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17 Tips to Save Money at the Supermarket

    Last Updated on May 8, 2021

    A woman driving a shopping cart for a shopping session in a supermarket. Tips to save money at the supermarket.

    Have you ever pondered over tips to save money at the supermarket? Did you ever have the feeling that you always end up spending more money on groceries at the supermarket than you originally planned?

    You are not the only one.

    Unfortunately, it’s not just a feeling but a painful truth. If you don’t have a shopping list and aren’t paying enough attention to what you buy, you risk spending more money than you should.

    This is why I’ve come up with 17 easy tips for you to save as much money as possible while shopping at your favorite supermarket.

    🛍️ Bring your own shopping bag

    The era when supermarkets offered you free shopping bags is long gone.

    A standard reusable shopping bag can now cost $0.10, going all the way up to $2. If you do the shopping for a whole week you will probably need more than just one shopping bag.

    That’s a lot of money!

    Not only can you save money by bringing your own and reusing them, but you’ll also be helping the planet.

    ↕️ Check the shelf from top to bottom

    Stores usually place more expensive products on the shelves at eye level.

    Check the entire shelf, from top to bottom. The chances of finding quality products at a reasonable price are quite high.

    🗒️ Make a shopping list

    When you’re going to the supermarket you have to be prepared. That means even writing a shopping list.

    Write a list even if you have to write it on paper, assuming you’re more likely to use a phone in that matter.

    🏷️ Check the sale price of the products

    At first glance, it might sound trivial, but there are times when the supermarket can display a different price for a product than the real one. It could be intentionally or by mistake.

    There are two ways you can check the sale price of the product:

    • Some supermarkets have a device with which you can scan the product code and it displays the sale price. This device can be located within isles or in front of the cash registers
    • Remember the price of the product displayed on the shelf and then be very careful when the product is scanned at the cash register because it displays the sale price for each product

    🛑 Avoid buying bags for certain fruits and vegetables

    A lot of people tend to wrap each fruit and vegetable in a separate bag.

    Certain fruits and vegetables such as bananas, avocados, cucumbers, and eggplants do not necessarily have to be wrapped in a bag.
    They can be easily transported in the same bag with the other foods without getting squeezed on the way home.

    Most supermarkets charge from $0.02 up to $0.20 for such bags. You might end up using quite a lot if you are not paying attention.

    If you still like to wrap each fruit and vegetable in a separate bag, at least bring your own reusable bag.

    ⚖️ Pay attention to price per kilogram

    To find out which product has a better price, it is good to check the label for the price per kilogram.
    You will then might realize that some products that seem expensive at first glance are actually cheaper when compared to similar others.

    🏹 Hunt for Buy One, Get One Free sale

    Every supermarket has a Buy One, Get One Free type of sale from time to time.

    The supermarket where I usually shop has a great Buy One, Get One Free sale once a month for dental health products. Buy one toothpaste, get a free mouthwash.

    The toothpaste usually is around $4 – 4.20 and the mouthwash has a similar price. So I save around $4.

    Pretty neat, right?

    Ah, and the shelf life of the products is between 4 and 6 months. This means the products are not on special offer due to the expiration date. That’s even better!

    🍓 Buy in-season fruits and vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables that are in season will always be at their cheapest. Out of season products will always be at their most expensive.

    ❄️ Use your freezer and stock up when things are heavily discounted

    Try and make the best of your freezer. Buy in-season fruits and vegetables and freeze them.
    Did you find a product at a very good price but with a fairly short shelf life? Freeze it.

    You will save quite a lot!

    Also, depending on what you will be cooking, buying frozen vegetables and fruits can also be a money saver too. You won’t notice the difference in taste.

    💳 Use coupons or loyalty cards

    The loyalty card has become something of the agenda lately. Wherever you go, the lady from the cash register will kindly ask if you fancy signing up for a membership card.

    They lure you in with discounts and coupons, which sometimes are a great deal only if you are ok with sharing certain personal data with the supermarket and the awesome privilege of being spammed with marketing emails.

    💱 Check the clearance section

    Most places usually have a small section, sometimes hidden away in the back somewhere with their clearance items. You might get goods that are even 90% off. Always worth a look.

    To illustrate, last time when I went shopping and checked out this section I found chocolate bars that were sold at a 90% discount just because the package was scribbled and unpleasantly looking.

    I eagerly ate the chocolates and, cross my heart, it was really a satisfying moment and I felt so happy that I bought them for just a bargain.

    You could say this can turn out to be a delicious tip to save money at the supermarket.

    🏪 Buy generics or the “store brand”

    Often it’s just as good as or maybe even the exact same product as the brand name item but significantly cheaper.

    I often buy “store brand” muesli and pre-baked cheesecake that saves me quite a lot of money.

    I used to buy branded muesli for $4 and branded pre-baked cheesecake for $15.

    Now I buy “store brand” muesli for $3 and a pre-baked cheesecake for $4.

    Moreover, the quality of the items is even better!

    📦 Avoid prepackaged, pre-chopped, and processed foods

    It may be tempting to grab some of those pre-chopped fruits and vegetables, but take a moment to compare the price by weight.

    You could be paying from 10 to 300% more.

    Moreover, they have a shorter shelf life and you’re creating more packaging waste.

    Instead, try to buy fresh ingredients and prepare your own food as much as possible.

    📑 Make a shopping list and stick to it

    The supermarkets use all sorts of tricks to lure you into buying as many items as possible. Most people really fall into those traps, and for a good part of my life, I was no exception.

    Make sure that before you step foot out of the house, you are armed with a shopping list and self-discipline. These two are truly your savings companion.

    🛑 Never shop on an empty stomach

    Always try to eat something before you go shopping. Never shop on an empty stomach or when you have cravings.

    This way you will avoid impulse buying and overspending on items you don’t exactly need.

    🛒 Use a smaller shopping cart

    Marketing tests showed that shoppers spent up to 40% more with a double-sized cart.

    In addition, the size of the shopping cart also makes it difficult to do a U-turn in a narrow aisle so you’re more likely to take the long way around.

    A longer path means more temptations. That’s why stores will periodically rearrange the products to keep even experienced shoppers searching.

    💵 Use the cash register that has no products around it

    This is where stores traditionally keep impulse purchases like candy, magazines, and bubble gum. As a result, by the time you reach the cash register you are experiencing what psychologists call “decision fatigue”.

    Decision fatigue can influence irrational impulse purchases of candy and sugared items.

    💰 Extra tips to save money at the supermarket

    Don’t shop on a payday

    Shopping as soon as the salary hits your bank account is a bad idea. This is because you feel excited and you’re more likely to spend more as you have more money.

    Do your shopping online

    Shopping online is one of the best ways to cut your spending.

    You are less tempted to buy fancy products and those delicious good-smelling in-house bakery items.

    In addition, it’s much easier to compare product prices online, as you can check out the prices of products at all major supermarkets.

    This pretty much sums up the 17 tips to save money at the supermarket I use every time I go shopping.

    🙏 Thank you for taking the time to read the whole article. I hope you found these tips useful.

    Keep them in mind next time you swing by the store!

    What other tips to save money at the supermarket are you using?


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