How Avoiding These Shopping Pitfalls Can Save You Big Money at the Cash Register

The following tips can you aware of your shopping and spending habits, and how manufacturers try to influence you, the consumer. Being a conscientious shopper can help you stay on your monthly food budget. Beware Grocery Aisle Layout and Item Displays: Brand names pay stocking fees to stores so that their products are placed at appropriate eyelevel.

Adult products are placed higher, while products for children are placed lower. Products placed at eyelevel are often the most expensive, because of the stocking fees, and the fact that manufacturers know that the consumer is more like to buy a product from eyelevel while walking down the aisle. Solution: Take a few extra seconds and look at the shelved above and below the featured product. Chances are you will find the same product at a better price.

Avoid "Sale" Merchandise: Stores advertise items known as "loss leaders" that are features at rock bottom prices, or even free with purchase. Occasionally, these can be bargains, but remember aisle ends are reserved for these items or the bargain priced product is features next to a higher priced product. You usually can find similar items in the regular aisle section that may be cheaper than the "sale" item. Solution: Be wary of sale ads.

Focus on the price of the product, and not the advertising or fancy packaging. Compare brands. Remember, if you buy a product you wouldn't normally use, you are not saving any money, and it isn't a bargain no matter the price. Beware of Product Appearance and Packaging Tricks: Companies can be very clever when packaging their product. Bright colors attract attention, especially red and yellow. Oversized packages are also a draw for consumers.

Shoppers assume that larger packaging means more product and a better deal. This is often not the case. The "Buy in Bulk" mantra has been pounded into the average shopper for years. Advertisers know this, and the larger quantity package may have a cheaper counterpart in smaller packaging. Solution: Always compare unit price or per weight cost. Regularly products that have smaller packaging feature a better deal than buying the bulk version.

Avoid Impulse Buying at Checkout: The checkout aisle is a mini store. They have captive shoppers that are forced to look at the products while they wait. Hundreds of items can be crammed into this tiny space, and the profit margin on such items is extremely high. Solution: Make a conscious decision to not buy from the checkout lane before you enter it. You can also speed through the line during off peak hours.

Many stores are now open 24 hours a day, so early morning or late evening shopping can make your stay in the checkout aisle easy to bear and the products easy to resist.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as buying groceries online at

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