Grocery Shopping Quiz
What kind of grocery shopper are you? Take our quiz to find out! No matter what your shopping style, we have strategies to make the busiest supermarket time of year the easiest -- and cheapest -- yet.
1. When it comes to shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, you feel:
a. Thankful that your supermarket is open 24/7.
b. Relaxed. You finished your shopping weeks ago and just need to make one last trip for perishables.
c. Panicked. You have no idea when you'll make it to the store.
d. Excited! You love shopping for the big day.
2. It's a few weeks before the main event. You stop at the supermarket to:
a. Pick up groceries for tonight's dinner.
b. Capitalize on sale items for your Thanksgiving meal found in the online circular.
c. Pick up wine and flowers for a holiday party that evening.
d. Get tips from the on-site demo chefs -- you're always hoping to find something new to add to your special menu.
3. In the store, you come across a display of decorations. You:
a. Are thrilled because you completely forgot about decor, so you buy them all. Party supplies: check!
b. Walk right on by. Items in displays are usually overpriced.
c. Ignore them -- you don't have time to care.
d. Grab items that work for your grand master plan… then on to the food already!
4. After you upload your holiday dinner shopping list to your smartphone, you:
a. Consider planning a trip to the supermarket, but start on another project instead.
b. Hop online to look for coupons and circular deals.
c. Squeeze in a trip to the supermarket over your lunch break and pray that you're on time for your next meeting.
d. Worry about where you'll find duck fat.
5. You survived the big day! You look over your receipts and begin feeling sticker shock. You:
a. Vow -- again -- to start shopping earlier next year.
b. Reason that prices were higher this year.
c. Don't care. You're just glad you got everything done.
d. Consider toning down your next holiday menu a notch.
IF YOU ANSWERED...
YOU ARE: A Last-Minute Shopper
Hello, procrastinator! "You avoid starting until the last minute because you're overwhelmed by your own expectations," psychologist Andrea Bonior says. This could lead to a disorganized buying frenzy (and overspending!), she explains. To thwart this, break down the process into smaller, more manageable steps, like searching for recipes, making a list and shopping. Getting the ball rolling is often the hardest part, so Linda Samuels, author of The Other Side of Organized, advises limiting menu options to two each of drinks, appetizers, mains, sides and desserts. And don't shun frozen appetizers and store-bought desserts, says Teri Gault, author of Shop Smart, Save More. Not only will they save you time, but they can be found at up to half off during last-minute holiday sales.
YOU ARE: An Organized Budget Shopper
You're super-organized and a pro at scoring deals. But don't pat yourself on the back just yet -- shopping too early may result in overbuying, behavioral food expert Juliet A. Boghossian says. "Deal hunters thrive on the thrill of a great sale," she says, which triggers a sense of urgency to go overboard and buy more than what's needed. Doing this for two months straight can blow your holiday budget (and leave you with more canned pumpkin than you need), so be sure to plan your menu early, too, and stick to a shopping list -- even if it's October. Early shopping can also sabotage your budget in another way: "Traditional holiday items like stuffing mix and jarred cranberry sauce are deeply discounted the week before Thanksgiving," Boghossian says. So make sure it's really a great deal before stocking up on any such items preseason.
YOU ARE: A No-Time-to-Shop Shopper
You don't have a single date open on your calendar. Translation: You're a chronic multitasker trying to fit it all in. "Overcommitment is driven by ambition -- turning anything down can create feelings of failure and anxiety," Boghossian says. But if you stretch yourself too thin, you're likely to miss out on the quality of the experience and you may end up feeling frazzled. "Concentrate on the task at hand and think positive thoughts about sharing the holiday meal with family and friends," Samuels says. Physically crossing off items on a list can also help, she adds. And since you really are short on time, take advantage of some supermarket shortcuts. Carla Hall of Alchemy Caterers in Washington, D.C., suggests purchasing precut veggies from the salad bar or jazzing up a rotisserie chicken with a special sauce.
YOU ARE: A Specialty-Ingredient Shopper
You sure like to strut your culinary stuff. "Dubbed a perfectionist and confident host, this person -- ironically -- is seeking validation from guests," says Boghossian, who suggests hosting every other year so you can recharge. When you are hosting, your biggest challenge tends to be tracking down unusual ingredients, so "save time and frustration by calling around before stepping out the door," advises Angi Pietzak of Lovely Catering & Bakery in Atlanta. Remember that specialty stores charge up to 70 percent more for basic items like milk and eggs, so start at a standard supermarket, says Kimberly Danger, author of Instant Bargains. Don't forget online gourmet stores, since they often offer competitive pricing. For hard-to-find seasonal produce, seafood or meat, try this tip from Pietzak: "Most chefs list contact info on their restaurant websites and are happy to help out."