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Impulse buys earn supermarkets $5.8 billion annually.

It turns out tossing the occasional superfluous celebrity mag and Dr Pepper into your cart really adds up. Those nonessential but oh-so-tempting items that taunt us at checkout account for approximately 1 percent of total supermarket sales, according to consulting firm Dechert-Hampe. In fact, the Food Marketing Institute reports that purchases not on our shopping list make up more than 50 percent of what we buy. “You should keep your money in a bank and not on your pantry shelves,” says Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. Underhill offers a few pointers for sticking to your list and your budget: “If it’s on sale, it doesn’t mean that you need it. If it’s on the endcap, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s on sale. And finally, if it’s at eye level, somebody has paid to put it there.” In short, don’t let your eyes get bigger than your wallet.  


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