7 Supermarket Tricks You Can Use To Save Money

Supermarket Tricks

Save Money Fast!

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]

18 comments

  1. Simon says:

    This are some excellent tips. I didn’t know you could ask for markdown at stores. But I guess its better that way for stores than the produce going bad. I wouldn’t call mine a trick, I just budget for what I need, write it down and stick with that list at the markets. If I get a deal, super 🙂
    Simon recently posted…How to Double Your Happiness by Flipping “Your Gap”My Profile

  2. Kara says:

    I’ve noticed that I can get a much better price on local milk at the convenience store, which I find funny since everything else there is priced so high.
    Good tips! I love me some cake too!
    Kara recently posted…My #1 Tip for a Stress Free MorningMy Profile

  3. Great tips! I really like the one about buying larger cuts of meat. This is something I’ve never considered.
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…5 Ways To Combine Finances With Your SpouseMy Profile

  4. Lauren says:

    Good tips. We usually buy a big piece of meat, then cut it on our own. Definitely saves some money!

  5. Good tips. I hardly buy meat so that’s one way to save. 🙂 With seafood, I live salmon but don’t want to buy farm raised, so you can buy canned salmon and it’s actually wild caught, and it’s a fraction of the cost!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Healthy Acts of DefianceMy Profile

  6. I shouldn’t have read this post right before lunch!

    A local store to me puts their day old cookies out for 1/3 of the price of the ‘fresh’ cookies. You can hardly taste a difference!
    Will @firstqfinance recently posted…Update! Top 5 Article – Rockstar Finance, Guest Posts, Lifehacker, and More!My Profile

    • That can get dangerous 🙂 I have no problem eating “day old cookies” and it’d be hard to resist such a good price.

      Our local store has a section for discounted produce that is just slightly bruised or is at its peak ripeness and will go bad in a day or two… You can get like, 10 ripe bananas for a dollar (hello banana bread!), or 5 softer avocados for $2 that are actually perfect for guacamole.

      I should stick to that section instead of the discount cookies section.
      Kate @ Babaganosh.org recently posted…Bell Pepper and Feta FrittataMy Profile

    • Aldo@MDN says:

      Oh this is dangerous indeed. I’ve had my share of day old cookies and they’re still delicious.
      Aldo@MDN recently posted…7 Supermarket Tricks You Can Use To Save MoneyMy Profile

  7. Good tips! Like Tonya, I save the most by not buying much meat. We get frozen wild-caught salmon from Costco, but that’s about it. We don’t buy much dairy either–it’s just too expensive. But if you are going to get meat, that seems like the frugal way to do it!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Frugal Hound Sniffs: Free To PursueMy Profile

  8. I never really think about asking for mark downs at the supermarket- great advice. I just recently found out that my supermarket has a very cheap brand of milk produced locally. It’s always worth comparing prices even on staple groceries like milk and bread.
    Hayley @ Disease Called Debt recently posted…I’ve Just Had My First Real Spending Splurge in 20 MonthsMy Profile

  9. There’s the classic advice of “never grocery shop while you’re hungry,” but I think it now needs to be updated to “never read blog posts about grocery shopping when you’re hungry.” All I want for dinner now is a piece of fresh cake and big ol’ glass of milk. Speaking of milk….I definitely overpay for it and I know where to get it cheaper, but it’s not usually worth the extra trip. Surprisingly, the best place to buy milk around here is Whole Foods, but we don’t do our normal weekly shopping there.
    Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter recently posted…Budget Isn’t a Bad WordMy Profile

  10. These are some great tips. I didn’t know that milk could be cheaper at drugstores. I used to go to Costco a lot until they raised a lot of their prices this year.
    Tony @ Trading Slugger recently posted…The Problem With Modern EconomicsMy Profile

  11. I just came home from grocery and how I wish I read this one earlier, I never know that buying a large cut of meat can save us 30% over buying the meat pre-cut. I usually buy 2 kilos on pork chops and different cut slices, next time I should buy a large one.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted…July blog income and stats recapMy Profile

  12. Nice tip on the dairy and milk. I have seen cheap milk at Walgreens and CVS before!