Going food shopping is an everyday chore dreaded by most. The only time I really enjoy it, is when I’m at a little specialty shop and it’s my first trip. I look at everything they have on the shelves and bring home all sorts of new-found condiments, cheeses and other deliciousness.
But when it comes to regular old food shopping, I’d rather not go. I try to make only one major trip to the market per month and then stop in for perishables when needed. It’s one of the ways I keep to my budget and avoid over spending.
That’s the thing – supermarkets love to use tricks that get you to go over budget.
Supermarket Tricks That Get You To Buy More
1. Colors and Smells
We’ve all been there. You step in the door and you’re immediately taken over by the smell of freshly baked bread. It’s like you’ve entered a trance and unconsciously head for the bakery.
Or inside the store you’re greeted by rows and rows of beautiful and happy flowers. I know it instantly turns my frown upside down.
Supermarkets use to their advantage colors and smells to entice you to buy more. They know you’ll have a visceral response to that bread, and that those flowers will lift your spirits. So they strategically place them in areas where they’re hoping you’ll forget about your well thought out list and buy impulsively.
It’s a deliberate attempt to snag more of your cash.
2. Supersize Shopping Carts
The larger the cart, the more likely you are to overspend. The bigger the cart, the less it looks like you spent, when the opposite is actually true.
Stay away from larger carts if you can. Now you know, if you are presented with a supersize cart, realize what the retailer is doing and stick to your list. Be happy with how ‘few’ items you purchased.
3. Endcaps and Front of the Store Offerings
All the best stuff is found on the endcaps and at the front of the store. You’ll find all those unnecessary purchases at easy to see and easy to grab locations.
This is purposeful in an attempt to have you buy more of what you don’t need.
Try shopping the middle isles first for your staple items so you can mentally prepare to shop the remainder of the store.
4. Placing Essentials Out of the Way
You’re out of milk. You head to the store to grab a gallon. When you check out not only do you have that gallon, but a bunch of other stuff you never intended on purchasing.
Supermarkets intentionally place essentials like milk and bread at the furthest point in the store, thereby requiring you to walk through the entire store just to get to it.
While you’re walking from one end of the store to the other, you end up buying other items (often goodies or junk food) you had no intentions on buying.
5. Strategic Shelving:
Ever notice how sugar cereal is placed at the eye level of a child? Or how certain higher priced items can be found at eye level?
Supermarkets purposefully place those items in a manner that will draw you in and get you (or your kid) to grab an item and throw it in the cart.
One way to be victorious over strategic shelving is to shop at different markets so you’re forced to look for what you need rather than allowing your eye to be drawn to things you don’t.
6. Try Before You Buy
I was at BJ’s Wholesale Club the other day. I never shop there unless I need something in bulk, which I did for my daughter’s baby shower.
The aisles were loaded with representatives offering free samples of just about anything consumable. Pizza, bagel bits, dip, soup. It was unbelievable. If you’re hungry and you don’t mind eating crap, you can have yourself a complete meal at these places.
This is another very successful trick to get you to buy things you had no intention of buying before you tried it. Fact of the matter, most of what they offer in the form of a sample, isn’t really good for you, so skip it.
7. Frozen They Sell As Fresh
I just recently found out this little trick because the guy at the fish counter was kind enough to explain it to me.
A lot of fish that you purchase thinking it’s ‘fresh’ is really previously frozen, thawed and sold to you as fresh. They then jack up the price and sell it to you.
Buy frozen and you’ll save more money than buying it ‘fresh’ – somewhere around 40%.
8. Endcap Sales
Most consumers mistakenly believe that items found on the endcaps of aisles are on sale. But this isn’t true. Only half of all items found on endcaps are on sale.
Make sure an item is really on sale by looking for sale signs or checking the stores circular.
9. Check Out Sales
All that waiting in line to check out is just another opportunity to get you to make an impulse purchase.
Whether it’s a magazine, some gum or candy because it’s sitting there tormenting your child, supermarkets know you’ll end up grabbing something while you’re mindlessly waiting to check out.
If your supermarket offers self-checkout, consider using this option to keep these purchases out of reach.
Food is expensive.
It will be difficult to shop and not make unnecessary purchases or to resist the enticement.
Take the time to make your shopping list so that you buy only what you need and you stick to your budget.