


Shiranyangi is a graduate student at the University of Missouri.

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