How to spend less at the grocery store
Written by Preet Banerjee

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Imagine yourself and a few friends trying out paintball for the first time. Your opponents? U.S. Navy SEALS on their day off. Hardly seems like a fair fight, does it?

But that's similar to walking into a supermarket to do your groceries. Every inch of that building has been designed by an army of consultants intent on getting you to spend more. Here are five of the strategies they use, followed by some tips to help you spend less.

Higher margin products are placed at eye-level

Walk down the aisles and you'll notice that the flashy, big-name brands are within easy reach. Generic alternatives, which are money savers, may be above or below these products on the shelves. Sometimes the difference in price is due to quality, and sometimes it's due to the difference in the cost of the products' marketing campaigns.

Products aimed at kids are at lower eye-level

In the sections that appeal to kids, take note of what's at their eye-level, or within reach. Sometimes it might be worth trying to stuff your 10 year old into the little toddler seat in the grocery cart to keep him or her from grabbing at everything they pass. Just make sure the cart doesn't tip over.

Staples are as far away as possible

When you enter the store you'll never find milk, butter, or eggs nearby. You'll almost always have to cross to the very other side of the store, and possibly to the opposite corner too. Why? So you can walk past everything else in the hopes of picking up some impulse buys.

... and spaced out too

Did you want toast with your eggs? That's also going to be far from the entrance, but not right next to all the other staple items. Remember, the more they get you moving, the more you're going to be tempted by other items.

They call it "point of sale" for a reason

We've all seen the elaborate point of sale (POS) displays with the candy, chocolates, and gossip rags at the check-out. These all have high-impulse purchase potential.

To draw up your own battle action plan when doing the groceries, keep these tips in mind:



  • Avoid shopping on an empty stomach. This will help cut down the impulse buys.



  • Experiment with no-name and generic brands. If you like them, you can save big bucks.



  • Consider making a list and sticking to it. When you know exactly what you want, you're less likely to mill through all the aisles to see if there's anything that sticks out at you. Because a lot will.


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