Grocers often spend countless time and resources researching to know how you shop and then may use this data to get you to buy more. I’ve figured out some of these tactics — you may want to read them before you shop so you don’t fall victim to spending more than you intended.
9 secret ways to save at the grocery store
1. Purchase limits
Many retailers will place limits on products, noting how many each customer is allowed to purchase. Some times, these products are not on sale, they just add limit wording to the signage. When people see this, they may think there is a limit on the purchase because it must be a hot product. This could make them feel like “if this is a hot product, then I should buy it so that I don’t miss out”.
Money-Saving Tip: Only purchase the items you have on your list. You should also check the original price of the item before you buy to make sure that it really is on sale and a good deal, not just a marketing ploy to get you to spend money.
Read more: 15 ways to cut your grocery bills in half
2. The upper & lower shelves
The most expensive products are typically placed on the store shelves which are at eye level. Most people are in a hurry and will purchase what is right in front of them. If you look up and down the shelves, you can often find store brands and other brands, which are usually less expensive.
Money-Saving Tip: Scan up and down all shelving to compare items and help ensure you are getting the best price.
3. Two-for & BOGO deals
When retailers say that you can get something for free, you may purchase an item you originally did not plan on buying. You might also buy additional items that you did not need, just in an attempt to save money. There are times when these offers can save you money, but they are often an attempt to just get you to buy more.
Money-Saving Tip: Know the stores’ regular prices. You can usually see the original price by looking at the sticker underneath the sale tag on the shelf. You can then determine if the the sale is a good one or not. It is usually not a good idea to buy more of something you really did not need, just to save a buck.
4. When size matters
If you are looking for items in your grocery store, it’s a good idea to check the size and price. For example, you may see a 64-ounce bottle of ketchup on sale for $3.25, which appears to be a good deal. Take a look at this per unit. At this price, you are paying $0.051 per ounce. If you look at the 40-ounce bottle priced at $1.99, you will see you are paying $0.0498 per ounce. There is not too much difference per ounce here, but it all adds up and you get more for your money if you purchase a 40-ounce bottle instead.
Money-Saving Tip: Know the prices in the other stores for your favorite items. Compare sizes and quantity before you buy to ensure you are getting the best possible deal.
5. The fancy display
Some stores hire experts to create magical displays. Sometimes, the display is so unique or artful that it makes you feel you need to have the product they are selling. When people see the display images, which often features happy and beautiful people, they feel they too will be happy and look good if they buy the item.
Money-Saving Tip: Spending too much money on things can put you in debt — which will likely make you more unhappy.
6. The end caps
Sometimes stores will simply relocate items within the store to try to capture the buyer’s eye. When people see items on display, they tend to assume the item is on sale. Sometimes it is, but there are times when it is not.
Money-Saving Tip: When you see something on an end of aisle (end-cap) display, consider taking a moment to find its original location in the store and check the regular price. Sometimes it is not on sale at all.
7. Charge accounts
You may see a display that offers you a designated percentage of savings when you open a store credit card account. But it’s good to remember that opening a charge card will do more than give you a discount — it will affect your credit. (To see how your credit is looking, you can view two of your credit scores for free, updated monthly, on Credit.com.)
Money-Saving Tip: It isn’t always a good idea to sign up for a store credit card just to save money — unless you can be sure you will be able to pay it off right away.
In fact, if you sign up, you should be able to turn around immediately and pay off the balance on the card without having to wait for the statement to arrive. When you shop, consider sticking with cash because you can see how much you have to spend right there and are less likely to overspend.
Read more: 13 secrets you want to know about Aldi
8. Clearance takes time
How often do you notice that the clearance section of a store is an absolutely disaster? If it is disorganized, most people will pass on shopping and will move toward the other items which are easier to look at.
Money-Saving Tip: If you want to find good deals, make sure you are patient enough to weed through all of the clearance items to find that treasure you have been searching for.
9. Last minute add-ons
Those little items — foods, magazines and other trinkets — are placed in the checkout line for a reason. You are going to be standing there and will read the covers and may think you need to buy that magazine. Or, if you are waiting for a while, you might be hungry and be tempted to grab a last minute snack.
Money-Saving Tip: Just leave those items alone and do not add them to your shopping cart. It may take some self-control, but those little purchases can quickly add up.
Do you have any money-saving secrets you would like to add?
More from Credit.com:
This article originally appeared on Credit.com.