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Avoid these grocery store traps

Avoid these grocery store traps

Hopefully you’re a savvy grocery shopper by now, but even the most disciplined consumers can be tricked into falling in these traps.

Don’t trust an endcap

The endcaps are something everyone sees, whether they venture down the aisle or not, which makes them prime real estate in a grocery store.

Expensive items are at eye level

Items that are placed at eye level tend to be much more expensive and have higher profit margins for the stores. Child items, such as cereal, are covertly placed at the eye level and hand-grab level of your cart-riding kiddo in the hopes that your kid will convince you to buy that product.

Beware the free sample

Free samples can be a double edged sword. Large grocery chains get a kickback from manufacturers for offering free samples because they tend to be purchased more than other items. They push these items, often marketed as new or improved, and people will buy them without thinking of the price. The other suspicious thing about free samples is that the store may be pushing products that are near their expiration date. Always look and make sure your items will last as long as you need and expect them to before purchase.

A sale isn’t really a sale at all

Sometimes stores will play tricks on you by saying an item is on sale, when it’s actually just a lower price. Watch out for lower unit size and grocery shrink ray and make sure that sale is actually saving you money, not just getting you to buy the product.

Coupons can make you spend more

Beware the coupon that makes you buy something you didn’t want or need because you want to take advantage of the sale. You’re not really saving yourself money if you’re buying items you normally wouldn’t just because you have a coupon.

Save produce and cold items for last

Fruits and veggies have the highest profit margin and usually have the shortest shelf life. Save the produce section for last so you’re not tempted to overbuy. This extends to cold or frozen items because if you wait until the end, you’re less likely to overbuy. It will also ensure your cold items stay cold until they hit your refrigerator.

5 Responses

  • Posted by Sarah on Feb 23, 2011

    Also, check the bagged fruit prices and see how much you can save — if you can use the fruit up before it goes bad! I buy bags of oranges and grapefruit for juicing, and I can save over a dollar per pound than buying the individual items.

  • Posted by Kristen on Feb 23, 2011

    Great advice. The free samples get me every time! I also know not to let my daughter get close enough to the shelves to grab anything or she’ll just put things in the cart. I’ve gotten a few surprises at the checkout because of her.

  • Posted by Adam on Feb 23, 2011

    I love coupons, but not enough to buy overprocessed crap with them. If it’s something I’m already going to buy, then I’ll use a coupon.

  • Posted by Clarissa on Feb 23, 2011

    I already knew grocery stores put items they want you to buy more of at eye level, but I had no idea that they always put the more expensive items at eye level too. Looks like I am going to be a little more savvy on my next trip to the grocery store.

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