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The first thing you gotta do is go easy on the coffee before you hit the stores. Unless you want to make a bunch of impulsive purchases for things you don’t need but would love to have. Which, come to think of it, sounds like a good reason to have that second cup. In any event, it works. Mercedes has data to show it: free coffee, more car sales.

And listen, fewer choices make you happier, even when it comes to picking a mate. Too many choices spur regret for the one you didn’t make. That’s because feelings about losses are stronger than feelings about gains. Besides, your brain freezes in the face of a larger number of options. After all, there wasn’t a Costco on the savannah.

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Also: go with your gut. The first sweater your eyes alight upon in the department store is the one you really want. Your unconscious is the ultimate personal shopper.

There wasn’t a Costco on the savannah.

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But maybe do a little research first. It’s a fact of consumer life: Online reviews are a morass of opinions that nobody wants to wade through. But we do anyway. With the right frame of mind, you really can find value in them.

And plan ahead. “Nobody goes there anymore—it’s too crowded,” goes one of Yogi Berra’s best. But go to the supermarket we must, crowded or not. Still, you can use some nifty math—game theory—to determine when a store will be less crowded.

Finally, we don’t mean to get all earnest on you, but do give the environment a thought. Nearly 50 percent of stuff in the supermarket is made with palm oil, whose harvest isn’t doing forest ecosystems any good.

In Body Image
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In Body Image
In Body Image
In Body Image
In Body Image
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Lead image: Bro Crock / Shutterstock

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