Grocery Shopping Tips

I have worked in the grocery industry for over 15 years, so I'm going to share little secrets of how to shop and save big in your favorite local grocery store.

  • Number one rule, know your store's coupon policies. Many grocery store's will price match competitor's ads, so save all your Sunday ads and take them with you if you wish to buy something someone else has on sale that week.

  • Clip your coupons and be willing to be flexible on brands. Sometimes a name brands not cheaper even with a coupon, and more often than not, the product that's in the generic box was made by the same company on the same production line, just slapped in a different box. When you buy brand your not paying extra for a quality product, your paying extra for the copyrighted name on the box and the advertising that goes with it.

  • Make sure you are registered with your grocery store's website. Often times they will send you extra coupons or have internet coupons to use as well. Also, if you have a favorite brand name product that you just cannot give up, sign up at that company's website. They too will send you coupons for your favorite product and let you know when they are having special deals.

  • When shopping in the store, Do NOT buy products at the end of the aisle. We call these endcaps. They are there to tempt you into buying things you're not there for. Many stores "rent" the endcaps, meaning that Pepsico or Dorito's has rented that space to place their product there so you will think it's on sale. Never take something off an endcap without checking the aisle and comparing the price. Often times it's a product that is not on sale.

  • Watch the way things are stated: ten for ten dollars usually never means you actually have to buy TEN of those things. If you buy one you still get it for a dollar.

  • Never shop at eye level, this is how we get you. The most expensive brands are at eye level; the cheaper brands are high or on the bottom of the shelf.

  • Always know what you normally buy and the size of the product and the price. Since the economic turn many companies are downsizing the quantity of the product and raising the price on your favorite thing, so make sure you check the UNIT PRICE on the price slip in front of the product. Many times we put things on the sale ad that are not actually on sale, but it's the normal price we usually sell it for. We just need to get it off the shelf, so knowing that you're not really getting a deal is a step ahead and, more often than not, it's a gross product we have to much of.

  • Always check your expiration dates. Just like with milk, every product is rotated with the ones closer to expiring at the front - therefore you may not be able to use it before it expires. Although our grandmothers may have been mindful of this with milk and eggs, and things that don't last very long, you must also watch frozen products carefully (which do get freezer burnt) and even baking items. If possible, go for the product at the back of the other products.

  • Always know what day your meat, dairy, bakery, etc. mark things down ( if not everyday) and where they place the markdown items. It may be in the back corner of the store or somewhere out of place, so you will buy the product at regular price and not see a discounted item.

By Ronda F from Mulvane, KS

March 7, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for these tips and sharing.

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March 7, 20110 found this helpful

I find most times that brand name items on sale and with a coupon are cheaper than store brand. You hit the nail on the head though with endcap products and eye level items.

Sometimes generic brands are brand name products just with the different label but not all.....when trying a generic brand you haven't tried before, buy only one to be sure you actually like it otherwise it will likely sit on your pantry shelf if you bought a few of something you don't like.

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March 10, 20110 found this helpful

Excellent and concise list. Thanks for your openness!

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June 1, 20150 found this helpful

How do you tell if a generic / store brand is made by a brand name? Often times as I'm standing in the aisle I wonder how I can tell by the distributor's name who made it. I would appreciate any feedback anyone can provide me.

Thank you


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June 2, 20150 found this helpful

I had read most of these tips a long time ago on another website, but it's nice to have a refresher.

I was shampooing my hair last night with the very last drops of the Suave shampoo in the bottle, and I got to thinking about the shampoo isle of our local Big "W" store. We live in a poor county, but that isle is loaded with top-brand shampoos and conditioners of every description and all of the big brand names. There are shampoos that supposedly thicken, straighten, curl, and fluff. There are hairsprays and gels that straighten, curl, hold, really hold, super duper incredibly hold,.....etc...all the way to "concrete"!

My thought was, "How do these people in this county afford to buy enough of this junk to keep it all on the shelves all the time?" Obviously they are buying it or the big "W" wouldn't stock it.

We have to search for the Suave products, because they are always on a low shelf, and they move them around constantly, as if they are trying to hide them from us!

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