It’s happened to the best of us- you head to the grocery store on the way home from work to buy a carton of milk and come home 90 bucks later, loaded with everything from lunch meat to fresh fish. Try as you might to explain yourself, the whole thing just happened so fast, you can’t exactly pinpoint what came over you. Keep yourself from falling prey to the lure of those florescent lights with this list of supermarket tricks and ways to save money at the grocery store.
These supermarket shopping tips and tricks will have you saving on your favorite noms in no time. We’ll show you how to avoid grocery store fails like the impulse buy and the sneaky marketing maneuver. These supermarket secrets will reveal some of the most common tactics grocery stores use to get you to buy more, so you can be armed and ready the next time they strike. We’ll also explore some of the most common things that shoppers do to unknowingly set an ill-fated food run into motion.
So grab that shopping cart with the bum wheel and dive on in for a grocery shopping makeover. You’ll learn to give yourself all the right advantages by exploring tips and tricks for food stores like when to shop and how to make your food last longer. We’ll even give you a few ideas on how to replenish your own grocery supply without ever setting foot inside a grocery store.
Whether you’re a coupon clipper or a life hack lover, this grocery shopping advice will stretch your dollar. Upvote the most helpful grocery store hacks and let the supermarket savings begin.
Keep a Couple of Laundry Baskets in Your Trunk
Load your bags into them when you bring them out to the car. It’ll make them easier to carry in when you get home.
Put Your Smart Phone Camera to Good Use
Snap a picture of the inside of your fridge and pantry before taking off to the grocery store. This way you’ll never forget whether or not you already have a certain item.
Look a Little Lower
Grocery clerks are often told to place name brand and more expensive items at eye level in order to increase sales. Glance down however, and you may find a different brand (or store brand) of the same item being sold at a cheaper price.
Eat Before You Go
Not going grocery shopping when you’re hungry is one of the easiest ways to cut down on impulse buys. You’d be surprised how many fewer items a full stomach will try to convince you to buy verses a hungry one.
Know Your Food’s Limits
While some foods spoil quickly, others may be good for longer than you think. Check out this handy chart when in doubt and only buy what you’ll be able to use before it goes bad.
Make a List
Know exactly what you’re shopping for. This will cut down on the need to go down aisles that contain items you don’t actually need, even if your stomach insists they’re a good idea at the time.
Notice What You Buy
Studies show that 80% of shoppers tend to buy the same things every time they shop. Look over your receipt or shopping list and be mindful of the stuff you buy a lot. This way you can specifically check to see if it’s on sale and strike like a bulk buying bandit when it is.
Leave the Little Guys at Home
We know you love your kids, but trust us when we say that leaving them at home when you grocery shop is a good way to ensure that that stays true. Let’s face it, grocery shopping can be boring even for grown ups. Give yourself the advantage of being able to take your time and concentrate on your list by leaving the little ones at home.
The Mist Might Be Misleading You
You know those little misters that periodically spray the fruits and vegetables? Although they make the products look really pretty, they can also cause them to be heavier and to rot faster. Make sure you give that lettuce a good shake before putting it in the bag.
Make Sure Sales Are Actually a Better Deal
Believe it or not, sales may or may not always be the best deal. Before you decide to buy 10 cans of tuna for $10, make sure the individual cans aren’t 85 cents a piece.
Don’t Be Shy About Stocking up on Onions
Next time you see onions on sale at the store, go crazy. Grab yourself a pair of cheap pantyhose to store them in and you’ll be able to keep your onions edible for up to eight months. Just make sure to tie a knot between each one and then hang it in your pantry.
Invest in Lunches You Can Take to Work or School
In all the excitement, don’t forget to stock up on lunch items. Taking your own lunch to school or work can save you a ton of money verses eating out every day.
Don’t Be Taken in by the Allure of the Cheese Counter
A lot of the same cheeses you’ll find displayed in all their glory in the cheese counter are available a lot cheaper in the cheese aisle. The packaging may not be as fancy, but the savings you’ll enjoy are a killer consolation prize.
Don’t Assume a Flyer Only Includes Sale Items
Keep in mind that just because something is featured in a store’s flyer, doesn’t mean it’s on sale or a great deal. It may just mean they want you to buy it!
Know What Produce Is in Season
Try to make sure you stay on top of which produce items are in season – those that are will be less expensive than those that are not.
Never Underestimate the 99 Cent Store
If you’re willing to invest the time, taking a trip to the 99 cent store can actually save some you cash. Though there are certain items (like meat) you’ll want to consult your common sense about whether or not to cut corners on, some of these places have great deals on things like produce and condiments.
