Sometimes, grocery shopping can be a chore, but more than that, it can also be quite expensive. We’ve all popped into our local store for only one item, only to come out with bags full of food, spending more than we planned to. With that in mind, we have some tips on getting the best from your shopping trip. Here are 15 Money-Saving Secrets Grocery Stores Don’t Want You To Know.
15. Always Ask For A Rain Check
We all love a good sale. The excitement we get when we know something tasty is going to be on sale that week – the feeling is joyous. However, after spending days checking the flyers, the apps, and online, when the day of the sale finally arrives, the shelves are empty. Since most of the discounted food items and offers are planned by the grocery stores in advance, many people get there early and clear out the shelves. But don’t be too disheartened at the sight of those empty shelves; you can always ask for an IOU or Rain Check. If a certain sale item isn’t in stock, you can ask for a Rain Check which means that when that item is back in stock, you can get it at the sale price even if it doesn’t come back in stock for a while. Even though most people know this, a lot of people are still afraid to ask for it. Don’t be afraid to ask for a Rain Check, as it could save you quite a bit of cash.
14. The Music Makes You Spend More
It should come as no surprise that a lot of thought, money, and research goes into a grocery store and its layout. Everything, down to the smallest detail, has been planned perfectly to make you spend as much money as possible, including background music. You might have noticed that in a lot of grocery stores, there is soft, slow music playing in the background – this is chosen on purpose. The idea is that we shoppers move along with the pace of the music. The slower the tempo of the music, the slower we walk. The longer we take to shop, and the more we browse the aisle, the more we buy. This is just one of the crafty tricks that grocery store managers use against us.
13. Self Checkout Saves Money
With the huge technological advances the world has seen in recent years, it was inevitable that the high-tech world would become a big part of our shopping experience. There have been many improvements in the grocery stores, but one of the biggest game-changers was the introduction of self-checkouts. While at first, the self-checkouts hit some bumps in the road and were actually more of an obstacle than a help, they have come a long way and are now an easy and vital part of our weekly grocery shopping. Using self-checkouts regularly can even end up saving you money. There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, we tend to buy less as we don’t want to take a full shopping cart and scan the items ourselves. Secondly, and more importantly, using a self-checkout cuts down the amount of time we spend waiting in line, which means there is less time and opportunity for us to buy those last-minute, impulsive purchases. – like that candy bar and magazine you didn’t intend on buying. It may only be small savings, but, hey, every little thing helps.
12. Online Groceries
A really great way to get all the food you need while saving money is to buy your groceries online. Many grocery stores offer multiple options when it comes to online shopping. Big chain stores, such as Walmart, offer in-store pick up, curbside pick up, and free 2 day home delivery. There are many good reasons to start using one of these options. When you shop online, you are more likely to buy the things you actually need, which makes it easier to stick to your shopping list and budget. Another good reason to online grocery shop is that you can get access to a lot more offers and specials. Many stores offer exclusive specials when you shop online. As well as giving you access to their coupons, you can get an early look at up-and-coming specials and be ahead of the game. So, avoid the lineups, packed stores, and save some money – online grocery shopping really is the way to go.
11. Use The Apps
With more and more of our lives being run by apps, it’s no wonder grocery stores and supermarkets are jumping on the app bandwagon. Grocery store apps are actually a life changer and can make your shopping experience so much better and easier, all the while saving you a pretty penny or two. Downloading a supermarket app before you enter the store can help you in so many ways; you can create shopping lists, which makes it easier to stick to a budget. Plus, you can get access to exclusive deals, specials, and promotions as well as coupons and reward and loyalty points. While you can get a lot of these things by simply ordering online, the app does give you a few different perks, and it does work better for people who prefer to do their shopping in-store .
10. Don’t Be Afraid Of Generic Brands
A very simple way to save a buck or two on your weekly shopping trip is to switch from those expensive, big-name brands and go for the in-store generic brands instead. We know that buying generic or no-name brands can be off-putting to some people. They are cheaper so; therefore, they can’t be as good in quality as their more expensive counterparts – right? Well, you may be in for a surprise as the in-store brands have actually had a big jump in quality in recent years while keeping their low prices. Many tests and surveys have been done, and most people can’t tell the difference between certain generic brands and big-name items. Not only that, but the in-store brands usually also have a lot more selection and choices these days. The choice of gluten-free, lactose-free, and other allergy-free foods is a lot bigger than it used to be. So, there is no need to be afraid of the in-store generic brands anymore.
9. Product Placement Is Big Business
As with most things at a grocery store, nothing is left to chance, and nothing is done by accident. This goes for the shelf layout as well. A lot of companies and manufacturers pay millions of dollars each year in order to get their products placed in the best spots – and that highly prized space is right in the customer’s eye line. We can’t help but be drawn to the things that are directly in front of us, especially if we are in a rush. However, just by taking a few extra seconds to look around the shelves – up and down, left and right – you’ll find yourself saving money and finding the same products, only cheaper. You’ll also be showing the big corporations that you’re not going to fall for their tricks.
