How Grocery Stores Manipulate You Into Spending More Money

Grocery stores have little discrete ways of manipulating you to spend more money but today I’m going to share them with you. Once you know them you are able to be aware and not fall into their traps to spend unnecessary money!

Sale Items In The Front Of The Store

When you first walk into the grocery store, you are greeted with huge sale items.

This causes two things to happen and the manipulation to get you to spend more money starts.

First, it starts your shopping experience off with an impulse purchase that you weren’t planning on spending.

Second, it makes you think that you are getting a big win and already saving money.

This will keep you in the mindset that you are saving money and can potentially splurge (on more impulse purchases) down the road.

Produce In The Front Of The Store

Very similar to the sale item in the front of the store, by putting the produce in the front of the store, manipulates you into thinking you are starting off your shopping with a big win.

If you load up your grocery cart with fresh fruits and vegetables in the beginning then you are more likely to justify the junk food down the road.

Charming Prices

Marketers are famous for using “Charming Prices” to get us to spend more money.

According to, Charming Prices are “With charm pricing, the left digit is reduced from a round number by one cent.

We come across this technique every time we make purchases but don’t pay attention. For example, your brain processes $3.00 and $2.99 as different values: To your brain $2.99 is $2.00, which is cheaper than $3.00.”

Our brains are trained to read from left to right, so the first number is what registers in your brain.

BIG Shopping Carts

Have you noticed grocery store carts getting bigger?

According to TheTasteOfHome “The average shopping cart has almost tripled in size since 1975.”

Increasing the size of the grocery cart, it tricks you into thinking you have a lot more room and you need to fill it to feed your family.

Retailers like Costco are famous for their GIANT grocery carts.

Dairy In The Back Of The Store

Items like dairy most families buy each week, grocery store retailers know this and will keep their dairy in the back of the store so that you need to pass all the other items to get to it and therefore hopefully have impulse purchases.

Popular Items In The Middle Of The Store

Just like dairy in the back of the store, grocery stores will place their most popular items like bread and soda in the middle of the store, this causes you to walk by more items and hopefully impulse buy.

Bigger Isn’t Always Cheaper

When seeing bulk items like the BIG jar of peanut butter we think that it’s going to be a better deal but always check the cost per ounce.

Most stores now have the cost per ounce on the price tag so you can compare right there.

Click here for the FREEBIE Cost Comparison Printable!

Do you know off the top of your head who has the best prices for milk, diapers, eggs, and all of your favorite items?

I know I don’t!

Download this Free Cost Comparison Printable to keep track!

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Kelly Anne Smith | Freedom In A Budget
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2 of 12 comments
  • Peggy Peggy on Sep 11, 2022

    I've been practicing most of these for years, and lately, since it's free, I use Walmart grocery pickup, (doing my price comparisons online, between Walmart, and 2 grocery stores in my city) and then ordering most of my groceries through and go pick them up. You stay in your car and they load them. That way...NO impulse buying!

  • Lula Porter Lula Porter on Sep 12, 2022

    One thing you didn't mention is how they place the higher priced items at eye level. You have to search for the best deal.

    I go in with a grocery list and a pen. I stick to it because I started that list when I came home from my last shopping trip.

    I can view the grocery sales online before I leave the house, too. Even if what I need is on sale at 2 for a dollar, I check the price of different brands and many times buy 2 for 49 cents each. Another way they get you by "sale" as you said and the impression that you will get a better deal if you buy 2. If you are not sure which is the better deal, your phone has a calculator.