There’s a Reason for the Brown Bags Fresh Bread Is Often Sold In
Ironically, fresh bread is often sold to customers in an open paper bag in order to make sure it won’t stay fresh for long. The longer your bread is exposed to fresh air, the faster it goes stale, presenting you with the need to buy a whole knew loaf. Combat this sneakiness by putting it in an air tight bag as soon as you can.
Check out Lozo.com
This cool little website lets you enter your grocery list and then finds you coupons for the items that are on sale.
Plan Your Meals for the Week in Advance
Another great way to avoid wasting money on groceries is to plan out your meals in advance. Knowing exactly what meals you’re going to make in a given week makes it way easier to only buy the items you really need.
You’d Be Surprised How Many Things Can Be Regrown From Scraps
With a little research, you might be surprised to discover how many food items can be regrown from scraps. Allowing your groceries to rejuvenate can be a fun way to save cash.
Make Sure You Read Sale Signs Carefully
If you’re going to buy an item on the advice of a sign announcing its sale price, make sure you read carefully! Many sales only apply to one to a particular brand or under certain circumstances. So before you commit to buying a discount item, make sure you don’t have to buy five of them to enjoy the sale.
Shop When the Store Is Least Crowded
Studies show that people who shop when stores are crowded tend to buy more. It all goes back to some nonsense about fitting into the group inflicted by the subconscious. Don’t let it happen to you!
Start Your Own Herb Garden
Buying fresh herbs at the grocery store can often cost the as much as just buying the whole plant. Might as well go for it and start your own little herb garden!
Look for the Fine Print at the Fresh Seafood Counter
Sometimes grocery stores will put out “fresh” items that are actually labeled “previously frozen” in fine print. If you’re willing to thaw them yourself, you might as well buy the same product for 40% less in the frozen food section.
Skip the Non-Food Items
While it may be tempting to pick up that bag of $20 cat litter just so you don’t have to run to another store later, beware. You’re probably going to pay higher prices for non-food items at the grocery store than you would pretty much anywhere else.
BYOM – Bring Your Own Music
Ever notice how grocery stores play super slow music? It’s no accident. The average supermarket plays tunes that are much slower than the average heartbeat. The effect is meant to slow you down so that you’ll linger, which studies show causes the average person to buy 29% more at the store. Bring your own headphones, crank some upbeat hip-hop, and fly through the aisles like a crackhead on a treadmill.
Know That Your Kid’s Love of Cereal Is No Accident
Considering that many cereal covers feature cartoons, friendly characters, and bright colors, we’ll give you one guess as to who they are marketed to. That’s right, your kids! This is another reason why it may be best to leave the tykes at home when you shop.
See If Your Store Offers Gift Cards Online
Many stores offer gift cards online for less than the value they can be used for. See if this is true for your favorite grocery store and if so, buy a couple of those bad boys for yourself and use them to shop.
Buy a Water Filter, Not Bottled Water
Though we aren’t suggesting you just white knuckle it if your faucet water tastes like it came directly out from under the Santa Monica pier, bottled water can be a real money waster. Don’t hesitate to splurge on a water filter and reusable water bottle if it’d be cheaper in the long run.
Don’t Be Afraid to Coupon Clip
Though it may seem a little old school, don’t be afraid to clip a few coupons every now and then. If you overwhelm easily at the sight of the Sunday coupon ads, just pick out the flyer for the store you’re mostly likely to shop at and give it a skim. These days coupons can even be found online.
Stick to the List with Ninja-Like Focus
Unfortunately, lists can often descend into chaos if you don’t stick to them with laser focus. Tempting as it may be to add another item to the cart, don’t do it unless you’ve got an incredible excuse like needing it to complete a certain meal.
Make Your Final Cuts Before You Get to the Cash Register
Before you head up to the cash register, find your own private little corner of the chips aisle and do a final cut, weeding out items you don’t really need. Not only is it less embarrassing to ditch items you can live without in private, some stores have actually narrowed their checkout aisles in order to discourage it.
Subscribe to the Magazines You Troll Most Often in the Checkout Line
If there’s a certain magazine at the grocery store you always seem to end up buying despite your best efforts, just subscribe to it. It will be way cheaper in the long run.
Explore the Milk Market
Grocery stores in general don’t usually have the best prices on milk. Milk sold in convenience stores or drug stores tends to be cheaper by up to 50 cents a gallon.