10 traps to avoid at the supermarket

5 Ways Grocery Stores Trick You Into Spending More Money

Have you ever gone grocery shopping with a set budget but ended spending way more than you planned?

Whether you ended up buying loads of junk food or stocked up using the 10-for-$10 promotion, you aren't alone. It's a proven fact that supermarkets strategically lay out items in specific locations to get you to spend more.

So, next time you decide to embark on a journey to the supermarket, steer clear of these tricks and traps and save yourself some dough.

Take a look at 10 of the biggest supermarket traps:

10 supermarket traps
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10 traps to avoid at the supermarket

Large shopping carts

According to Martin Lindstrom, the larger the shopping cart, the more likely you are to spend. The marketing consultant told The Consumerist"We doubled their size as a test, and customers bought 19% more."

Pleasing aromas and colorful sights

Walking into a grocery store and smelling freshly baked goods and flowers, especially if you're in a good mood, is a surefire way to get you to throw a few unnecessary items into your cart as your begin shopping experience.

Fresh produce first​

After you've already been tricked into picking up a loaf of bread or some flowers, supermarkets also get you by placing the produce in the front of the store. By doing this, they fool you into believing you're being healthier by shopping for fruits and veggies first so you won't feel bad if you decide to stock up on a few unhealthier snacks along the way to checkout, too.

Mist on produce

You may think the mist on fresh fruits and veggies is helping the produce, but in all actuality, it makes them rot faster. Also, be sure to shake off the access water before purchasing your produce -- the mist tends to add additional weight, making the price go up.

Slow, boring music

Have you ever wondered why most grocery stores play some sort of elevator music? It's because they want you to take your time while shopping. Many stores play music slower than the average heartbeat, so pop your headphones in and play upbeat music to combat this trick.

10-for-$10 promotions

It's common to believe you're getting a great deal during a 10-for-$10 promotion, but say, if a can of beans was originally 87 cents, you're actually paying more versus buying 10 of the same cans when they aren't on "sale."

Dairy being in the back of the store

The reasoning behind the age-old trick of placing milk and other dairy products in the back of the store may surprise you. Although it forces you to walk through various aisles, the true reason is because trucks unload their shipments in the back of store, and since milk needs to be refrigerated immediately, the easiest place to keep it is in the back.

More expensive items at eye level

If you've ever wondered why all of the expensive items seem to be the most accessible, there's a reason behind that, too. Supermarkets place cheaper items on the lower and higher shelves and reserve the middle, or eyesight level, shelves for their most expensive products.

Buying premium deli products

Just because you are buying a seemingly fresh cut of meat or fish from the deli and paying a higher price, doesn't necessarily mean the product is of better quality. Often times, the meat was previously frozen meaning you may have to use it sooner than meat you would buy from the frozen section.

Changing the layout of the store... often

Don't get too comfortable with your local supermarket's layout. Markets believe that when a person remembers where there items they plan on buying are, they'll spend less time in the store and will ultimately spend less money.


RELATED: 10 things you shouldn't buy at Costco, Sam's or BJ's

10 things not to buy at Costco, Sam's or BJ's
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10 traps to avoid at the supermarket


There are many places to buy cheap diapers -- Amazon, Diapers.com, Target, Walmart, and more. Warehouse club diapers are similarly cheap, but their larger packages may not be the best option, especially when buying very small diapers for newborns. The smallest quantity available at Costco in size 1 (which fits babies up to 14 pounds) is 192 diapers. A child might grow out of the size before the package is empty. Smaller quantities available at Target and Amazon -- both of which have subscription services with convenient delivery and discounted prices -- could be a better buy for a fast-growing child.

Photo credit: Getty

Cooking Oil

Vegetable oil and olive oil are often assumed to have long shelf lives, but they're good for only three to five months after opening, according to the USDA. The enormous containers of oil sold at warehouse stores might be suitable for restaurant use, but a single household isn't likely to use enough to get their money's worth. Smaller quantities from the grocery store may cost more per ounce but won't lose freshness and quality before they can be used.

Related: What food freshness dates really mean

Photo credit: Getty

Processed Snacks

Bins of chocolate-covered pretzels and jelly beans may be a good buy based on unit price but can take a toll on your waistline. A large container encourages constant snacking and makes it hard to keep track of exactly how much has been eaten. Buy a more reasonably sized (and lower priced) bag or risk buying a bigger pants later.

Photo credit: Getty

Fresh Produce

Most fresh fruits and vegetables don't last long before wilting or spoiling. Unless intended for a big event (or family), the biggest containers of fresh produce usually aren't the best buy.

Photo credit: Getty

Sunscreen and Lotion

Sunscreen and lotion last up to three years -- but after that (or if they are exposed to heat), they lose their effectiveness. Before buying a multipack you may not be able to use, even in that extended window, check the expiration dates. Better yet, don't buy in bulk so it's possible to use an entire bottle before it expires.

Photo credit: Getty


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