Top tips for supermarket cost cutting

Over the past year or two, most of us have had to cut expenses. While it's relatively easy to go from eating out twice a week to eating out once a week, some of us have had to go beyond that, doing our best to cut out unnecessary expenses wherever we can.

But grocery shopping presents us with a complex psychological environment in which it's deliberately not easy to fill our trolley with the things we need, pay for them, and leave.

Supermarkets have played on consumer psychology for decades. For example, the produce greets us first thing, because it appeals to our sense of going to the market to get things we need, whether we buy the fresh produce or not. Here are three other ways supermarkets try to pry more money out of our wallets.

1. Locating emotionally invested choices away from the ends of the aisles. For example, people are particular about their coffee. If the coffee is placed at an aisle end, customers will feel rushed into grabbing a tin of coffee and moving along so as not to block shopper traffic. If coffee is placed in the center of an aisle - requiring the maximum number of steps from either end - the shopper is more likely to pull his trolley over and evaluate his coffee choices.

2. Stores want their customers to do three things: shop the high-margin areas of the store, fulfill their needs, and fulfill their wants. Placing the needs so that you have to pass through the "wants" and high margin areas first maximizes the chance customers will stray from their list.

3. The least expensive items are set out so you'll encounter them after having bought your more expensive items. The theory is that you're more likely to spend on little extras if you've already invested in the top-end items on your list.

There are numerous ways to fight the temptations supermarkets are so good at presenting. Everyone knows not to shop when they're hungry, but there are a few other strategies, too.

1. Use shopbots and price comparison websites. Try,, and These sites will also alert you to special offers.

2. Visit the butcher late in the day when you're more likely to see items marked down for quicker sale. You can freeze extra servings for later.

3. Some coffee lovers say that if you mix a jar of cheap coffee and your favorite coffee, the cheap coffee will absorb some of the full bodied flavour of the expensive brand, and drastically cut your coffee expenses.

Got proven tips on how to make it through shopping day unscathed? Please share them with us below!


  • P d.
    Got proven tips on how to make it through shopping day unscathed? Please share them with us below! Leave the kids running riot around the supermarket whilst you shoplift like fuk ;) , it's s good cover
  • Spencer
    Write out a shopping list, get a rough idea of how much the essentials will cost. Go to a cash machine and draw out enough to cover what you need, plus a little extra in case you encounter a good bargain or bogof deal in store. Voila, the temptation to splurge on things you dont need is still rampant, but you'll be stuffed cos you cant afford them. So just wander the aisles suffering withdrawals...
  • yes H.
    dont be such a tight fuk and buy whatever you want ...... you only live once!
  • andy y.
    Drink you own piss
  • G. T.
    Tell you what, russian algebra is difficult, why don't they just use numbers like ordinary folk. Makes me feel like some insult numeracy.
  • Zeddy
    "3. Some coffee lovers say that if you mix a jar of cheap coffee and your favorite coffee, the cheap coffee will absorb some of the full bodied flavour of the expensive brand" What a load of fucking bollocks! Coffee lovers don't buy instant coffee!
  • The B.
    27. If you live in London, utilise Smithfields for your meat and Billingsgate for your fish, I reckon I save about £100 a month by buying in bulk and freezing, the quality of the product is higher than supermarkets too. I'm assuming this can be applied to any large town/city.
  • fu m.
    @the real bob no it bloody cant
  • Jeff
    Upon entering the supermarket, read all the newspapers and maybe a copy of Q. You'll be 5 or 6 quid in credit before you reach the fruit and veg.
  • Joe H.
    Just go in, buy your stuff, then leave with your carrier bags. Are the Jedi mind tricks REALLY that powerful? I just ignore them completely. Or at least I think I do...
  • Existentialist T.
    Supermarkets need to reduce the number of wankers they allow in their stores, If they stopped the BMW/Audi drivers and iPhone users from entering, I'd be less inclined to want to kill them for cutting me up smashing into my ankles and standing in the middle fuckin*g lane while they select their fuckin*g coffe the FUCKING* WANKER*S, stop acting like you're on the fuckin*g road and stay inside your house you fucking twat!!!
  • Statix83
    Go after eating, I find i'm more likely to buy crap if i'm shopping while hungry
  • Alex W.
    Don't get sucked in to the special offers, half the time you'll end up throwing stuff away because you didn't need 16 yoghurt for the price of 12, 8 would have been enough and so what if the extra 8 only cost you half as much again, you've still wasted your money and not, as the supermarket would have you believe, got a bargain. And if, for some reason, there is a BOGOF that is sensible, by it instead of something else, not as well as. If you're trying to live to a budget, spending more in real terms is not going to help.
  • Mikki G.
    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. I would also encourage everyone to bookmark this page to your favourite service to help spread the word. Thanks

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