Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Don't Get Tricked at the Grocery!

 It is so easy to fall into the traps.  We all have.  Do you think the grocery really cares about your needs?  NOOOOOO - they just want to sell things and make money!!!!  Yep, that is the truth.  There are so many things they do to get us to buy and even buy things we don't need or use.  They are tricky!!!!!

They have all those pretty and neat end caps set up to grab your attention.  MOST people think those are specials - odds are they aren't.  It is just a promotional display trying to sell things - usually not a great deal.  Be aware.  Know your prices.

Bigger is not always better.  I see it so often.  If you take the time to check prices it is easy to catch.  I remember back several years ago - TP was 'on special' - 12 pack was 5.99.  Right next to that display was the exact same product in 4 packs that were $1 each.  I tried to tell several people to buy 3 - 4 packs and save half the money!  Nope - they just looked at me like I was crazy and had horns and got the big one.
I have seen milk 2.39/gallon and next to it same thing .99/half gallon.  People insist on buying the gallon.  Heck the half gallons are even easier to handle - do people care?  Nope
Check prices and unit prices - it really is eye opening.

The most expensive items are at eye level!  They ain't stupid.  They know where we generally look.  If you look at items on the top and the bottom shelves - generally you find items with better prices.  Check different departments as well -  ie: - I know I can buy olives much cheaper in the ethnic aisle than in the pickle/olive section.
Strategy is everything! 

Let's say you see an item that the price is just too good to pass up.  Is it something you normally use?  Is it something you will use often?  If you say no to those questions - then it isn't a an amazing deal.  If you don't use it - don't buy it!!!  (unless donating).  We all have items of 'good intention' sitting in the pantry.  If it isn't used, you saved NOTHING!  You wasted $$$$.

Enticing items are always put near the check-out.  You spend more time in that spot in the store than any other - soooooo they try to entice you (or the kids).  Most of that stuff is so unhealthy and it really isn't a deal at all.   Just say NO!!!!  LOL

Keep an eye on your purchase prices.  If you can't catch a bad price while ringing up is being done - check your receipt before walking out the door.  Many stores have a policy of FREE if it rings wrong.  At least you can get your overage in price refunded.  Always remember pennies make dollars!!!!!!

It is best to shop the outer perimeter of the store and stay away from the center aisles as much as possible.  Milk, cheese, fruit, veggies, meat and eggs are all on the outer aisles.  Fresh is best.  The center aisles have all the processed stuff.  Stuff we should all be learning to make from scratch!
Sure there are some things that you will want/need - but shop the outer aisles as much as possible,

You go to buy pasta - and what is that (?) - pasta sauce right next to it.  Jars of parmesan cheese, etc.  Yep they try to get you to buy other goods as well.  In the snack aisle - there are chips, jarred salsa, jarred cheese and guacamole.  Coincidence - I think not!
They even do it around the meat aisle - fish on display and next to it is cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.  Chicken on sale - I bet you see breading on a nearby shelf or dressing mix.
It goes on and on - nothing is safe.  IF there is a way to trick you into buying - they will do it.

Something to think about - when you buy buy less there is less to waste!  We all tend to over buy on deals and things.  If we let it go to waste it surely was not a deal!

NEVER go to the store hungry.  You know that and I know that - but we have all done it.  I can almost guarantee you that your receipt was high that week!  When we are hungry, everything looks and sounds yummy.
Same thing with shopping ALONE!  I know many, many years back when Glen would go with me to the store - oh my, did we spend more.  He was like taking a kid to the store.
Make a LIST and stick to it.  Go in and get your items on the list - MAYBE check the clearance aisle - then get out.  Do NOT wonder the store aimlessly.
Stick to a budget!!  Set an amount that you can comfortably spend - and stick to it.
These are all just basic rules we should all follow.

There are items each week that the store considers loss leaders - they are crazy good prices to get you in the store.  There hope is to get you in - THEN you will wonder around and buy lots of over priced stuff.  That is how they make their money.  Well - play the game.  Go in a get those crazy good deals and LEAVE!!!!!  Turn the tables on them.
Hey, it is your money, so you have the right to play as well.  
Playing the game is a favorite of mine!!!!

Think about getting your cleaning items or health and beauty items somewhere other than the grocery.  Most of the dollar stores sell those items much cheaper.  Grocery stores really get you on those items.  Pay attention to the prices and go elsewhere.  Making your own cleaning products is cheaper and healthier - but if you don't do that, just get the best price possible.  
Remember these are things that go down the drain each and every day - so why pay premium price for them???

Another thing to think about is to shop at some of the smaller ethnic stores.  Odds are you will find a great amount of variety in fresh and pantry items.  Spices and certain food items are generally cheaper than a traditional store.  You are also helping a small business.

