Frugal Living

Don’t Be Duped When Going Grocery Shopping

Continuing the series on how to save money on your grocery bill, I’m going to let you in on a few retail secrets so that you can shop more effectively.  Don’t be duped when you’re going grocery shopping.

Know Your Nose

Have you noticed the smell of freshly baked bread enticing you as you walk past the supermarket, and yet walked in to discover that the bread section is down the back of the store?  Don’t be surprised, this is an old supermarket trick to suck you in on the promise of a freshly baked good. If you’re hungry, you’ll wander through the supermarket on the way to the bread section filling your trolley with some impulse buys because you were hungry before you went in, and the scent of bread baking is driving your taste buds wild.  This is why you should always eat a good, decent meal before you go shopping. It’s harder to make feel hungry when you’re already full.

In my local supermarket they have taken this scent-filled experience and pipe the smell of cooking roast meats into the charcuterie (cooked meats) section so be aware of all scents when you’re shopping, not just that of baking bread.

You could deter those pesky smells by daubing Vicks Vaporub under your nostrils or dabbing Karvol around your person before going shopping.  I do find that if I’m aware of it then I’m less likely to be taken in.

On other days though I confess to having to grab a fresh roll or two to satisfy the yearning. Himself (until he copped the deception) used to lob 2 bags of freshly baked doughnuts into the trolley before we got as far as the first aisle.  Ah yes, some of the most tempting, and sweet goodies tend to be located very close to the entrance to suck you in too!

Watch The Bottom Line

Now I don’t mean your grocery budget for a change, what I mean is the small print at the bottom of the pricing ticket on the shelf below the items.  If you are long sighted, then be sure to bring your reading glasses or a magnifying glass, this print is teeny, tiny, small.

The small print is how you figure out if you’re getting value for money.  If you’re buying flour, it will tell you the price per kg or g, if you’re buying nappies, it will tell you the price per nappy.  This makes sense when you’re trying to figure out what size packet is best value to pick up.

For example, by looking at the bottom line on the ticket, I can tell you that own brand Wheat Biscuits in my local supermarket are cheaper to buy if you pick up 2 packets of 24 rather than a bulk buy packet of 48. Same number at the end, just cheaper in 2 packets than 1.  You’d think it would be the other way around for buying in bulk and many people get taken in by that small detail on a daily basis.

I can also tell you that 96 Pampers Baby Dry nappies for €17.99 is cheaper than 2 boxes of 77 of the same brand nappies (just smaller boxes) for €32.

End of Aisle Shouldn’t Always Be Your Style

Many, many years ago (I feel old now) I worked for a while for a retail marketing company.  It was an eye opener let me tell you!  The negotiations with the different producers for discounts, bulk discounts, aisle end features, how the discount would be applied etc.

The thing is that the aisle ends aren’t always the best of value but they are there to entice you to buy lots.

This is where your ability to read the bottom line comes in very handy.

It is very hard to resist the big flashy red and yellow stickers, displays and large pricing which appears to be cheap.  Don’t be afraid to move away from the aisle end and check the items on their normal shelf to see what the regular price is.

Yellow Sticker Doesn’t Always Mean Great Value

I’ve spoken before at length about Yellow Stickers and how to reduce your grocery bill by purchasing yellow sticker items.

However supermarkets have a trick of putting a yellow price ticket on the shelf when they want to attract your attention to a particular item.  It doesn’t always mean it’s good value.  Again, stick to the bottom line and check the unit value before picking it up.

Bulk Buying Isn’t Always the Way

Now I do bulk buy but there are a few simple rules that I stick to, these are:

  • I can afford them.
  • I have the storage space for the items.
  • I will use them (no point in picking up 10 jars of olives as we never eat them, even if they are on special).
  • They will keep well.

For example, I can definitely bulk buy nappies when they are on special, however I wouldn’t always buy pineapples even if they were cheap because we’d rarely use more than 1 fresh pineapple in a week!

So happy shopping in the week ahead and do let me know if you have implemented any of the tips to date, saved money or if you have any you’d like to add!


I would love to be able to provide you with pictures with these tips. However, myself and my local supermarket haven’t seen eye to eye on the topic of photography in store.  I quite like shopping locally (it saves a lot of petrol and time) and don’t want to get barred so this week there are no photos.

So don’t be duped when going grocery shopping anymore. I’ve given you the tools to beat them!

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


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