Why Grocery Store Self-Checkout Does Not Go Far Enough

At this point, we’re all familiar with the self-checkout options that are available at most grocery stores and large retail establishments. The concept behind them is sound, and most of us have given them a try at one time or another. If you have only a couple items, and you see lines at the regular check-out lines, then it’s somewhat more convenient to drop into the self-checkout kiosk and complete your transaction. Of course, if you’ve used self-checkout more than a few times, chances are pretty good that you’ve run into a problem with the automated procedures. Whether it’s a product that scans improperly―or not at all―or some other glitch during the payment or check-out procedure, it’s safe to say that self check-out is far from perfect.

Given the availability of technology and the fact that many people are willing to pay for it, why not offer some another option: smart carts or shopping guns that track items as you cart them.

Imagine you walk into the grocery store and grab your shopping cart as you normally would. Only this time, the cart comes equipped with a tethered scanning gun that looks and feels much like the pricing guns that grocers used not long ago to affix prices to items. Your cart-mounted scanning gun will read the bar codes of all the items that you load into your cart and keep track of everything while you shop.

The cart itself (or possibly just the gun) will have a small screen that keeps track of the total you’re spending as you shop. A simple ‘return’ button on the gun allows you to put anything back on the shelf that you had scanned previously.

After you have everything that you need scanned and loaded into your cart, simply walk to the checkout kiosk, plug your scanning gun into its reader and pay your bill. You get your printed receipt and off you go.

Maybe I’m not thinking through all the logistics, but it seems like this method would be far superior to the clunky self-checkout lines that are currently available to us. Let us select the item and add it to our total at the same time. There should be no need to go through the entire store to grab all of our necessary items, and then go to a central point to individually scan everything so that we can pay for it. That’s just silly and incredibly inefficient.

With barcoding technology what it is today, it would be very easy to implement this type of system. Each item would be easily accounted for and the same type of inventory control procedures that are currently in place would still apply for safety and to ward off thieves.

As one who is in the grocery store a few times per week, I know that my suggestion is a better way of doing things. What I can’t figure out is what incentive exists to not pursue this path. A faster and more efficient shopping experience, I believe, would only be good for business. But then again, I’m not in the business, so maybe I’m missing something big.

Tips for Smart Grocery Shopping

Unlike shopping for clothes or shoes, grocery shopping involves a little more planning and responsibility. After all, running a household isn’t a joke. Grocery shopping isn’t just one individual’s wish list, it requires keeping in mind the needs of everybody in the family. Whether it is a family of twelve, or a household of two, if this is strategically planned, it can work wonders. Here are a few ways to help you while you go shopping for groceries.

How To Shop Efficiently

Make a List
This is a must for all shoppers, irrespective of the fact whether you are a frugal shopper or a squanderer. List down everything you and other family members require. Don’t do this in a hurry. Start making a list a few days before you actually plan to make a trip to the local supermarket. This gives you enough time to check your refrigerator and storage containers in the kitchen. Check if other members want to add to the list.

Classify your List
Divide your list into broad sections: vegetables, dairy, spices, snacks, toiletries, etc. This will help you remember if there is something missing in the list, and help you pick up exactly what you need from a particular section in a store.

Ready-to-cook Meals
These are things you often forget in your shopping list, and then feel stressed out when you are in no mood to cook an elaborate meal. Ready-to-cook meals come handy occasionally. Stock them up.

Make a Budget
You definitely aren’t going to spend all your money on grocery. Plan how much of your earnings should be kept aside for the grocery. There are many products in the market to tempt you to spend more. Try not to overshoot your budget. Trust me, there are lots of things you can do with the saved money.

Take Somebody Along
Yes, you know your job well. But no harm requesting a family member to accompany you if the list is long. However, take someone who is not a wastrel. This way you can get some good advice and also get some help to move out of the store fast.

Make a Trip During Off-peak Hours
Not only will you get enough parking space if you go to the store when it is not crowded, but you will also be to finish your shopping faster. The long lines at the cash counters can be really frustrating. Avoid going on weekends or major holidays. Most stores also tend to finish their stock during peak hours, so you might miss out on something that you desperately need.

