Entering a grocery store is literally psychological warfare. Even if you’re just there for a couple of items, marketers are trying to trick you into spending as much money as possible every time you step inside. Don’t fall for their ploys. Instead, test out these clever tips when it’s time to head out to stock up on grub.
When clerks restock the shelves, they place the more expensive brands at eye level. If you’re shopping for cereal, they’ll put the boxes with Anna and Elsa at a child’s eye level, so they’ll beg for that one. Make sure to look at the lower levels for a better price.
Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach is playing with fire. Everything looks so delicious. When you shop with your stomach, you’ll probably end up buying random items that might not have been on your list. Also, being hangry and dealing with crowds is never fun.
There are some items you can’t escape purchasing, like toilet paper, hand soap, and pet food. For the nonperishable stuff you’re always using, buy in bulk. Yes, going through 200 rolls of TP may take a while, but you’re getting a better deal per unit compared to purchasing 12 rolls.
While buying that discount card and getting those sweet, sweet savings is definitely a kind of high, make sure the discounts are actually good deals. Sometimes stores like to be sneaky and pretend a discount is a better deal than it actually is. A good way to do this is to check to the price per unit information on the item tags.
It’s kind of exciting to see the little fruit and veggie mister give the produce a shower, but this is also a trick! The water makes the produce heavier, so you’ll pay more at check out. If the liquid gets stuck in the produce, it causes it to rot faster, so you’ll have to return for more.
It’s easy to get into a habit of buying the same amount of the same items when you’re at the store. If you’re a fiend for almond milk or cereal, pay extra attention to when these items are on sale, so you can buy more when they’re cheaper and save some money.
Shopping with children is a guarantee for spending too much at the store. Marketers love to place brightly colored items at a child’s eye level, as we mentioned earlier. Also, grocery shopping isn’t the most exciting activity in the world, so having your children there will only make it harder.
Onions are such a versatile ingredient, perfect for a variety of dishes. You can actually buy them in bulk and keep them fresh by storing them in a pair of pantyhose. Tack them up in your pantry and your onions should last for about eight months. So, stock up if you see your favorite variety on sale.
If you have trouble remembering what groceries you’ve consumed, keep a running list on a whiteboard in your kitchen. This will help keep your pantry perfectly stocked and streamline your shopping trips. You can also draw cute cartoons on it to amuse your roommates/family members.
Not a list maker? That’s okay. Another method of keeping your groceries organized is taking a picture of what’s in your refrigerator and pantry before shopping. Without some kind of guide, it’s dangerously easy to overspend and also have plenty of duplicate items at home.
Buying fruits and vegetables that are in-season means saving money and eating better-tasting food. For instance, tomatoes in the winter are bland. The produce will often be on sale plenty of times during the season when the store over-orders.
Depending on where you’re shopping, the store probably offers some kind of perks card for free. To get the best deals, sign up for membership. You’ll see plenty of these deals advertised throughout the store, so look out for great deals on your favorite grocery items.
If the cheese is being specially displayed at the cheese counter, watch out! It’s going to be pricey. For a much better value, shop by the dairy section. This is normally filled with store brands of cheese or other cheaper brands, like Kraft.
If you’re shopping during the dreaded Sunday afternoon rush, you’re probably going to spend more money. Seeing others filling up their carts for the week subconsciously influences you to do the same. Humans are social animals and do their best to follow others’ leads.
Instead of relying on store-bought goods, growing your own food is another huge money saver. It’s incredibly affordable to grow tomatoes, potatoes, onions, strawberries, and leafy greens at home. One of the best things to grow is fresh herbs, as store-bought “fresh” herbs aren’t as good and are super expensive.
Bread is a staple on most Americans’ grocery lists. It’s also something that’s often on sale. If you want to take advantage of a good bread deal, you can freeze it and eat it later. Keep your current loaf in the fridge for maximum freshness as well.
Chop these off your grocery list! Buying some kind of water filter is much cheaper than constantly re-upping on enormous packages of bottled water. It’s also much better for the environment than single-use plastic bottles. With a water filter, you can justify buying a fancy metal water bottle, like a Hydroflask.