Well there you - shop the cupboard/pantry FIRST.  I bet you can find some items stuck in the back recesses that you forgot about or need to use.  Shop the pantry and the deep caverns of the freezer FIRST.  Make a list of what you have or find and make up meals that use those items.  I just bet each and everyone of us could do this and not have to shop for a few weeks!!!!  Remaking those leftovers into new items and shopping at home - can save a small fortune.
That is a great time to try new recipes and new ingredients.  You never know that meal may become a new favorite.

I imagine there are things I forgot - but these are the basics.  It is so easy to spend way too much money if we aren't aware.  Be aware of the games the stores play and BEAT them at it!!!!!!
Be the queen of your grocery budget!!!!!!


  1. I honestly didn't/don't understand all the preppers this past year who bought stuff (processed food) that they usually don't eat. Now they have to consume and rotate in the ongoing future.....or they'll throw it out because they "never eat that stuff".

    I'd rather live on rice and beans than eat processed foods from boxes and bags.

    1. You and me both!!!!! I do have canned foods - veggies and a few box mixes that I use. But like you I could live quite simply of beans/rice/past/potatoes. Yep I am a carbs kind of girl!!!
      People do things in panic that they wouldn't normally do - or maybe that's just how they eat!

  2. LOL, When I was working in the grocery industry I was told the venders pay big bucks to have their displayed at eye level or above. Look at lower shelves for better deals most of the time.
    Oh yeah, when Butch is with me we spend more. He gets to stay home!

    1. Guys can cost you money. Kind wait to hear "mommy buy me this - buy that"!! LOL
      It is a sure thing that items cost more at eye level. I think if people really paid attention they would get it!

    2. LaurieS, you are absolutely correct. A number of years ago I worked as a Merchandiser with a dedicated Kroger territory. It was my job to ensure the displays and products our clients paid Kroger to have in place, were there. I represented companies like Proctor & Gamble, Campbell's, Starbucks etc... I received incentives to obtain more displays. So, you are right on the mark!

  3. All very good reminders. I stick to the perimeter of the store and only venture into the aisles that I know have items on my grocery list. But I must admit I haven't though often of the look low and high - I do the first but at 5'1" it's a little to do the latter. :)

    1. Glad you spend most of your funds on the perimeter. That is when you a find a 5'8" ME to get your stuff for you!!!!
      I have done that so many times!

  4. Such a great post, Cheryl. The grocery stores are trying to get as much of our money as they can. It's our job to beat them at their own game and do our best to plan meals that are affordable to our budgets. They certainly don't care about our budgets.

    1. No they could care less about our budgets. If we pay attention and 'play' along we can get some great deals.

  5. Replies
    1. Howdy!!! Happy spring to you.
      Glad to have you stop by!!!!

  6. Great reminders, Cheryl! One more to add. Like your TP story, the same can be applied to canned and bottled goods. Just because it's cheaper to buy the bigger jar/bottle/can, doesn't mean it's the "best deal." I was recently reminded of this by a fellow shopper, while in the canned vegetable aisle. St. Patrick's Day in Chicago means corned beef sandwiches and grilled Reubens with sauerkraut. I was lamenting the price on a small jar of kraut, and another lady pointed out the "deal" of the day -- the large jar was only $0.50 more than the small jar ($2.39 name brand vs. $2.89 store brand) I was looking at -- "such a deal!" I found an even smaller can of kraut, with the single-serve cans, for only $0.69. Yes, the per-ounce price on the large jar was excellent and a great buy if you use a lot of kraut. But for me, a single-person household who has sauerkraut once a year and maybe on 2 or 3 sandwiches during St. Pat's week, that $0.69 can will be just right, even if the per-ounce price is twice that of the larger jar.

    1. You are so right. When you just need a little - smaller does make since. I have done that as well.
      No deal is a deal if you can't use it!

  7. A couple of thoughts...
    I don't think all grocers are out to shaft their customers. I think a lot of it is just how the industry works. An individual store is not able to fight the whole industry--they don't have the power to set prices and, in many instances, decide where and how to display merchandise. Chances are good those large packages cost the store more. I have had managers tell me what is the best buy and suggest cheaper alternatives. I also frequently buy meat in bulk and request extra services (slicing, tenderizing, etc.) and I have NEVER been charged more. That said--

    Bulk spices are by far the freshest and cheapest (I just bought enough coriander for 3-4 recipes for .07). Not all stores sell bulk spices, but many do. The second cheapest are the spices sold in the ethnic aisle, usually in cellophane bags. I save spice jars and reuse them. Many bulk spice displays also stock jars. (Note: I don't buy spices at the dollar store because the varieties are limited and I want to know where they come from).