Check Out the Best Bargains
Read every offer carefully. Maybe you can get a good deal. Check out the pamphlets and banners displayed for the customers. Ask questions if you have doubts, but don’t get swayed by the offers. This is not the last time the store is offering a discount. You can come back later. Where is the bargain if you are buying things just for fun?

Start From the First Section
When you move systematically, you know exactly what you need. You can definitely browse around. But then look at your list. Is that mentioned on your list? Is that something you really need? Move fast if you don’t need it now.

Don’t Compromise on the Price and Brand
If you feel that the store you went shopping last week has a better range of tea bags, don’t buy them from this store. Mark it in your list, so you don’t forget to buy the tea bags from the other store. Also, if you feel apples at a particular supermarket are more expensive compared to another market your friends told you about, avoid buying them from here. Shop wisely.

Never Just Grab Items at Eye Level
Always look on the shelves above and below, probably that is where what you need exactly is. Stores often have wide-ranging brands and products in different quantities. Check out the right quantity pack. You don’t need to horde things in your kitchen.

Avoid Looking Back
Give a final glance to your list before you arrive at the cash counter. Once at the cash counter, don’t just keep going back to the shelves to grab things again and again. There are other people waiting in the line and their time needs to be respected.

Keep An Eye on the Cash Register
The person at the counter can make a mistake, so be careful of what he is billing you for. Make sure you remind him if there are any freebies on any products. Check if all the products you picked up have been carefully put in your bag.

Avoid Plastic Bags
Lead by example. Carry your own cloth bag as far as possible. Be sensitive to the environmental concerns.

If you follow these tips, you can have a pleasant shopping experience, where you will have gotten all you needed, and save a few bucks as well.

Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Shopping for groceries while on a budget does not mean that you have to buy inferior quality food. You just have to follow some money saving tips for effective money management. It includes proper planning and realistic budgeting. Make a list of all those items that you need for breakfast, dinner, and lunch, and other household items. Otherwise, it may so happen that you end up purchasing a lot of unwanted goods and the essential items are left out. It is also very important that you stick to your list while shopping. Do not get tempted to buy some extra items. Avoid taking kids to grocery stores as their wishes can deviate you easily from your list. Given below are some tips for the same.

Grocery Coupons
These can help you save hundreds of dollars from your grocery budget every year without much of an effort. You can collect them from the Sunday newspapers. Flyers are also sent by different stores through the mail. Some libraries give out such coupons for their patrons. Hence, you can check it out if such a facility is available with your library or not. Take care that you collect only those coupons that are meant for items that you need to purchase. It often so happens that you buy certain things that you don’t really need, just to avail the discount. Thus, a lot of money can get wasted. Keep these coupons in your purse so that you do not forget them when you go shopping.

Discount Sales
Sometimes, grocery stores offer rebates on certain items on a particular day. However, avail such a discount facility only when you require it and stop yourself from overbuying things. It should not happen that you drive to a store which is far from your house just to buy one or two things at a discounted rate. Also restrain yourself from buying perishable goods in large quantities simply because they are at a lower cost. Even if you get them at a cheap rate, when you are throwing away a rotten food item in the trash, it is a waste of money.

Bulk Purchase
There are several stores that give money saving offers to people who buy in bulk quantities. You can avail this facility mostly to buy the regular household supplies like detergents, cleaners, paper towels, etc., and also for non-perishable foods like cereals, snacks, canned items, etc. Avoid buying those items that are not required in large quantities. For instance, there is no point in buying mustard for the next five years just to avail a discount. It will be better if you stay away from buying perishable goods like frozen foods on sale. Most of the time, stores put them up for sale when their expiration date is coming closer. In that case, buying excess of what you cannot finish off before the stipulated expiry date will waste money instead of saving it.

Compare Prices
For this, you have to invest a good amount of time in shopping for the groceries. Select five different stores in your area. Purchase items from all of them one at a time, to find out which store can give you the most value for your money. You also have to consider the location of the store. If a store which is at a long distance from your house is giving you things at a lower rate, it may not be a viable option. It is likely that the money you save in the sale will not be much when you compare it with the money that you spend on gas.

