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Outsmart The Experts: How to Avoid Marketing Tactics When Grocery Shopping — 66 Comments

  1. Couponing COMPLETELY changed the way I shop. Before I would go and arbitrarily choose things based on sales and what might like to eat that week and hope that I wasn’t busting the budget.

    Now, I don’t even entertain the idea without my detailed list (figured out down to the dollars and cents), and the specific coupons for that specific purchase. I don’t even shop with my binder. I purchase exactly what’s on my list (and get raincheques for things the store’s out of) and if I happen to notice a great unadvertised deal I make note and will sometimes make a second trip to the stores if the deals are good enough. (And there’s a little left at the end of my budget). If I have no reason to buy a bakery item, you won’t even find me near it.

    Amazing what happens when you shop with intent and purpose.

    • Intent and purpose….a women on a mission to save. LOVE IT!! I am glad that you don’t fall for those darn marketing tactics that make you end up purchasing more items then you need.

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  3. Reading your post made me think — you’re absolutely right! My husband and I have been victims of the “store” for years now. Every time we enter the grocery, we end up buying more stuff (mostly additional chips and junk food)! haha!

    • Ginger it is so hard at times not to be. I remember coming home with all kinds of stuff that I thought was a good deal, but we didn’t need it and sometimes it went bad. I have learned a bunch and now I can keep to my list and stay on point.

  4. I’m a list maker, always have been. It keeps me from having the-store-make-me-do-it syndrome. But, I have to admit, on those rare times when I’m not prepared, I never get out with just that gallon of milk. And, I really need to use coupons. I have every intention . . . Thanks for the motivation.

  5. Luckily, my hubby does most of our shopping because he is better at couponing and finding sales than I am. However, I don’t think there is a certain section of the store that draws me in when I go…I’m just bad about going while I’m hungry…and we all know how stupid of an idea that is!

  6. Stores really do a good job of enticing you to buy things. My weakness is sweet treats when they are on special. I wouldn’t buy them at full price, but when that price does down – temptation goes up!

  7. Yeah sure the store made you do it – you sound just like my wife after she has done the grocery shopping. Funny when I go grocery shopping armed with my shopping list I seem to spend on average $25-$30 less per week – this is a big saving over the course of a year.

    Also I leave the kids at home as I spend more when they’re with me – pester power works and the supermarkets know it!!

  8. Great post! Yes, them grocery stores know how to suck you in! I’ve never been able to grasp the couponing thing, but I admire people who know how to play the game. I shop at Aldi primarily and occasionally shop at Walmart. I tend to use coupons when we eat out.

  9. It’s the sample stations for me (or I should actually say my husband!)! Otherwise, we are REALLY good at sticking to our list and not buying from the end caps – those usually aren’t the best deal. Thanks for this great list of things that the stores try to get you at!

  10. I am soooooooooooooooo guilty of letting the store make me do it. I’m the worst when it comes to Walmart. The craft section, always calls out to me, and I don’t want to be rude and ignore it. The same goes for the beauty department. It’s as if I MUST purchase 1 more bottle of nail polish to make my life complete. {SIGH} Sometimes I think if I just had longer legs, I could glide through with my list, bypassing all the wonderful new things on the shelve…fat chance. Now where’s that fresh baked bread?

    • ha ha Libby you crack me up. It is true..My weakness is Target. I have learned to try to stay far away. Unless there is something I truly need

  11. Over the years I have learned to eat right before going to the grocery store so as not to be tempted! If I am the slightest bit hungry, I’m toast. I am a huge sucker for the bakery!

  12. I rarely go to grocery store as we have monthly shopping for buying monthly homemaking and personal product needs, but my husband sometimes stops by the grocery to get some snack. The supermarket often does the trick that may arise consumerism. However, we try hard to avoid that. Kids like being tempted by ice cream ads. Thanks for sharing…

  13. Great post and very motivational. I am a list maker and always have been and I learned a few things over the years as my late husband was a grocery store manager. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I know I need to start making list in when I go food shopping, I know the #1 rule is to NEVER go shopping hungry, I would be buying that bread I smelled and everything else! Great post!

  15. I find store marketing to be fascinating – it’s amazing to realize how much thought goes into every box, every shelf, and everything they do in stores. It’s like a challenge to me to “thwart their dastardly plans!” Great fun.

  16. I love the produce section. It’s only $1 a pound for peaches…but then I stock up and it gets very pricey. Thanks for sharing- loved reading this and glad to know I am not the only impulse buyer out there.

    • Even though I am aware…I sometimes get suckers in too…Just yesterday I bought $0.59 lb Chicken. Who can beat that price? Total Impulse buy, but we eat chicken, right?

