For years, we’ve heard that the way to stick to a budget at the grocery store is to avoid paying with credit and go to a cash only system. Now, a new study has shown that paying for groceries with cash may be good for the waistline as well.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that shoppers were more likely to buy items considered “unhealthy” when they paid with credit or debit cards than if they paid with cash. You might think that a person who paid with a debit card would be as conscious of spending as a person with cash, due to the fact that a debit card drafts money from your account immediately. The study showed the opposite, even when the subjects completed their shopping in a computer simulated task.
When you are trying to eat healthy, sticking to a budget and a well planned out grocery list can be one of your greatest tools. Grocery stores are designed to part you from your money, and the areas that are on eye level are often full of the foods that are the least diet-friendly. Companies often pay extra for the “prime real estate” and they place the foods with the greatest income potential in those sections.
One day, visit your local grocery store and take the time to make a planned out shopping list. Separate each area into a section and note down each item in that area that you might purchase. At home, create a list on your computer of those items. Pin the list on your wall or refrigerator and use it to keep track of the items you need to purchase. When you shop, try to stick to this list in order to avoid unnecessary purchases. Here is a terrific Healthy Grocery Shopping List to help you decide the best choices at the grocery store.
Meal planning in general helps to keep you on task. It’s also helpful to know what you have planned for dinner, which helps you avoid the dreaded “Oh, no! It’s five p.m. and I don’t have dinner planned” desperation trips for unhealthy fast food.
It also helps to shop when you aren’t hungry. (I may or may not know that from experience.)