Being tricked into spending more on groceries can happen! Have you ever left a supermarket with a cart full of groceries when you only intended to pop in for a few items? Have you wondered how you have possibly managed to spend so much after all of those great offers you picked up? Although we like to think we are in control when we shop, supermarket chains have long since been deploying marketing tactics designed to encourage you to part with your cash. Everything from the layout of the store to those ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offers are there to tempt or pressure you into spending more, thus maximizing their profits. In order to cut down on your over-spending you need to not only be aware of these tricks, but also find more frugal ways of honing your own shopping habits. Here are a few things you should be aware of next time you visit a supermarket.
Hone your shopping habits
Adjusting your shopping habits to ensure that you are in the right frame of mind to shop sensibly is perhaps the first step in learning to save money. Studies show that shopping when you are hungry makes you much more likely to buy more food and spend more money; so ensure you have a full stomach before shopping if you want to have a full wallet by the end of it.
Doing a weekly shop is also thought to be cheaper than several smaller shops throughout the week. With the rise of internet shopping many consumers are opting to order their groceries online. Although there is a small charge for having your shopping delivered, it may be less than the additional money you’d be coaxed into spending on non-essential items in store. There are also exclusive online offers and coupons – not to mention being much more convenient.
Be aware of product placement
Product placement is everything in marketing and although you might not realize it, most products are strategically positioned to entice you into spending more. For example when you enter a store you will usually be greeted by flowers, seasonal goods or sweet smelling, fresh foods all of which are designed to engage your senses and put you in a positive mood ready for spending.
You will almost always find that day-to-day groceries such as bread and milk are located way within the depths of the store (often around the aisles or in the back), meaning that you’ll need to walk through it and see everything else on offer before you can make those essential purchases.
The shelves themselves will always house expensive, branded goods at eye level with cheaper alternatives closer to the bottom. Special offers and deals are often placed at the end of aisles where you can quickly spot them. And on the subject of offers…
Don’t be fooled by special offers
‘BUY ONE GET ONE FREE’ or ‘TWO FOR $5’ garish placards might declare. Sounds good right? But not if the items ‘on offer’ were only $2.50 to begin with! Likewise certain products might be advertised as being an offer when actually the price hasn’t changed at all. There are undoubtedly some savings to be made when stores run promotional offers but don’t be sucked in to believing that every single one will save you a lot of money. Often they are just ways to manipulate you into believing that bulk buying can save you money when really the savings are minimal or non-existent.
Layout and design
Retailers may argue that the aisle system is the only feasible way of housing and organizing such an array of products. This may be true but it also acts as a way of herding consumers around the entire store like sheep! The narrow aisles can become crowded and stressful leading you to panic buy in the spur of the moment. Similarly, checkout aisles are notoriously narrow meaning that if you have a change of heart about a purchase at the point of payment you are unable to reverse in order to put it back. In addition to these ways of being tricked into spending more on groceries, of course the checkout aisles are also well stocked with candy, magazines and other tempting things that you (or your children) may be drawn to as you wait in line.
Usually, however, one of the primary aims of the store is to keep you browsing in the store for as long as possible and this means creating a pleasant ambiance. For this reasons supermarkets are usually light, airy and often have relaxing music playing in the background. One psychological study also suggests that there is a deliberate lack of windows and clocks so that shoppers lose track of how long they have been in there.
What to do?
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach.
- Ask yourself if you’re buying something because of a fragrance, such as the smell of the bakery, or because you really need it?
- Sampling something and now you want to buy it? Is it on sale? Buy it only IF you can afford the item and know it will be eaten.
- Shop the periphery of the store, where the meat, produce and milk are…and the fewest marked up items that are not on your grocery list.
- Are you enjoying your experience? Keep track of time and don’t linger too long…the longer you’re in a store, the more you’ll spend.
Thank you to Gemma Raynes for this info to help you save $$$ at the grocery store!
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