    As for shopping alone--amen here! On the rare occasions I have allowed my husband into a grocery store, it has cost A LOT more. I have a relative that was spending $1,000 a month for groceries for her family of 5 (husband, two teenagers, one little kid). I couldn't understand why, until I found out her husband viewed grocery shopping as "family time." With a husband and two teens throwing groceries into the cart, plus a little kid continually asking for stuff, how could she save money? When she went back to college to finish her degree, and working full-time, she found out. She started ordering her groceries online and picking them up in the parking lot to save money--and immediately began saving $100 week! Within a year, the adults and teens had collectively lost 140 lbs. and she had saved nearly $5,000!

    1. Should have said she ordered groceries to save TIME, but of course she saved money, too!

    2. You are very correct - some bulk purchases are beneficial. But if you are only buying for one or two - it may not be feasible. It may not get used in good time and could go to waste.
      That is great your relative saved so much money. Double win on weight loss! I can't imagine taking kids to the store - I know some may have to - but oh my.

      We all just need to be aware of how much we CAN use in reasonable time and be aware pf pricing.

    3. Cheryl, most people think of bulk departments to save big by buying large amounts. But you can buy any quantity, and I'm more likely to shop for small quantities...spices being a prime example. I only bought about a tablespoon of coriander. I didn't know if or when I'd ever need it again.

  8. One other thing I've noticed is the big deal they make about "Gluten Free" items. Things that NEVER have contained gluten but can now be sold at a much higher price!

    1. You are right! I have noticed that as well.
      Tricky advertising for sure.

  9. More and more of the shelves at my favorite grocery store are being changed to gluten free, sugar free, or other dietary type things. It is getting to be hard to find what I am looking for and prices are going higher and higher as well.

    Great list to remember when shopping.

    God bless.

    1. It is aggravating! Just because they say ----free, doesn't even mean it is healthy either. It may be fat free - but full of sugar......... and so on.
      Advertising - grrrrr!

  10. Great post Cheryl, everything you say makes such sense.
    Thank you for the reminders.
    Recently I found in Sam's that it is much cheaper to select nuts from the baking supplies aisle rather than the regular nut/snack section. You have to search a little more, but there they are, tucked away and so much better value.
    Just love your posts and comments.x

    1. Thanks. You are right. Look around. Many items are found in more than one place in a store and the prices sure can vary. It is kind of crazy - but they do it.
      Glad to have you here!

  11. I do all those things. Except sometimes I have to go hungry. Today, I shopped the refrigerator when I did not feel like cooking what I planned. There were enough leftovers for dinner for the two of us. And, I still have the food I was going to cook.

    1. Oh I think we have all done it. Thinking we'll run un to pick up something quick and a cart later we come out!!!!! LOL
      Good job. No waste and still had a great meal!

  12. I worked at a grocery store for eleven years so I know all the tricks they use. When I grocery shop I try to never go hungry cause we know how that'll end up. And I try to stick to a list, but who am I kidding, I always add in extra things not on my list.

    1. I have a friend who has said the same thing.
      I take a list too (when I remember not to leave it on the counter) - but always end up with something not on it. Fact of life!!

  13. My late father used to tell this story of his brief time of being a grocery cashier right after he came out of the army. If a product wasn’t selling, back then a can of peas was $.15, they would move it to an end cap and mark them 4/$1. Or in the produce section, putting last month’s mushrooms that were starting to brown and open, next to the new white mushrooms, INCREASE the price and put up a sign “Aged Mushrooms”. He said they would be gone by the end of the day.

    The moral of the story...Know Your Prices!

    1. Love it!!!!!!!! Sounds about right to me - they sure have some tricks and games to get us to buy.
      Yep - know your prices!

  14. You are so right on here. Many times I have checked the larger size and it is more expensive per oz. Taking Hubs to the grocer is always way more expensive, but he loves to go. So I give him his list, to fill in the bulk section. He is very slow and usually a little shaky, so by the time he has his list filled I am through the store. Sneaky but it works. I am a killer at getting in and out of the store with just the loss leaders!

    1. Now that is pretty smart. You have it figured out.
      Same here, I can buy loss leaders and nothing else.

  15. I always think about when Rachel was at walmart...either senior year, or early college. There was a couple buying coke. The 24 pack was $6.50 but a 12 pack was $3.00....the guy knew the 12 pack was the better buy but could not make his girlfriend/wife understand that. All I can think is what are they teaching in school?

    1. I know - I wonder that too. Some people are just so set in their ways that they are blind to the truth and the obvious!