On Monday we discussed 7 Tricks Supermarkets Use To Get You To Spend More. Some of these tricks are subtle while others are obvious, but now that you’re aware of them, you’ll have your guard up next time you go food shopping.
These tricks were mostly obtained from a Reader’s Digest slideshow which had a few more tips and tricks. Most of them were not relevant so I decided to summarize the ways supermarkets try to influence you into spending more money – and add a few of my own.
The slideshow also mentioned a few tricks you can use to SAVE money on some items while food shopping, but since I don’t really want you to go through 50 slides of mostly useless information, I’ll summarize the ones I found more useful.
Supermarket Tricks to Save Money
1. Cheese in the Dairy Case – You can find some of the same cheeses that are displayed behind the deli counter in the dairy section for a lot less. The packaging might not be as nice, but you could save money by not getting it at the deli counter.
You might be fond of a particular brand of cheese that is only available behind the deli counter, but if you’re not and are willing to give other brands a chance, check out the dairy section and compare the prices.
2. Less Expensive Milk – Since we’re in the dairy section, don’t be tempted into buying that gallon of milk right away. Often times milk at drugstores and convenience stores are cheaper and some are locally produced and hormone-free.
You shouldn’t make two trips – one to the supermarket and one to the drugstore or convenience store just for milk – but if you have to go to the drugstore anyways, maybe check out the milk there.
3. Buy Large Cuts of Meat – You can buy a large chunk of meat and have the butcher in the supermarket cut it up for you at no extra charge. They can trim it and cut it into cubes, strip steak, stir-fry strips, or even grind it to make burgers.
Buying a large chunk of meat can save you around 30% over buying the meat pre-cut. I first leaned this from my dad this summer when we had to bring some meat to a BBQ at my brother’s house. I started grabbing the pre-cut meat and he was like, “Tu ‘ta loco?” (Translation: Are you crazy?) He then grabbed a large piece of meat and brought it to the butcher to be cut into slices. We saved $15 on meat.
4. Cheaper Filet Mignon – You can pay a lot less for filet mignon by buying whole T-bone steaks. T-bone steaks have a small filet mignon attached to the bone and a New York strip on the opposite side.
The price difference between buying a lone filet mignon and buying it on the T-bone steak can be $3 to $5 per pound!
5. Pre-order Cakes – If you know you need to buy a cake, don’t buy it the day you need it. They’ll be forced to give you the one behind the display case, which could have been there for a while. Instead, pre-order it and they’ll make you a cake the day you need it and it will be a lot fresher.
This really doesn’t save you money, but you’ll get a better cake and I love me some good cake.
6. Buy Baked Items on Sale for Later – If the stores are having a sale on baked items, but you don’t need them until next week, ask if you could buy them now but pick them up later when you need them.
Not all stores will agree, but some will be okay with this. Buy them on sale and save your receipt to pick them up at a later time. Some stores allow you to pick them up a month later.
7. Fresh Seafood – At the fresh seafood station, most products will say “previously frozen” in small type. Most of those items are probably on sale in the frozen-food case for 40% less.
If it’s actually fresh seafood and you’re going to eat it right away, then go for it because fresh is good. But if it says “previously frozen” go for the frozen one and save money. You also don’t have to eat it right away since it hasn’t been thawed out.
Bonus (because #5 doesn’t save you money)
8. Ask for Markdowns – If you see something in the bakery or meat department that is about to expire, ask if they’re going to mark it down. More often than not they’ll mark it down for you right away.
You could also ask for a lot of different things for free. The butcher could cut and tenderize meat for you, the baker could slice a loaf of bread for you, some stores could even coat your fish with flour or some other seasoning and fry it up for you… for free! It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Go and Save Money
Using these tips every time you go food shopping could save you hundreds of dollar a year. And if you combine these supermarket tricks with some coupons you could save even more.
Which supermarket tricks do you use to save money?
[Photo Credit: Gabriela Pinto]