Sneaky Supermarket Tricks and How To Beat Them
Make your food go further
Keep a good supply of canned, frozen and dried foods you know everyone in your household will eat. That way, even when your fridge is looking a little sad, you’ll still have options and won’t have to rush out for extras.
According to the excellent Lovefoodhatewaste website around one third of the food we buy in the UK gets thrown away. They explain that it’s largely related to dishing up portions which are too large. You can check out their portion planner to avoid this.Aï¿½
Look out for their tricks
1. Sweets and goodies near the checkout
Supermarkets earn a fortune from tired, hungry and irritable shoppers by placing appealing snacks right at the checkout so you can ‘treat yourself’. So never go shopping when you’re hungry! It might sound obvious, but you’ll end up buying things you don’t need.
2. Pretty packaging
The reason people don’t tend to buy supermarket own brand produce is because it’s purposely packaged to appear bland and unappealing. But these products, more often than not, offer better value for money than supermarket ‘Finest’ or ‘Taste the Difference’ ranges.
3. Special Offers
Big writing and colourful signs make us feel like we’re winners and the supermarket is giving us something for free. This is NEVER true. Suppliers pay the supermarkets to have their products placed in a prime position and on special offer because they know it will get customers to buy their product, even if they wouldn’t usually.
Buy-one-get-one-free offers can be useful, but only if you were going to buy the product anyway. Buy two for Aï¿½X can also be good, but always remember to look at how much the item costs individually. Only buy the item if the saving is significant.
4. Real Offers – product reductions
Supermarket stock that doesn’t shift gets reduced and these are genuine bargains.
Take advantage of them by finding out when your local supermarket gets rid of its stock (this is usually later in the evenings or on Sundays). Aï¿½A lot of the time stock near its use-by date is still perfectly fine to eat so get in there! Much more produce will be sold at bargain prices as it reaches its use by date and most of the things you buy you’ll be able to freeze so you won’t have to use them straight away.
5. Dirty display tricks
Supermarkets stack their shelves tactically by putting the most expensive items at eye-level to make you spend more. Look above and below and you can often get better deals.
Men are apparently more susceptible to eye catching displays in supermarkets, so be strong guys!
6. The supermarket maze
All supermarkets follow a similar overall layout. Fresh produce is all stocked around the outer limits of the store whereas pre-packed, processed and frozen foods are placed in the centre of the store.
They do this on purpose. It means that to get to the stuff you need, you have to look at all the stuff you don’t, which will coax you into buying more.
If you’re looking for tea bags, it’s no accident that biscuits just happen to be next to them. Supermarkets pair up like for like products knowing that you’re more likely to end up buying both.
To beat them at their own game, stick to the perimeter. If you have to go into the middle, use the aisle signs to go straight to the product you need. Then you won’t be looking at unnecessary items.
7. ‘Convenient’ bags and packets – loose is cheaper
Buying items like fruit or vegetables loose is invariably cheaper than buying them in bags or packets. This is because the supermarket has to pay for the materials and overheads for the factory where they pack them which all adds up to a bigger price tag.
Do it yourself for free. You’ll also help the environment by saving on packaging and producing less waste. If you need two apples, why buy six? Chances are the extra will end up in the bin.
8. Weight comparison
Supermarkets have to give the price per weight or volume of each item. This is great for shoppers as it means we can look at how much the item really costs per 100g or kg and we can easily compare prices.
However, supermarkets tend to show the price in different units for similar products. They might mark own brand orange juice as 52p per litre and Delmonte orange juice as 8p per 100ml. This is meant to confuse you and stop you comparing prices.
A litre is 1000ml so that means a litre of Delmonte costs 10 times 8p – 80p. This is actually more than the own brand, but it seems like it’s less when you just look at it because of the smaller unit measurement.
Top Shopping Tips
Here’s just a few extra tips to help you save as much as you possibly can:
Before you go shopping have a look on Mysupermarket. You can compare prices of items at all the major supermarkets, so you’ll be well prepared when you reach the shops.
Try not to visit the supermarket when you only need 2 pints of milk – you’ll just end up buying things you don’t need. Visit a corner shop instead.
Try eating one or two vegetarian meals a week and you’ll be able to cut back on the meat you buy and save a small fortune.
Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season – not only is this better for the environment, it’ll help your wallet too! Produce shipped from overseas incurs more transport costs and is therefore always more expensive.
Buy staples (like rice and pasta) in bulk as they work out cheaper, last for ages and you know you’ll always use them. It’s worth checking out the bargain basement supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl Netto for these kind of products to get more bang for your buck.