Another effective way to save money while grocery shopping is to use cash to make the purchases. This is because, when you see the cash going out of the purse, you will feel like holding yourself back and spending slightly less. When you opt for cards, it is likely that you end up spending beyond your budget as you don’t see the actual money going out at that point of time.

College Grocery List

The first year in college is all about new schedule, new friends, firsthand experience at cooking and shopping for the same. As you are on a tighter budget in the college, you cannot afford to eat out day and night; which is also unhealthy. Soon will come a time when you will be thinking of cooking yourself (although it may be for the first time in life)! Meal planning will be easier if you have a grocery list and shop wisely. It will also help in saving money.

College Grocery Shopping Tips

First things first! Before going shopping, you need to be fully aware of your budget, i.e., the exact amount of money you can spend on groceries. You should also research in the market to look for grocery stores that have a wider option of goods (with respect to cost of items).
Although you may love to indulge in cheeses and chocolates, you need to make healthy choices in the longer run. A healthy grocery list consists of fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, proteins, etc.
Firstly, you should shop for the items that you need every day like bread, eggs, rice, noodles, etc., as these food items can be used for making breakfast, lunch as well as snacks.
You should look for versatile food items like eggs that can be included in various dishes like salads, sandwiches; or can be eaten as a meal by making an omelet, etc. Bananas, potatoes, fruits, cheese, eggs, beans, etc., are some of the versatile food items.
Meat, poultry, and fish should not be stored for a long time as there can be high chances of getting spoiled. Cereals, dried fruits and nuts, dry pasta, rice, etc., are some of the items that last longer.
Check out for discounts and save your grocery coupons for healthy foods rather than indulging in luxury or gourmet food items.
Lastly, one of the basic tips to remember is to include foods that last for at least a week. This will save a lot of time as you need not go shopping every two days.
Grocery List

Fruits and vegetables can be brought in frozen, canned, fresh, chopped, etc., versions. You can also cut vegetables like carrots and cucumbers and store them in refrigerators to eat as snack later. This list is divided into different categories in order to make sorting and shopping easier.

Canned low fat/whole milk
Skim milk
Low fat butter/margarine
Peanut butter
Cheddar, Mozzarella cheese
Whole wheat bread
Frozen Foods
Fish sticks/fillets
Chicken breast/meatballs
Deli meat
Fruits/fruits juices
Dry Foods
Dried fruits and nuts
Brown/white rice
Rice cakes
Instant rice
Cake/pancake mix
Instant popcorn
Baked low fat fries/crisps
Spices, oil, and condiments
Salt and pepper
Here is a list of one dish meals or quick and easy meals that you can prepare in the college pantry. The following dishes can be eaten as breakfast or even as meals for lunch and dinner. These dishes can be made using above mentioned food items as ingredients.

One-Dish Meals
Cream based soups
Peanut butter sandwich
Scrambled/boiled/deviled eggs/omelet
Beans on toast
Cheese/tomato pasta
Oven ready lasagna, pizza
Salad with spinach/broccoli/bell peppers/cherry tomatoes/fruits/eggs/chicken
Meatball salad/noodles
Lastly, also remember to buy some of your favorite snacks and indulge once a while! Good luck!

Avoid These Grocery Store Shopping Mistakes

Food is getting expensive, and shoppers everywhere are hyperventilating at checkout. We’re all foodies now, and we want our grass-fed beef, our Matcha powder and our fresh figs – or our pea protein and gluten-free cookies, or the soy mac-n-cheese for the kids – but we don’t want to take out a second mortgage just to buy food for the week.

Lists about saving money at the supermarket are everywhere, and much of the information is common sense. Avoid impulse buys, buy in bulk, shop from a list, etc., but did you know that many of these tips can actually cost you more at the register?

And here you thought you were doing everything right. If you’re happy with your food budget, you are – but if you find yourself pining for the swordfish you used to be able to afford, learn when to eighty-six the tips.

The Grocery List

The experts say that you should make a list of everything you need before you leave the house, and buy only what’s on the list. Makes sense, right? No impulse buying means no superfluous spending. Except, no.

