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The Science of Supermarket Shopping

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Ruth Brown
Ruth Brown

Just as supermarkets have a science to the way they set up their displays (in fact, people study it at uni) and just as brands pay big dollars to get their product on the shelf that’s at eye level - there is a science and a strategy you can put into play to save money shopping.

We all know the two golden rules of supermarket shopping:

1. Never shop on an empty stomach.
2. Never go without a list.

Now, I don’t want to “bash” supermarkets, they’re business people after all - they need to return a profit to their shareholders, so they employ whatever strategy works to move product.    On the other hand, you’re in the business of saving money, so it pays to walk into the supermarket with both eyes open!

So let’s add a few more tips to the list:

3. Always take just enough cash as you’ve calculated you’ll need for what’s on your list and leave your credit card at home, so you can’t act on temptation.

4. If you’re looking for fresh meat and vegetables, shop just before the supermarket or market closes.  They can’t/don’t want it on their shelves tomorrow, so that’s when the markdowns come out.

5. Don’t just put your hand out and grab what’s in front of you – look at the shelf above and all those below.  There are plenty of bargains to be found if you just use your eye muscles.

6. Keep your eyes on the register/scanner.  Supermarkets make mistakes – there are times when the scan price does not match the shelf price, most of us will never notice as we’re either reading a magazine or just thinking about getting out of there.  It’s not easy to check as you go if you have a trolley full – but if you have a small amount of groceries you might even consider writing their prices on your list as you go, so you can check off each as it gets scanned.

Remember, supermarkets spend millions on shopping science because it makes them money.  Why not spend a little more time and save some of your own?

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