Here are the supermarket tricks you need to know

You will never shop again the same way. Please find useful tricks and tips from the ReaderDigest.

Tip 1 - Shopping carts are bigger for a reason

It’s no accident shopping carts are getting bigger. When supermarkets doubled the size of shopping carts, they noticed +19 percent in buying. The bigger shopping carts are the more you want to add items. Testing reveals that they encourage customers to buy more. Make a conscious effort to not fill an enormous cart, or grab a basket instead of a cart whenever possible.

Tip 2 - The more people buy, the more they consume

If you used to buy a six-pack of soda and drink six cans a week but now buy a 12-pack because that’s the current standard size, you’re probably going to start drinking 12 cans a week. Be mindful when buying larger sizes to make sure your habits don’t change as a result.

Tip 3 - The average consumer tends to remember the price of only four items

Milk, bread, bananas, and eggs. Ninety-five percent of shoppers have no idea what all the other items cost and don’t know if they’re getting a good deal when they buy them.

supermarket photoPhoto by Sean MacEntee

Tip 4 - The produce department in front

The produce department is at the front of the store because… its bright colors put you in a good mood and inspire you to buy more. That’s why I recommend that you start shopping in the middle of the store, with its bland boxes and cans.

Tip 5 - Over 60 percent of shoppers off-load products as they check out

So supermarkets started making checkout lanes narrower, with less shelf space, which means it’s harder to ditch goods at the last minute.

Tip 6 - They let you linger… and it’s good for their business

You only wanted to buy milk and bread but you ended up buying $100 of stuffs.

Tip 7 - Wear headphones and listen to upbeat music

Many stores play music with a rhythm that’s much slower than the average heartbeat, which makes you spend more time in the store—and buy 29 percent more.

Tip 8 - Some stores use sensors

…to track where people are in the store to determine when there’s likely to be a rush of shoppers to the checkout counters so that they can get cashiers to the front in advance.

Tip 9 - Grocery stores can’t compete with Walmart on price

So what are they doing? Bringing in people who are passionate about food. They’re hiring butchers who are skilled at cutting up meat, produce managers who are experts on fruits and vegetables, and a few dietitians who give seminars on healthy eating habits.

Tip 11 - Most grocery stores have a budget for supporting local

Grocery stores are interested in being a part of the community. So if your school is having a fund-raiser, don’t forget to talk to your nearby store.

Tip 12 - People believe milk in located in the back of the store

So that they have to walk through the aisles to get to it. But the real reason is simple logistics. Milk needs to be refrigerated right away; the trucks unload in the back, so the fridges are there so that we can fill the cases as quickly and easily as possible

Tip 13 - About 80 percent of what people buy, they buy every week

Keep your receipt, which shows the item and the price you last paid, so you can tell when something is on sale. That’s when you should stock.

supermarket photoPhoto by kozumel

Tip 14 - If you need a cake, don't buy it the day you need it

They’ll give you one from the display case, and those cakes have often been sitting out for a while. If you order in advance, they’ll make the cake for you that day or the night before, and it will be a lot fresher.

Tip 15 - Your apple is older than you think

The produce you buy in the supermarket or grocery store is not fresh. With many items, like spinach, the leaves may have been plucked no more than a few weeks ago. But with many others, like apples, the fruit probably sat in cold storage for a year before making its way to the supermarket.

In the U.S. apples generally ripen between August and September. They pick the apples when they’re slightly unripe, treat them with a chemical called 1-methylcyclopropene, wax them, box them, stack them on pallets, and keep them in cold storage warehouses for an average of 9-12 months.

Tip 16 - Recycling vegetables and fruits

Grocery stores and supermarkets recycle the vegetables and fruits that don’t sell in time…by using them in our prepared foods.

Tip 17 - Know how to read discounts

“Buy one, get the second one 50 percent off” discounts are not what you think . In fact that’s only 25 percent off.

Tip 18 - Deceptive prices

Some stores are sneaky. For example, it would offer 50 percent off a ten-ounce package of deli ham and put the sign right between the ten-ounce packages and the 16-ounce ones. Shoppers would wind up grabbing the wrong one and paying full price.

