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Avoid Supermarket Hell

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Supermarket Savvy

Avoid Supermarket Hell

Ever wonder how we ended up leaving the market with more than what we intended to buy? When we walk into a supermarket, we buy roughly 40% more than we wanted to — it’s all impulse buying!Supermarkets are designed to encourage the consumer to spend more at every corner and aisle of the store. Here’s how to navigate your local supermarket.

Typical Store Layout: Entrance


When consumers walk in to a supermarket and are greeted by beautiful flowers it suggests to them that the store is 'fresh'.

TIP:Buy supermarket flowers for convenience, not value - the prices might be lower but the flowers are rarely as fresh as local florists.


It's at the entrance in order to enhance your visual appeal of the store.

TIP:Firstly, when choosing your produce, always remember to pick from the back of the pile (carefully, or you'll rarely escape the runaway apple) - retailers generally put their oldest stock in the front or on top to encourage you to pick this first. Secondly, try and buy your produce in season, you as this can save you money.Have you ever wondered which fruits and vegetables are in season during which months of the year - check out our list. Lastly, try to buy your produce during the week as most deliveries come in Monday through Friday.


The enticing smells of the bakery certainly gets your juices jumping which in turns makes you feel hungry and that in turn... makes you want to buy more!

TIP:'Eat before you go' should be your mantra before grocery shopping - we guarantee it will save you money!

Typical Store Layout: End of Aisles

End-cap Displays:

This is the prime real estate and shelf the high-profit items.Most shoppers assume that these items are on sale but generally they are not and are in fact more expensive than similar items found down the aisle.

Tip:Pick up the items on your shopping list from the shelving down the aisles.

Typical Store Layout: Back of the Store


In order to get to those essential items on your list we have to pass a minefield of temptations as the milk, butter, meat and eggs are generally located at the back of the store.Supermarkets know that the longer you stay in the store the more you will be tempted to purchase items not on your list.

TIP:Stick to your list and head straight for the items you need.

Typical Store Layout: Check Out

Magazines and Candy

These items are placed here because the supermarket knows that they have a captive audience as we patiently wait to pay.

TIP:Resist buying the snacks by making sure you eat before you shop and if you don't think you can finish that gripping article in the magazine you are reading while you wait, don't start it!We inevitably end up placing these magazines in our cartwhich could add another $4 to our basket of groceries, if we do this once a week it adds up to over $200 per year.If you only have a few items in your basket go through the self-serve check out.

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

1) Make a list:

This is an absolute must – try to do this throughout the week and you MUST stick to it (unless there really is something you forgot to put on there).

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

2) Limit the number of trips you make to the store:

By simply cutting back on the times you go to the supermarket you are cutting back on the amount of impulsive purchases that the stores have worked very hard to tempt you with.You are also saving on gas, and time - giving you more 'me' time and some extra cash for that lovely cup of coffee you deserve!

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

3) Do your grocery shopping during off-peak hours and give yourself a time limit:

Not only will you have an easier time parking but you will also get your shopping done faster and get through the check-out counter without being side-tracked by those last minute impulse purchases while you wait to pay.The simple fact is that the longer you stay in the store the more you will buy; supermarkets have devised methods to distract you with the 'Sale' signs and the stand alone display jutting out into our pathway - ignore them!

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

4) Shop at the beginning of the week:

The freshest produce comes in on Mondays and Tuesdays.

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

5) Scan the shelves above and below eye level:

According to BusinessWeek, many manufacturers spend 15 percent of their revenue paying stores to stock their product between eye level and the upper chest level - where they are the easiest for the consumer to reach.In order to find the better deals take a look at both the upper and lower shelves.

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

6) Calculate the Unit Prices:

We used to be able to purchase items in bulk at a discounted price, nowadays however it is not the case, unfortunately most manufacturers count on us not checking the unit prices and more often than not the unit price in the smaller packaging is actually less.

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

7) Coupons:

If you do use coupons, only use the ones for the products you regularly buy - don't buy something because you have a coupon for it.Keep the coupons with your shopping list so you don't forget them.

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

8) Remember to take your recyclable shopping bags:

Take only enough bags for the shopping you know you need - this will discourage you from purchasing those extra items.

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

9) Shopping with kids:

Don't!But if you have to, set your ground rules before going in.If it works for you go ahead and bribe them - I often let my kids pick out something up to $1.00 at the store (not candy) if they have been good and trust me - it works!

10 Tips To Shopping Savvy

10) Finally:

Try and start meal planning for the week to try and guide your shopping list and stick to it once you are at the store - it sounds like a lot of work at first but once you get the hang of it I promise you will not know how you survived without it.

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lisa April 3, 2009, 9:17 AM

Our family has more luck when we meal plan because it always includes a shopping list. Without the shopping list we either buy to much, or not enough. Lately I have been using a website that automatically makes the shopping list from my meal plan. So far it has really helped automate a lot of the process. Oh, the website is

Peggy Gorman April 3, 2009, 11:20 AM

Another tip:I also bring cash and coupons and only so much!! If I don’t need soaps for clothes and dishes,bleach,TP ,I bring about 80.00 and stick to it . I come close sometimes pennies over where I am digging in my purse but it works for me.

Lindy April 3, 2009, 12:25 PM

I agree with Peggy. I also use coupons and bring a set amount of cash only.

Anonymous April 3, 2009, 3:21 PM

I only buy food at the grocery store. Everything else I buy at Wal Mart or Target because it’s cheaper.

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