Supermarket Traps: How to Avoid Spending Too Much at the Grocery Store

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spending-too-muchIt’s happened to all of us.

You go to the grocery store, hoping to spend $100 or less on your groceries for the week. Before you know it, you’re at the checkout with $150-200 worth of groceries, including a dozen items you didn’t want (well you DO want.. but you don’t NEED that box of fancy cookies, chocolate cake AND the extra big bag of chips).

If you need to trim your grocery bill and still leave with the food you need, avoid these supermarket traps.

1. “Sale” Doesn’t Always Mean “Better Deal”
Just because something has a sale price, that doesn’t mean it’s more affordable than the grocery store down the street. If Store #1 has your favorite brand of chips on sale for $3.99, you might assume it’s a good deal and pick up a couple bags. But if you go to Store #2, you’ll find that the same bag of chips is $2.49 every day. How do you avoid this trap? If you buy the same items every time you go to the store, keep a list of their prices at different stores so you know when you’re getting a good deal.

2. Check the Per Serving Price

Buying in bulk saves you money, right? Not always—manufacturers are starting to catch onto this trick, and sometimes, you may pay more per ounce for a large container than you would for a small container. Most grocery stores nowadays have a tiny part of the label that says the “per ounce” or “per piece” price. Compare this number to find the best deal on a product!

3. Stay Away from Endcaps!
Endcaps are the bane of shoppers’ existence. Stores use this area to display items with high profit margins. Often, these aren’t even items you need. You walk right past them, notice that they look good, and add a bag to your cart. If you see something you just have to get on an endcap, make the extra time to find that item in the aisle. You may find a better price when you compare your options.

4. Don’t Shop Hungry

Shopping while hungry is one of the biggest budget blunders you can make. When your stomach is growling, everything looks good. You might grab more unhealthy (read: expensive) items than you really need or pick up something to munch on in the store. Shopping hungry can also increase your purchase of bakery or deli items, which tend to be more expensive.

Grocery shopping is a part of life (and I actually usually think it is really fun), but wasting money doesn’t have to be!

What’s your favorite trick for saving money on your grocery bill? I love hitting the clearance in the back for some fun, cheap treats.

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