Say you planned to buy sirloin steak, chicken breast, ground beef and flounder as the basis for the week’s dinners. When you get to the store, you notice that the sirloin steaks aren’t looking very good, but there’s a two-for-one deal on ground beef. And that hot Italian sausage you love is 30% off. And they’re out of flounder, but the shrimp is only $7/lb that day.

Had you stuck to your list, you would miss out – but if you’re flexible enough to plan meals on the go, you snap up the bargains and save a bundle.

Discount Clubs

The cavernous discount club is touted as one of the biggest money-savers out there. If you don’t mind buying institutional-sized packages, you can save a fortune, right? Not necessarily.

It all depends upon the club, the item and the brand. Sometimes, the package is larger but the price is comparable to what you find in your regular supermarket. And if that giant package is perishable food, will you go through it all before it goes bad? If not, that’s money wasted.

Sure, there are deals, but you shouldn’t rely upon them – they’re frequently fleeting. Hit the discount club no more than monthly and scoop up any truly great finds – but don’t grocery shop there. A car-sized box of toilet paper may be fine – a similar-sized crate of lemons is not.

Shopping the Perimeter

By sticking to the perimeter of the store – dairy, produce, meat, seafood, bakery – you save a bundle by buying only raw, non-processed ingredients, right? Not even close.

Perimeter shopping is the healthiest way to shop, not the cheapest. Fresh meat, seafood and produce are more expensive than frozen and canned, and by skipping the aisles you miss out on pasta, packaged bread, beans and rice – staples of the budget-conscious diet.

Joining a CSA

By paying a monthly fee to a local community-supported agriculture project, you save money on fresh produce and get the freshest stuff straight from the farm, right? Well, sort of.

Yes, CSAs are trendy, yes they’re great for small farms. But they are not cheap. Full memberships can run $300-$400 per month or more. Sure, you get a weekly crate of delectable fruit and vegetables, but would you typically spend over $100 per week on produce at the grocery store? And because your weekly haul is dependent upon that week’s harvest, sometimes you may get a load of eggplant, which you hate. Other times you might be overrun with onions. Or this particular farm stinks at strawberries.

In other words, if you’re concerned about cost, be very sure to get the best for you that your budget can buy. Stick to your grocery store and shop the sales, and keep an eye out for roadside produce stands and local farmers’ markets, where you can frequently find bargains on exactly what you want, in a sensible quantity.

Grocery List for College Students

People generally move out when they get into college and start living the life of an adult. The term adult comes with a lot of responsibilities such as cleaning, cooking, shopping for your basic necessities yourself, etc. In order to not fumble and get confused with the things you would require everyday, it is necessary to make a grocery list before you shop for your groceries. Otherwise, you may end up buying stuff you don’t want and miss out on a few things that you actually need as a college student.

Shopping List
If you are living on the college premises, then grocery shopping needs to become more organized. Hence, it is better if you prepared a list before going shopping. Here’s a list of all the important things that a college student needs.

Breakfast Foods

Bread Cornflakes
Eggs Muesli
Milk Oats
Cereal Cookies

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. Being a college student, you are bound to wake up late, get ready in a jiffy and rush to college. In this hurry, you tend to skip your most important meal. Try not to do so. You can make an easy breakfast by simply adding cereal, cornflakes or muesli to a cup of milk or even dunking cookies in milk. It is very healthy and not time-consuming in any way.

Pantry Staples

Rice Couscous
Dried Beans Cooking Oil
Dry Pasta Lasagna Sheets
Baked Beans Olive Oil
Flour Salt
Sugar Lentils
Canned Tomatoes Cheese

Cooking at home is always better and healthier. If you love cooking or if you are a health freak, you will always make time for this. Another benefit of homemade food is that you can cut that extra oil or cheese off to make it a low calorie meal. It will be less expensive for you. If not, you can always hire a cook.

Fruits and Vegetables

Apples Bananas
Watermelons Melons
Oranges Tomatoes
Onions Potatoes
Carrots Broccoli
Baby Corn Mushrooms
Olives Lemons
Lettuce Spinach
Asparagus Garlic
Eggplant Green Beans

Fruits and vegetables are eatables you can munch on all day. They are healthy and can make up for one whole meal. They will also keep you fresh and active all day. They can be eaten as salads too. Fruits and a few of the vegetables can also be used to make fresh juices. They will serve as a healthy source of vitamins and will help in keeping you hydrated.

