Nila Sweeney


They’ve been crowing about lower prices but a Your Money Magazine investigation reveals supermarkets are still up to the same old tricks to extract more from your wallet each week. Here’s the top 7 all-time supermarket scams.
If grocery prices are “down down” really, really down, why are you amazed at how much you manage to spend at the checkout each and every week?
It may have something to do with the fact that supermarkets are masters at subtle marketing and product pushing that’s all about getting you to spend more, even if they’re telling you to shop with them if you want to spend less.
Here are the top seven, all-time-favourite tactics used by supermarkets to keep you spending “more more”.
1. Size really does matter
The biggest package is not always the cheapest. Fortunately these days all supermarkets have unit pricing so you can compare the price per kilo or litre to ensure you really are buying the best value.
However, to beat unit pricing, supermarkets are increasingly offering “multi-buy” discounts or “buy two get one free” or buy two get one for 50% off” so it’s still easy to end up with the configuration of  goods that’s the most expensive. 
2. Special offers not so special
Special offers such as 'buy one get one free' deals can be very tempting. But while in some cases, these can help to slash your food bills, they don't always provide the best value for money.
Often, you'll find the very best deals are on perishable items such as fruit and vegetables. So unless you can guarantee you'll eat three punnets of cherry tomatoes in a few days, you may find you end up throwing a lot of food away.
What's more, if you head down to your local fruit and veg shop you will probably find you can buy the same product even cheaper. Or simply grow your own!
Similarly, be wary of deals such as 'buy one get one half price' and 'two for $3' - if you don't actually need to buy two, don't get too sucked in. Some supermarkets cunningly raise prices one week and then reduce them the next so that they can claim a discount. So don't buy more simply because you can.
3. Enticing aromas
If your local supermarket has a bakery, beware of shopping on an empty stomach when the baker’s shelves are being stacked with freshly-baked, deliciously-smelling loaves and rolls. Stick to your shopping list!
4. Lifestyle shopping and super-big stores
Supermarkets seem to take up more floor space all the time with aisles filled with toys, cosmetics, gardening goods and even fashion. It’s all designed to ensure you spend the most time possible under their roof, spending more as you weave your way around.
Trolleys also keep getting bigger so don’t fall for the peer pressure of worrying you have less in your trolley than all the other yummy mummies at the checkout. 
And have you noticed how men are attracted to the middle lane at Aldi like bees to a honey pot? It’s the same idea. “Junk aisles”, irrespective of whether they’re full of toys for big boys or big girls, should be avoided by both genders. Again, it’s all about sticking to your shopping list.
5. Not a product out of place
The items at eye level in supermarkets are inevitably the most expensive or the ones the supermarket gets paid by the manufacturer/supplier to place at eye level. If you want the real bargains, search high and low. 
6. Constantly on the move
Ever noticed how you just get used to where everything is in your supermarket and it all gets re-arranged? This is yet another deliberate ploy to knock you out of your comfort zone and put more stuff in front of you to consider buying.
7. Convenient does not mean cheap
Coles Express and Coles Metro stores may be branded Coles but they most certainly won’t charge the same prices as your local supermarket. If you’re in the habit of buying basics when you fill up the car or on your way to the train, it’s a habit worth breaking. The mark up on staples in these smaller convenience stores is significant.
-- By Jackie Pearson
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