  17. This is one of the main reasons why my parents switched to Costco because they can avoid the miscellaneous stuff. And they bought less.

  18. This was a good reminder of all the sneakiness at work in the marketing departments of stores . I recently bought some jeggings to try out – I looked terrible in them, but received an email a couple days after I bought them (from walmart) as king if I “liked my new jeggings” and did I “want to try another color?” Omg! Apparently Walmart tracks purchases through debit cards and associates it with your email. Yikes.

    • Didn’t know about Walmart!!! But I do know about store loyalty cards. Sure they save you money, but the store can also track your purchase. Walmart is pretty sneaking.

  19. I try to avoid supermarket pitfalls by planning out all of my meal plans for the week, then making a very specific grocery list before I head to the store. It works most of the time…although I’m a sucker for good sales on staple items!

  20. OH how this use to be my biggest down fall and when I started using coupons I would justify it to myself by what I was saving with my coupons. Now my problem is my child and all those overpriced candy bars at the check out, sometimes I say yes and sometimes I say no.

    • I used to be too Crisi. My kids think that if I don’t have a coupon for it, then they can’t get it. Crossing fingers my little plan still works when they get older.

  21. I am a huge impulse shopper and it seems to be getting worse the older I get. It’s sickening! And there’s definitely not one trigger-anything can catch my eye on any given day. I need to go to the store with a list, I need to, need to, need to.

  22. My goal is to make a list, don’t bring my family with me, and get in and out in a hurry. I have a budget and 80% of the time, it works.

  23. Love your site! My site is also about couponing, but I’m a newbie so I have a long way to go to get to your level. I will have to check back often for some inspiration 🙂

    • MISSY!!!! Thank you so very much!!! It means the world when another deal site loves my blog as much as I do!!! Yes, Please do come back and visit and please feel free to give some constructive criticism. I am always open to fresh and new ideas.

  24. I always get stuck in the produce department. I’m a sucker for fruits and vegetables, so I end up grabbing extra stuff that I don’t even know if it’s a good deal for that week or not. I’m hoping to become a little better at list making and couponing!

  25. My wife loves couponing! She and her mom can spend hours discussing their coupons. Going to the store with her is a challenge. i am the kind of person who wants to get in and get out. if you are couponing, it doesn’t work that way. She does come home with some good deals. So, I guess she knows what she’s doing. I can always grown browsing on my own while she shops for deals.

  26. I never go to the store without a list, but I admit, I fall victim to marketing strategies from time to time. Usually when I’m hungry when I go shopping is when I find it’s the worst – or when my hubby goes with me — he NEVER sticks to the list. I think the stuff that gets added most frequently is sweets (cookies and such) – I try not to buy them so I don’t include them on the list often, but especially if I’m hungry when shopping, they usually find their way into the cart…if they happen to be on sale its a sure thing.

  27. I always have a list when I go to Fresh & Easy, but they have a “discount” section where all types of things like meat, desserts, pizzas, pre-made meals and salads are just begging me to buy them. There’s usually a small mass of people surrounding this section, so we all try to shimmy our way to the front so we can ooh and ahh at the great deals. I usually end up getting 1 or 2 items that were not on my original list. My thinking is that it’s on sale, so it’s ok…NO…NOT OK! I always get sucked in! I need to be stronger! LOL!

    • LOL….I use to think the same way. But it was on sale….and oh wait I didn’t need that. I still sometimes get caught (sucked) into a great deal.

  28. That sounds like me to a tee – I have no control when I go to the grocery store, so I’ve been trying to stick to my list and focus! I have yet to master couponing… one thing at a time 🙂 ~ Renee

  29. This is an area that I think my husband and I need to improve in. Just last night he came home from the grocery store with a “special treat for me”… taffy. It was delicious, but I’ve been having the same concern…too many unneeded items being purchased. I know it’s just a few dollars, but it can add up. I hope in the future we can find a shopping strategy we’re both comfortable with that can minimize this. Great post!

  30. It looks like I’m not the only one that this resonate with! 🙂 I learned a couple years ago that these types of marketing strategies have become an in-demand field–an a high paying one at that! As frugal as I try to be I have caught myself giving in a lot, although it is usually my husband “sabotaging” my coupon trip lol 😀

  31. It’s Bakers/Krogers/Dillons and their Buy 5 Get $5 off! Sure, I save money. . .but do I really need that much Peanut Butter!?

  32. I am so happy that I have learned over the years, especially the years I was a cashier, how to save money. We always stick to our monthly plan and give ourselves a little wiggle room if we want something different. The only problem I’m having now is the pregnancy cravings every time we go shopping!

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