Since you’re taking the time to go to the store, make sure you’re actually going to use those ingredients. Plan your meals for the week and then finalize your shopping list. This will help keep you focused and cut down on food waste. Also, finding new recipes is kind of exciting too!
The grocery store is extremely overstimulating. To keep your sanity, bring some headphones and listen to your favorite music or podcast while you shop. You’ll be entertained and not have to worry about random people talking to you. Win-win, baby.
If you’re one of those people who like to buy all of their groceries in one trip, bring a laundry basket or another storage container when you’re grocery shopping. Then, you can load your grocery bags into your basket and haul them back home in a single trip.
If you’re looking to only grab the essentials — bread, milk, eggs — shop around the perimeter of the store. Avoiding the center aisles will let you bypass the allure of junk food. Your bank account and your body will thank you!
Buying in bulk is usually cheaper, but that’s not always the case. Opting for a couple of smaller containers rather than one big one could be smarter. Just do a little math to compare the costs and amounts of food. And yes, you can use your phone calculator.
There could be cheaper grocery options than your local store. Farmer’s markets have good deals, particularly later in the day when vendors are looking to sell off their remaining inventory.
Although chicken is usually more affordable than other meats, think twice before picking up a pack of boneless breasts. You can save extra dough by buying thighs instead, or even a whole chicken! It’s way cheaper per pound and provides multiple meals.
You don’t have to be a newsie to stock up on newspapers, especially the Sunday edition. If you spot a great deal in the coupon section, buy a whole bunch. During your next visit to the store, you’ll be saving a lot of extra, extra cash.
We all know how fragile eggs are, and yet tons of people don’t check out the eggs inside their carton. Obviously, any cracked shells are a no-go. And if any break on your trip home, please do not eat them!
Your saving strategies don’t stop once you put your groceries in the fridge. Surprising as it sounds, sour cream and cottage cheese will last longer if you store them upside down.
It literally pays off to be friendly with your butcher. Tougher cuts of meats naturally come at a lower cost, but if you have pals behind the counter, they might just be nice enough to tenderize it for you.
Does your supermarket cashier look bored and totally out of it? That’s a sign that you should probably keep an eye on the register. If not, you could wind up having items scanned multiple times.
Online grocery shopping may be less of a luxury than you think. Sure, delivery fees will sink your budget, but many companies have the option to pick up your food in-store. That’ll save you time and money.
“Layering” isn’t just a fashion term anymore. It also means applying multiple coupons to a single item, as long as the fine print allows it. You’ll end up paying a fraction of full price, plus you’ll get a decent workout clipping all those coupons.
Remember, the expiration dates aren’t just a suggestion. You can make your dairy products last longer by digging around for items with the latest dates. Stores often like to push the older milk toward the front, so don’t be afraid to reach way in the back.
You don’t want to spend your entire grocery budget on cold medicine, do you? It’s smart to wipe down the handle of your shopping cart before you browse the aisles. Supermarket employees rarely clean them, so they get covered in germs.
Don’t let the fancy pink salt fool you. Almost all kinds of salt are chemically the same, but if you want to avoid any added agents in table salt, opt for the kosher variety. It’s pure, and it comes in larger flakes!
How do you sell snacks and candy to people who don’t want them? Place them right in the checkout lane! This way, when lines are long, customers can grab a quick bite while they wait.
It’s been proven that customers are more likely to buy an item if they’re able to hold and inspect it thoroughly. That’s why items like produce and snacks are placed close to the store entrance — so as many people as possible see and then touch them.
When customers see a particular item is selling out, or there are very few left, it leaves them feeling like they need to take advantage and buy one. Who knows when the store will restock?
No one likes to spend time in a place with unpleasant odors, and that’s why stores put a lot of effort into their smells. Flowers and savory food are great ways to entice guests to keep lingering in hopes they’ll buy more.
According to a study done by the Journal of Consumer Research, customers are inclined to buy more if they’re given a free sample while they shop. Something as simple as a free piece of chocolate or a sample of alcohol can coax people into purchasing much more expensive things.
The first thing anyone notices about a store is its visuals. Keeping the vibrant and lively-colored items like produce near the front to welcome the customers usually puts people in a better mood — and happier customers spend more cash.