7 Tricks Supermarkets Use to Make You Spend More

Grocery list? Check. Coupons? Got ’em. Eat a snack so you won’t shop hungry? Done. Mentally prepared to resist impulse buys? Totally.

Now you’re properly prepared for your weekly trip to the supermarket. Or are you?

No matter how hard you try, supermarkets often find a way to eat up more of your budget than you bargained for. But don’t feel bad. Instead, learn the gimmicks grocery stores use — and how you can avoid them.

1. Using a clever store layout

It’s no coincidence that staples like milk, bread and eggs are placed in vastly different locations within the store, and nowhere near the entrance.

Is it possible to run a gauntlet of 10,000 impulse buys on your way to the milk without succumbing — but it sure isn’t easy.

Solution: Stay focused on buying what you need, and nothing more. Remember that your long-term goal is to stay out of debt and become financially independent. If you spend $25 on impulse buys per week, you’ve just lost $1,300 over the course of a year that could have been used to pay down debt, or to fund your retirement.

2. Tempting you to buy foods that ‘go together’

You spot a bag of some heavily-advertised tortilla chips. That’s OK — you’ve got a coupon. Too bad you don’t have another coupon for those jars of salsa sitting next to them.

In the blink of an eye, they’re both in your cart. So much for that carefully planned list.

Solution: Coupons are great — but only when they are for things you really need. Using a coupon to buy something not on your list starts you down the slippery slope to overspending. Only use coupons for things you truly need.

3. Sending sweet smells through the air

It’s a secret that real estate agents have known for years: The smell of freshly-baked cookies can help turn an open house into your next home.

If the smell of fresh-baked cookies will persuade you to drop $200,000 on a house, how are you supposed to resist dropping $4.95 on fresh-baked cookies?

Solution: Make sure to eat something at home before shopping. That way, you won’t be hungry when you head down “temptation aisle” at the grocery store.

4. Offering biggie-sized carts

In many places, the size of grocery store carts is growing. Not only does a giant cart allow you to buy more, a half-empty cart makes it appear you’re missing something.

Solution: Don’t ever use a cart. Only buy what you can carry in both hands.

5. Making clever use of shelf placement

The most profitable items are often placed at eye level. If you’re looking for mustard, for example, you’ll immediately spot the gourmet and spiced mustards, but you may have to look down a shelf or two to find the more budget-friendly house brands.

Solution: Always look high and low on the shelves to make sure you’re not missing a better deal.

6. Enticing you to grab items at the checkout lane

Another home for profitable items is the check-out line. While you’re waiting for the cashier to ring you up, you could easily pick up a magazine or a pack of chewing gum.

Solution: Flip through a magazine if you must. Just put it back before you pay. Hey, if they don’t like you thumbing through it, they shouldn’t have made you wait. As for other temptations, keep your eye on the prize — staying out of debt.

For more tips on flexing your financial self-discipline muscles, check out “18 Ways to Slam the Brakes on Costly Impulse Purchases.”

7. Promoting ‘deals’ that are no bargain

Sometimes promotions help you save a few bucks. Other times, they don’t. Ten cups of Greek yogurt for $10 may seem like a deal, but will you be able to eat your money’s worth before they expire?

Solution: When something is promoted as being “10 for $10,” it almost always means you can buy fewer of that same item and get the same bargain price. After all, while, “10 for $10” is probably no deal, “3 for $3” surely is.

Do you have tips for avoiding falling prey to impulse spending? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

These 13 States Tax Social Security Income
These 13 States Tax Social Security Income

Uncle Sam is not the only one looking for a piece of your retirement income. Is your state on this list?

7 Things You Should Do Before Claiming Social Security
7 Things You Should Do Before Claiming Social Security

To get the most out of your Social Security retirement benefits, you have to think ahead.

Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State
Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State

Are you on track to retire at the same age as most residents of your state?

Don’t Trash These 11 ‘Disposable’ Items — Reuse Them
Don’t Trash These 11 ‘Disposable’ Items — Reuse Them

Are you throwing away money? Consider giving these things a new purpose.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus
5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus

You likely already have some of these products at home.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store

Not everything sold at dollar stores is a great bargain or a safe purchase. Here’s our list of products to avoid.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers
8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers

The Product of the Year awards help shoppers find the best pet products, personal care items and everything in between.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.