Member Comments for the Article:

7 Secrets to Outsmarting Your Supermarket

Look Past the Super Marketing to Protect Your Wallet and Your Waistline


5/7/2012 12:29:05 PM

One more thing - I KNOW when they are going to have free samples of things I DO eat - and I manage to make a whole FREE MEAL out of that. Even if it means being there when the sample clerks are taking breaks, changing shifts, etc, so someone who doesn't know me will give me more. Flatter them, compliment the food: do whatever it takes to get your nutrients FREE.
5/7/2012 12:21:09 PM

I NEVER, EVER buy impulse items because I can't even afford what I NEED. I DO buy what I need ONLY when it is on sale (if it isn't, that isn't when I needed it!!!!!) I use coupins, online sale e-mails, "match" deals from other stores. AND I watch EVERY SINGLE THING they ring up!!!! I mark the item's price with a pen as I pick it up, carry my list, complete with prices, and make them show me that they actually gave me the sale price if they ring up too fast. If there is a REALLY GOOD sale (like on egg whites, which I use every day), I buy all that are left on the shelf, then I go to customer service and get a raincheck for MORE - so I can get the sale price when the sale is over. I look for distressed (broken) packages, dated items near the end of their shelf life, and anything I WANT that is seriously marked down. I get "tempted" by ABSOLUTELY NOTHING because it costs MONEY. A really good shopping trip is one in which my receipt shows that I saved OVER 60 or 65% - which means I paid about $40 and got $100 worth of food. I shop as RARELY as possible, because I don't have the money. My best shopping trip was one on which I paid $18 for $87 worth of food! I shop at night, when it is less crowded, ALWAYS on the last day of the sale week - so they're low on sale items and I can get rainchecks that extend my sale dates for 90 days. ALso, at night, they're going to throw away those broken packages, and clear off the items that reached the end of their shelf life. I've talked the manager down to 10-15% of the original price on those! And, again, ONLY what I wanted ANYWAY.
4/1/2012 5:24:27 PM

Loved this article! I've been aware of these tactics for a long time now and I'm getting better and better at avoiding them! My biggest weakness is the magazines in front. I usually end up with at least one every time I go shopping and I usually don't enjoy them, either. I'm going to consciously avoid them from now on. It's nice to know that this is a common weakness and not just me. LOL
3/31/2012 3:56:09 PM

I already do most of what is commented on here. What helps me the most is to go to the store by myself... my husband costs me more if he goes with... I take my time, use my list and coupons. I also get extra steps on my pedometer, too! I make grocery shopping a game... one that I WILL win!
3/28/2012 9:18:32 PM

I also find if I make my list grouped by department..I spend less time there and in the store as a whole - therefore avoiding seeing too many tempting "deals" money and food wise.
3/28/2012 6:59:37 PM

ERIKA05's SparkPage
Reading this actually makes me really thankful (for the first time?) for my allergy to nuts. Because I have to be pretty careful about what I eat and avoid nuts as well as some of the many products that may contain traces, I never think twice about saying no to free samples or buying something I'm not familiar with on umpulse. The threat of extreme discomfort or death does wonders to keep me "in line."
3/28/2012 3:45:05 PM

The author missed one very importrant point. Plan your weekly SP menu around store sales, don't plan you shopping around your SP meal plan!!!!

Another point, stock up on sale items if you use them frequently. There are only 2 people in my house, but if whole chickens are on sale 2-for-1, I'll buy a couple of packs & put them in the freezer.

If there's a Sam's Club or BJ's or Costco, etc, nearby, it might be worth joining. I buy Quaker Old Fashioned Oats for less than $8.00 for 10 POUNDS!!! That goes a long way at 1/2 cup per serving. Much more economical than buying boxes of instant oatmeal or even the canisters of plain oatmeal. Many other healthy products cost less there, as well as paper & cleaning items.

