Are you finding yourself at the grocery store more? Do you feel like their always “getting one over on you”? Do you get overcharged and don’t figure it out until you get home and just don’t have the energy to fight with anyone else that day over money? This article will prepare you to grocery shop and save money with knowledge and skill. In addition, this article will explain timing and store policies. When we save money on what we normally buy, we increase our income, or give ourselves a raise.
How do grocery stores operate? Grocery stores operate with basically the same business model; their profits are based on sales. The more people shopping in their store, the better the company’s profit margins. They use sales to generate customer foot traffic and often place displays in your path to promote impulse buying. Ever wonder why all stores have the milk and bread and the back of the store? The grocery stores figure that if you walk through the store, they have more time to get you to buy other things that aren’t on your list. The same is true for candy at the check stands, kids will often plead for candy and it is hard to say no when you are trying to keep track of everything else. This always boosts candy sales. And because sales are important, grocery stores offer many sales and change prices very often. To successfully navigate the “Grocery Store”, you must know this basic background information as this will better equip you to get the best value for your money.
Grocery stores offer basically two types of sales; weekly advertisements and short-term price reductions. Weekly ads usually run from Wednesday through the following Tuesday. Some stores are different; just find out your store’s ad cycle. The short-term price reductions range in time but are highlighted in the store by larger shelf tags with bright colors. Who is in charge of the prices and computer? Grocery stores have a file maintenance clerk which is in charge of changing prices for the store and the corresponding shelf tags. Generally, there are over 5000 price changes per week for medium stores. The clerk changes the advancing price shelf tags to the higher price. The prices are changed in the store computer, both the advancing and declining prices. The clerk then goes out to change the corresponding shelf tags for the declining prices. This way, the customer should not be overcharged because the shelf tag will always be right or lower. However, I have found that customers do get overcharged often!
Always check your receipt for correct pricing. You could get incorrectly priced items for FREE! It is important for you to find out your store policies. Store pricing policies often give you the product free if the price is wrong and you catch it within the order (before your order is paid for), but the grocery store won’t tell you that. You must ask. I put all store and sale items in one section of my basket so I can watch as they scan my groceries. If a price comes up wrong, I alert the clerk and often get the item for free. Please note that they won’t welcome your finding their mistakes, but I believe that getting overcharge is equally unwelcoming to my checking account balance. The question being, whose money is more important?
Another empowering policy is that if the store sells out of a sale item, they often offer a substitute items, often of better quality or a larger size. If not, you can ask for a rain check which allows you to purchase the item on sale after the advertisement has expired. Timing is the key issue to many sales. Stores often refer to the sales numbers from years prior to help to predict when customer sales are going to be slow and offer big discounts during those times. For example, many stores offer great sales around the end of summer as many people must spend extra dollars on school supplies and clothes for their children. Those extra dollars for school are often cut from the family grocery and eating out budget. Grocery stores try to boost customer traffic by offering school supplies and other items for very cheap so that they can get you into their store for this slow period. Take advantage of these sales, you won’t get cheaper prices during the year and most school supplies have no expiration dates.
Other store policies of interest are the meat department policies that double your money back if the fresh meat purchased is spoiled. In this day and age, I like meat guarantees! Also, some stores will honor other store coupons or sales. This is very helpful in saving time and gas. You just need to bring in the weekly ad or print it out from the internet.
In addition, look at your normal weekly routes to and from everywhere. To cut down on time and energy (both gasoline and your energy), try shopping after work on your way home. Or perhaps, pick a day you want to shop for groceries and plan your route so you can go to the necessary stores in the proper order to be the most efficient.