Step 9: No-Fail
What sense do stores try to make
you use when you first walk into them?
The first thing stores try to do
is hit you with the fresh smell of food (that is why bakery goods
are often at the front of the store) to get your hunger juices
flowing so you will spend more money. That is why it is
recommended that you always shop on a full stomach.
Store Selling Tactics
Before we get into ways of
utilizing coupons to save money, it helps to understand the way
that stores sell the products and entice you to spend more than
you really want. By taking the time to understand the different
ways grocery stores encourage you to spend money, you can combat
their strategies and spend money only on the merchandise you
Most people view a grocery store
as simply a place to purchase food and other household
necessities. In reality, grocery stores are built to get you to
buy more than you really need. It's essential that you recognize
their sales tactics so that when you walk into a grocery store,
you walk out with what your need instead of what the grocery store
wants to sell you.
Here are a number of ways that
grocery stores manipulate you into spending more than you had
planned as well as some simple steps you can take to counter them:
One of the first senses you'll use upon entering a grocery store
is your sense of smell. Most grocery stores will have the
mouth-watering smell of freshly baked goods hit you the minute you
walk into the store. The reason is simple. The enticing smell of
freshly baked goods will make you hungry. If you feel hungry while
you shop, you're likely to spend a lot more money than if you are
shopping when you aren't hungry.
The best way to counter this
tactic is to go grocery shopping only when you're full. If you
can't shop after eating a meal, drink a couple of glasses of water
before leaving to make you feel full. Shopping while you're full
will make it much easier to resist all those fantastic smelling
Overall Store Layout:
Have you noticed that when you want to buy a few staple products,
you have to walk to every corner of the grocery store to get them?
Grocery stores are not laid out for the convenience of their
customers. They are carefully planned to keep you in the store as
long as possible. Grocery stores know that the longer that they
can keep you in the store, the more money you are likely to spend.
By making you walk to every corner of the store, it's more likely
that you'll make impulse purchases.
Although you'll have to travel
all over the store to get the products you want, you can reduce
impulse purchases to zero by making a shopping list and sticking
to it. Staying organized and making a single trip to the grocery
store each week instead of several smaller trips will also greatly
reduce the time you spend in the store and the chances that you'll
purchase items you don't really need.
Item Display Layout:
Have you ever wondered why higher priced items and brand names are
usually at eye level? Stores know that you're much more likely to
purchase an item that you can easily see rather than an item you
have to stop and search for. The result is that grocery stores
place the most expensive products at eye level knowing you are
more likely to purchase them.
You can easily combat this tactic
by taking a few seconds to search the upper and lower shelves.
Similar products are usually placed together and doing a short
search of the surrounding area many times will reveal a competing
product at a much better price.
As you walk down the grocery store isles, your will see a lot of
reds and yellows. Stores and product manufacturers know that these
bright colors attract the eye.
In order to combat this tactic,
you need to remember that if a product grabs your attention, it
doesn't mean that you should buy it. Simply keep focused on your
shopping list and disregard the product packaging.
You have probably noticed that the size of a package sometimes has
little reference to the actual quantity of the product inside.
Manufacturers know that most people automatically assume that
larger sized packaging means a better deal. This is no longer
always correct. Although not as wide spread as other tactics to
get you to pay more, some large sized packages are not as good of
a deal than their smaller sized counterparts. Manufacturers hope
you'll assume "bigger is better" and not compare the per
You need to learn to calculate
the per unit or per weight cost of a product instead of merely
grabbing the largest box available. Once you do this, you will
find that sometimes a smaller sized package of a product is a
better deal than buying the same item in a larger package.
The check-out aisles of grocery stores are packed with every
conceivable item these days. Grocery stores know that while you
are in line waiting to pay for your goods, they have a captive
audience. They squeeze as many different products into this area
and as a result, earn a large amount on impulse sales.
One of the best ways to avoid the check-out isle temptations is
shop during off-peak hours. Try to avoid shopping on the weekend
since grocery stores are more crowded then. It's also best to
avoid shopping in the evenings when everyone has just left work.
The best times to shop are in the early morning or late at night
when the aisles and check out lanes are practically bare. This
will allow you to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly
By understanding how the grocery stores attempt to influence your
spending habits, you are in the position to use coupons to your
greatest advantage. With this knowledge in hand, you're in control
and will have a much easier time reducing your weekly grocery
Grocery store sale items are a
shopper's best friend and where you can significantly cut your
grocery shopping costs. It's important to know, however, that all
sale items are not created equally although the grocery store
would like you to believe so. In fact, there can be a huge
difference in the amount you save depending on how a product is
put on sale and it's vital that you not be fooled into thinking
that everything that has the words "sale" or
"bargain" above it is really that. Here are the type of
sales and bargains that grocery stores typically carry and what
they represent to you:
Loss Leaders: These are the super discounted items that
stores sell at below their cost in order to attract you into the
store and are your number one friend when you do your weekly
grocery shopping. While the store will lose a bit of money on the
particular loss leader item, grocery stores know that most people
won't purchase only that one loss leader item. Once in the store,
people are likely to do all their shopping there and grocery
stores make up for the loss of that particular item with all the
other items you purchase.
Loss leader items are typically discounted at more than 25% of the
products normal price, and often much more. 50% off in the form of
buy one, get one free are also common in these promotions. If you
are able to combine a loss leader with a coupon, you can often
save more than 75% off the original price and sometimes get the
product for free.
Sale Items: These are products that most people think of
when the word "sale" is talked about. Typically these
items will be discounted at 10% or more of their normal retail
price. When sale items are combined with coupons, discounts in the
50% off area can usually be achieved.
Phantom Sale Items: These are items that the store marks as
a sale item, but there is no to little savings in reality. In
these cases, the store hopes that you look only at the advertising
and not the real price of the product. These can often be found in
end of isle displays mixed among true sale items making it even
more confusing for you as a shopper. Having a grocery price book
will go a long way in helping you avoid getting taken by the
The important thing to remember when grocery shopping is to focus
on the price of the product and not all the fancy advertising and
slogans promoting the product. Take the time to check the other
brands and see if there is a better deal. Also, remember that if
you weren't planning to buy the item and you don't really need it,
then it really isn't a bargain for you no matter what the price.
Only consider purchasing those items that you regularly use and
you have a need for.