Since I only shop at warehouse stores once every 4-6 weeks, I don't overspend when I'm there.
3/28/2012 11:38:52 AM

Never have this problem. Can barely afford to shop at all - NOTHING extra tempts me unless it really is an extraordinary sale, I already have a coupon, or it is something I REALLY want and it is on the distressed packages table (VERY low price) or "last day before expiration" - even lower price. HOWEVER, when I see free samples, they DO become an entire meal for me/us. I wish they were there more often. I can't afford to NOT eat what is free, as long as it has SOME nutrients and is not just candy or sugary junk. If it is cheese, meat, veggie etc, I will take as much as they let me and keep waiting until other people take over at the sample station and I can take more. This is NOT by choice - it is through absolute financial desperation.
3/28/2012 11:23:31 AM

BRWNNTWN's SparkPage
I find it helpful, especially during major Holidays, to use my stores delivery service. I order everything I need on-line - I am not tempted by all the goodies and specials - also, I find I usually spend less this way so if I have to pay the $10 fee it is worth it to save my waist-line. If my purchases qualify for the free delivery - even better!

I can use spark people to plan a weeks meals and snacks, print out the shopping list, then go on the stores web sight, order it all and choose the most convenient delivery time and date. And TADA! like magic - the food appears and I did not have to come face to face with the cute Easter display! OR drag the kids with me, begging for every cookie and candy they see.
3/28/2012 10:46:06 AM

This is a good article but I know most of these rules already.

I always go to the grocery store with a list in hand so (1) I don't forget what I absolutely NEED to buy and (2) it saves me time. And of course (3) it saves me money, especially since I usually check out ahead of time what the specials are at the store.

I always look up and down to see which brand is cheaper. I don't just pick what's at eye level.

And I almost always shop generic or store brand when it comes to food when I can. I've known this for years. There have only been a few food products where I have noticed a difference in taste (such as granola bars).

I also do comparison pricing. Just because it's on sale 5 for $1 doesn't mean that it's cheaper than the other packaging that only has 4. I find this is often true with yogurt.
3/28/2012 10:22:30 AM

Those "sample" kiosks are a minefield. One Saturday at a large "club" store I was standing in the frozen food section waiting for the hubs to pick out some fish. I just watched the guy handing out the samples. He had a pair of gloves on but what he did while he was wearing him would stay with me forever. This is a "short" list of all he did while "gloved for your protection".

1. Reached in his front pocket, got a hanky out and blew his nose.
2. Grabbed the handle on the freezer door to take out a package of what he was sampling.
3. Use the squirt bottle to clean off the counter of his cart, wiping the surface with a rag that looked like it had been used to clean the floor.
4. He shook hands with another "Sample" employee that had just arrived to set up another cart.

Being a rather "germophobe" I asked him if he was going to change his gloves. His comment was, "oh yes, we have to change gloves every 1/2 hour".

Never ate another sample......never will.....
3/28/2012 9:37:05 AM

KCDEBI's SparkPage
I know it's not perfect, but sometimes when I have to shop and I'm hungry, I'll grab a quick taco at Taco Bell. It's cheap and easy to eat, I know it's about 200 calories and has protein that will fill me up, and eating something kind of spicy will tame my sweet tooth and make some of those impulse items less enticing.
3/28/2012 9:07:31 AM

KATHYM617's SparkPage
What keeps our grocery bill low and impulse buys out of the cart is a one-two punch: (1) bring a list (and shop only from the list - we plan our entire menu for the family for the week before heading to the store and only add "extras" from produce based on what looks good) and (2) do self-scan, which our local store offers -- you scan and bag your groceries as you shop, so the real price is right in your face and you avoid the temptations of the checkout aisle.
3/28/2012 7:32:24 AM

My advice: if you can, shop for dry goods at a locally-owned independent grocery store - one that sells real food (and not clothes, sporting equipment, electronics, etc.). Buy meat/poultry/fish through local producers and/or buying clubs. Buy what fruits and veggies you can locally through a CSA/farmers' market.
3/28/2012 6:37:55 AM

JEANUT's SparkPage
I like to do my heel lift exercises while standing at the check out
gets in some exercise as well as distracts me from junk food
if anyone notices, I tell them

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