Supermarkets actually spend millions of dollars every year into research. the object? They want to find out how better to seduce customers into spending more than they can afford and buying way more than they need. As customers, we need to learn how to counter this strategy. Here are several tips on how you can buy what you need, pay less than what you should, and save money.
- Always shop for groceries on a full stomach; you won’t be tempted to load your trolley with a lot of cakes, bakes and savories.
- Keep a list of the things you need. Stores stock regular purchase items all over the place, forcing you to navigate aisles full of temptations. Knowing exactly what you want to buy is the best way to avoid splurging.
- Expensive food items are placed at eye level to entice customers to purchase them. Lower priced goods of the same quality will be placed in lower or upper shelves, more difficult to see.
- Supermarkets charge differently for the same items depending which aisle you buy them. For example, a pack of dried fruit will cost more in the Snacks aisle than in the Food, Baking or World Foods aisles.
- Attractive discounts and deals are marked with bright banners saying Sale or Discount, just to attract you. The savings potential might not be more than mere cents. The real bargains are buried deep in the shop, in the prices of non-mainstream label goods.
- Plan your weekly grocery list based on the meals you’re going to make during a given week. Make a plan for using leftovers, so that you don’t buy more than necessary.
- Scour your Sunday newspaper and coupon sites for coupon deals at your store. Try clubbing coupons to increase savings, clip coupons for items on promotion and double store and manufacturer coupons whenever you can. Sign up to for store loyalty cards and newsletters to get the most recent offers.
- Do the bulk of your grocery shopping at cheap or wholesale supermarkets such as Costco. You’ll get goods at a third or half the rate you’ll be paying at regular outlets.
- It’s ok to eat non-perishable foods for a few days beyond their sell by date, which means you can save money by checking out the clearance aisle.
- Buy dried herbs, dried beans, seeds and spices in bulk. If you buy spices and dried herbs in small quantities, you’ll be paying thrice as much.
- Buy veggies and fruits at farmer’s markets or produce markets. Buy onions and potatoes by the sackful; these will keep for a long time if you store them in a cool place. Plus, you’ll be saving a lot of money.
- Take advantage of the buy-one-get-one-free offers if it’s for a product that you’re sure to be buying again next week or month.
- Don’t buy prepackaged desserts unless you’re in a hurry. Buy ingredients in bulk and cook batches of cookies, cakes and muffins that’ll last you for weeks.
- Evaluate what’s in your larder before you go food-buying. Use up everything you can and then start your new frugal buying lifestyle from scratch.
- If the product meets your standards, buy store brands instead of generic brands. Store brands are much cheaper and you’ll also get store discounts for preferring their brand over market brands.
- Set up a grocery shopping schedule so that you don’t end up impulse shopping. It’s all in the planning. If you tend to get into a store to pick up random items at the end of a tiring day, you’ll spend much more than your weekly budget.
- Be wary of marketing ploys that are designed to draw your attention to specific products. Supermarkets draw attention by placing goods in island displays, dump bins at the end of the aisle, recipe related item collage, and so on. Avoid these placements and buy items based on your research.
- Watch the scanner at the checkout counter. Checkout errors are common – sometimes an item is scanned twice and sometimes the wrong price is scanned. If you can use a self-scanning checkout counter, so do. If not, read each item’s price before handing it over to the cashier.
- Brand name items cost more than generic items. You won’t be compromising on quality or taste. You’ll only lose the security of your favorite brand’s assurance. Buy buying generic items, you can save anywhere from 10% to 50% on every shopping trip.
- Buy dried beans instead of canned ones. You can soak dried beans overnight and boil them the next day. Compare the price of a pound of dried beans versus a can of cooked beans and you can see how much you’ll save in a month.
- Watch the register especially during sales. The cash register may not be updated with sales prices, and cashiers will ring up the full price in such cases. To prevent this, put all the discounted items in a corner of your cart and personally line them up at the counter. Let these items be ringed up first.
- When you get back home, check your items. If the store has made a mistake, get back to the store and demand a payoff. Some large stores will make good the mistake and give you an item for free.
About the Author
Marina Chernyak is SAHM, frugal shopper and co-owner of 1001Shops that offers a large number of retail specialty products like – Chaise lounge chairs, vanity mirrors , hall and foyer tables and lot more.