How Supermarkets Trick You into Spending More Money


Families doing their weekly food shop are falling victim to sneaky supermarket tactics that trick them into spending more money. While price rises have cooled compared to last year, the cost of groceries is still up six percent annually, according to the British Retail Consortium. But there are ways to beat these tactics and save money. Here's what you need to know.

Don't Pick Up Items at the Counter

Impulse buying is more likely when you're waiting in line at the checkout. Supermarkets strategically place small, tempting items near the counter to prompt last-minute purchases. Instead of giving in, take this time to review your shopping list and resist the urge to buy unnecessary items.

Avoid Products at Eye Level

Supermarkets place higher-priced products at eye level because they are more likely to be noticed and purchased. Take a moment to look up and down the shelves, as you may find similar or better purchases at a lower price.

Beware of Multi Deals

"Buy one, get one free" offers and other multi deals may make you feel like you're getting better value for money, but they often encourage bulk buying and lead to unnecessary purchases. Before falling for these deals, evaluate if you genuinely need the extra items or if they will go to waste.

Round Up 99p Pricing

Consumers tend to perceive prices just below a round number as significantly lower, even though the actual difference is minimal. Supermarkets often sell products for £1.98 or £2.99 to create this perception. To assess the real cost, round up prices and consider if the product is worth it.

Head to the Back of the Store

Supermarkets strategically stock essential items near the back of the store so that customers have to pass attractive deals and displays that tempt them to spend more. Be aware of this tactic and stick to your shopping list to avoid unnecessary purchases.

Beware 'Limited Time' Offers

Retailers use limited-time offers to create a sense of urgency and prompt impulse purchases. Before buying, take a moment to consider if the deal is genuinely beneficial. If it's a non-essential item, it may be best to finish the rest of your shopping first and then decide if you still need it.

Don't Buy Seasonal Goods Too Soon

Supermarkets create a sense of anticipation and urgency to purchase by displaying seasonal items early. For example, Easter eggs are already in stores. Instead of falling for these tactics, plan your supermarket purchases based on your needs rather than the retailer's promotion schedule.

Downshift Your Brands

Premium products often look appealing, but they come with a higher price tag. Save money by moving down just one tier of groceries, whether by switching from branded products to a supermarket's own premium-label alternative or from mid-range to value options. Cheaper supermarket versions often taste just as good.

Consider Loyalty Cards

Signing up for loyalty cards at supermarkets like Sainsbury's, Tesco, and Co-op can lead to significant savings. Exclusive prices and cashback offers are often available to cardholders. Even if you only shop at these stores occasionally, joining their loyalty schemes can help you save money.

Be Wary of Dodgy Delivery

It's not just in stores that you can be caught out. When ordering items online, particularly loose fresh goods, the cost may only be estimated at checkout. Substitutes can also be different from what you ordered. Check your final receipt and don't be afraid to return items if the cost is more than expected. Also, take your time unloading shopping to avoid missing damaged or spoiled items.

Savvy Shopping Saves Money

By being aware of these sneaky supermarket tactics and using smart shopping strategies, you can save money on your weekly food shop. Small business owner Rhiannon Abbott saved £25 in just one week by avoiding these traps. Over a year, that adds up to £1,300. So take the time to plan your shopping, compare prices, and resist the urge to make unnecessary purchases. Your wallet will thank you.

Child Maintenance Service Application Fee to be Scrapped

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that the £20 application fee to use the Child Maintenance Service will be scrapped from February 26. Currently, only victims of domestic violence and assault can have the fee waived. The DWP will also wipe existing arrears of £7 or less that any parent owes their ex for their child's living costs. This move aims to ensure that no child misses out on financial support due to their parents' inability to afford the application fee.

Government Delays Regulation of Buy Now, Pay Later Sector

The government has delayed plans to regulate the Buy Now, Pay Later sector, which could leave shoppers out of pocket. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt admitted that the introduction of regulation is taking longer than expected and couldn't confirm if it would be implemented before the next General Election. There are concerns that Buy Now, Pay Later firms might leave the UK following regulation, limiting shoppers' interest-free options during a cost-of-living crisis. The delay in regulation has raised concerns about the treatment of the public by these firms and the need for consumer protection.