Snack Items

Potato Chips Pre-cut Salad Leaves
Salad Dressing Salsa Sauce
Instant Cake Mix Pancake Mix
Instant Popcorn Instant Noodles
Biscuits Dry Fruits
Premixed Nuts Pudding Cups
Chocolates Soft Drinks
Jelly Breezers

If you are the type who would wake up in the middle of the night hungry, then these snacks would serve as a boon to you. Also, if it is a Sunday and you call your friends over, you can bake a cake or make them some popcorn or noodles.

Meat and Poultry

Turkey Minced chicken
Skinned chicken Minced mutton
Boneless Mutton Bacon
Ham Salami
Boneless chicken Chicken drumsticks
Fish Canned tuna
Crab meat Beef Steak

Turkey and chicken can be added to pasta, spaghetti or rice. Easy sandwiches can be made using bacon, ham and salami. Minced chicken or mutton can be prepared as thick gravy and eaten along with bread. Canned tuna can be used in salads while crab meat in soups. Chicken drumsticks can be eaten as starters with beer or wine.

Herbs and Spices

Korintje (Makara) Cinnamon – Ground
Bay Leaf Cumin
Paprika Basil
Tarragon Celery Seed
Arrowroot Parsley
Annatto Seed – Ground Asafoetida Powder
Black Pepper Dill Weed
Thyme Rosemary
Saffron Sage

Cinnamon and nutmeg are used for baking and making curries, while arrowroot is used to thicken sauces. Sage, thyme and rosemary is used for poultry, while dill weed is used for cooking fish. Tarragon can be used for both, seafood as well as poultry. Herbs are a must in a college student’s grocery list, as they add the must-needed flavor instantly.

Essential Extras

Balsamic Vinegar Soy Sauce
Pizza Base Tacos
Cornflour Instant Coffee
Tea Instant Soup
Biscuits Canned Soup
Butter Tomato Ketchup
Peanut Butter Hummus
Tomato Paste Fruit Juice
Beer Wine
Jam Mayonnaise
BBQ Sauce Tortilla Chips

Coffee and tea can serve as energizers and can also help you study longer. Instant or canned soups can save you a lot of time and be good appetizers. The rest can serve as extra essentials while cooking.

Why Buy?
Fruits: Fruits like oranges, bananas and apples can be stored in the refrigerator for a longer time compared to the other fruits. There is nothing to prepare in them, hence you can save a lot of your time. They can be a quick munch when you are hungry.
Dry Fruits: Dry fruits can be a part of a low calorie diet. They can be substituted for chips and other high calorie munches. They are also very healthy and nutritious.
Eggs and Bread: They are very high in protein and form a good and quick breakfast. They can also be scrambled and added to fried rice or eaten along with bread for dinner. Boiled eggs can be a part of your salad too.
Canned food: Canned foods include preserved food like canned soups, tomato paste, etc. They can be stored for a long time and save you cooking time.
What Comes Cheaper?
Fruits like apples, bananas, pears, grapefruits, etc., and vegetables like cucumber, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green pepper, lettuce leaves, etc. come cheaper and are a good source of vitamins, providing essential nutrition to the body.
Water is the cheapest and healthiest source of hydration. Substituting water for any beverage will save your pockets.
Milk, eggs and cheese are high in protein and low in carbs, they aren’t very heavy on the pocket and can make a sufficing meal.
Packaged food like tortilla, spaghetti, bread, cereals and pasta can make a meal without burning a hole in your pockets. Opt for healthy food and try cooking them at home.
Check for items available on a sale. They come cheaper. Do not stop at only one store. Check a few stores and compare the prices of the commodity. Then buy the commodity with the lowest price. Also check for cheaper substitutes for different food items.
One more thing that you need to keep in mind is to gather all the discount coupons which you have collected and use them. These coupons are very valuable and you will be able to really cut the cost of your shopping. Always make a detailed shopping list every time you visit the grocery store. While this list was just a sample, you can add or remove certain items from this list, based on what you need and vice-versa.