Tip 19 - Buying in bulk is not always cheaper

But that’s not always the case. In the produce department, individual peppers are almost always cheaper than those in the multi-packs, and loose avocados are usually cheaper than the ones grouped in mesh bags.

shopping photoPhoto by HealthGauge

Tip 20 - The ten-for-$10 promotion is one of the most effective

When a store does it, volume takes off, even if the promotion raises the price of something. Some stores take an 89-cent can of tuna and mark it “ten for $10,” 
and instead of buying six cans for 89 cents, people will buy ten for $10.

Tip 21 - Fresh seafood at the counter?

Most products are labeled previously frozen in small type. Those same products are probably for sale in the frozen-food case for 40 percent less. Not only that, but you won’t have to use them right away, since they haven’t been thawed out.

Tip 22 - At the deli case

There’s very little difference between what’s been prepackaged and what they slice fresh. A lot of times, it’s the exact same product. But you’re paying $1 to $2 more per pound for the same product just to have them slice it for you.

Tip 23 - When you buy fresh bread

They give it to you in a brown paper bag. Why? Because the bread may go stale faster, sending you back to the store to buy more. A quick fix: Place loaves in airtight plastic bags as soon as you get home.

Tip 24 - Is it really French bread?

Some stores use the same dough to make French bread, Italian bred and White Mountain bread. They only shape them differently.

Tip 25 - Ask the grocery store employees

The butcher will tenderize meat for you, the baker will slice a loaf of bread, and the florist will usually give you free greenery to go with your loose flowers. At some stores owned by Kroger, the seafood department worker will even coat your fish in flour or Cajun seasoning and fry it up for free. I couldn’t believe it the first time they did that for me.

Tip 26 - Avoid shopping when it's crowded

Studies show that most consumers buy more when the store is crowded because they 
subconsciously want to be part of the group. Mondays and Tuesdays are the best days to shop. Whatever you do, avoid weekends.

Tip 27 - Avoid shopping when you're hungry

You’ll buy even more items and food when you’re hungry than after having a full meal at lunch.


One supermarket butcher notes, “We’ve had people buy one big roast and have us remove the bone for soup, run half of it through the grinder for hamburger, and cut the rest into a pot roast. That can save you about 30 percent compared with buying everything cut.

Tip 29 - Labeled Angus doesn’t mean it’s going to be a great steak

What you really want to check is its USDA quality grade. Prime is the best, then choice (usually the highest grade available in grocery stores), followed by select, and finally standard.

meat photoPhoto by NatalieMaynor

Tip 30 - Find out when your butcher marks down meat

At most stores, it’s between eight and ten in the morning.

Tip 31 - Butcher's best kept secret

…is that you get filet mignon much cheaper by buying whole T-bone steaks. Every T-bone has a small filet mignon on the bone, and a New York strip on the opposite side. The price difference can be $3 to $5 a pound.


You might be used to a particular brand of cereal or sugar, but the generic options are usually cheaper. The grocery store brands often use name-brand products with their own labels on it; and they offer it at a better price. Just check the ingredients to be sure you are getting the same.

Tip 33 - Prepared foods is more expensive

Don’t buy the pre-made foods such as potato salad at the store, when you can purchase the ingredients and make it for a fraction of the price at home. And it’ll taste much better fresh too.

Tip 34 - Not in season

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: eat the produce that’s in season. Not only will it taste infinitely better, but it will save you serious money. Because it costs them less to produce fruit and veggies that are local and in season, it costs less for you to buy it.

Tip 35 - Look above and below

Since we tend to look at items that are at our eye level, grocery stores know to place the more expensive items on the shelves we see first. When shopping, look at the higher and lower shelves for cheaper items

Remember that premium items are often placed at easy reach and eye level. Look above and below that zone for better buys.

shopping cart photoPhoto by Itiro

Thank you for reading and now we hope you'll change the way you shop! It's easy to shop smarter!

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