We’ve mentioned on our list of money-saving secrets some great ways to save money using the internet: whether that’s online or with the supermarket’s app. However, for those of you out there that still like to shop old-school style and like to use coupons, then there are plenty of them still out there. Obviously, online is a great place to find coupons. There are many websites and apps that have a ton of coupons and offers for you to print off and use. On top of that, most supermarkets still print off their flyers and circulars weekly with paper coupons and a list of what’s on special. This may be a little old-fashioned to some of us, but it’s still worth checking out as it can save you quite a bit of money each trip.
7. Don’t Shop When Hungry
Our next entry isn’t a trick or a secret as such, but more of a good piece of advice. We have all had those moments when we go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Everything looks and smells amazing, and we end up filling our shopping cart with more than we wanted. The simple solution is to eat something before you go out grocery shopping. It may not sound like much, but going to the supermarket on a full stomach helps you focus more on what you need rather than buying impulse items. Incidentally, another tip for those budget-friendly shopping trips is to use a basket rather than a cart. It’s no secret that shopping carts have gotten bigger over the years, and that’s to trick us into buying more items to fill the empty-looking cart. So, if you don’t want to spend too much on your next shopping trip, remember to eat before you go and grab a basket or use the mini shopping carts.
6. Plan Ahead
A great and simple trick to save money on your grocery trip is to have a shopping list. This may seem a little obvious, but you would be amazed by how many people go to the supermarket with only a vague idea of what they want. When that happens, the shopping bill tends to go way up, and we end up with items we’ll never even use. Sticking to a shopping list will reduce those impulse buys and will help you stick to your budget. It will also stop us from going multiple times a week to the store to pick up the one item we forgot. And let’s be honest, when we go to the store, we can never buy just one item. So, sticking to a strict shopping list is key to staying within a budget and minimizing the cost. As well as having a shopping list, planning the week’s meals is also a good idea. Checking exactly what you have in the pantry and writing down a meal plan will help you focus. You can also plan your meals around the upcoming specials and discounts to further save money.
5. Know The Store
We’ve all walked around different grocery stores and thought to ourselves that they all look alike. The layout, decor, and arrangement seems pretty much the same in all supermarkets. Well, this isn’t by accident. There is a lot of money, market research, and even some scientific data that go into creating a supermarket layout, and it’s all designed to make us spend more money. The first thing you will notice in most supermarkets is that bread, flowers, and produce are usually the first things we see. That is because the smells, colors, and look of those particular items are designed to excite us, make us feel good and even hungry so that we spend more money. The flow of an average grocery store is also done on purpose and is meant to lead us through unnecessary aisles before we get to staple foods we need. This is in order for us to buy more impulsive items that we don’t really need. Knowing the layout of your local supermarket and where the items you need are will really help with spending less and buying unwanted items.
4. Buy In Season
We all know that we need to eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Whether this is a chore or whether this is something that you enjoy, fresh produce can be expensive and can take up a big portion of our weekly budget. A great way to get plenty of fresh fruits and veggies on a budget is to buy what is in season. This way, they will not only be fresher but also way cheaper as they are more in abundance during a particular season. Buying fresh items out of season can be big money as more often than not, these items have to be imported and cost a lot more. Learn what is local and which season is best to buy certain items, and you will find yourself saving plenty of money while still getting those fresh items in your diet.
3. Check The Unit Price
When shopping on a budget, it can sometimes be difficult to know what a good deal is if you don’t know what exactly everything costs before checking out. With so many big colorful stickers and price tags before our eyes, sticking to a budget can be confusing and complicated. A good way to work out what is actually a good deal is to check the unit price. All items in any supermarket have the unit price of an item listed on the shelf, although it can be written in very small print. However, a quick look at the shelves, and you will see the information you need. Bringing a calculator, or using a calculator on your phone, will help you be able to accurately work out how to get the best bang for your buck.
2. Get To The Store Early
We have all had experiences of going to the supermarket after work and finding the shelves empty, especially if there is a good sale going on. A good way to get around this is to get to the store as early as possible. Most stores stock their shelves during off-peak times, such as first thing in the morning or overnight. Getting there early will ensure that you get your hands on the best products. Not only that, but many supermarkets also markdown produce as soon as the store opens, as well as some of the fresh items such as meat and baked goods from the day before. Getting to the store early may help you get some great deals.
1. Buy In Bulk
One of the best tips to save money and stay on a budget when grocery shopping is to buy in bulk. Especially items such as pasta, rice, nuts, and the like. These items are far cheaper when bought in bulk from many stores. You can also buy bulk items online for a lot cheaper than you can in-store. Using this tip and buying as many items in bulk as possible will really help you stick to a budget since it will limit the number of times you go to the store and buy those unnecessary impulse items. It will also ensure that your pantry is always stocked with those essential items that make it easier to plan the daily meals.