Secrets to savings at the supermarket

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

Rich or poor, old or young... food is one thing everyone has to buy. It's why grocery stores spend millions on research to learn new ways to get you to spend more money. Consumer expert Amy Davis is also sharing secrets from savvy shoppers about their own strategies for saving and beating grocery stores at their own game.

The floral department and other luxury items are always at the front of the store with the idea that you're more likely to splurge at the start of your shop before you realize how much you've spent. And industry insiders say stores only open a handful of check-out lanes because the longer you wait, the more likely you are to buy an impulse item from the checkout lane.

"Buy what's on your list," said blogger Nora Kapache of the Coupon Contessa.
  
The grocery list is what keeps smart shoppers from giving in to those impulse buys; and if you're tossing the weekly sales circulars in the garbage each week, you're throwing your money away.

"See what is on sale for that week," said Kapache. "For instance, this says 'Split chicken breasts 88 cents a pound.' So you want to stock up on that," she pointed to a circular.

Stay-at-home mom Doreen Barone has a 5 step strategy she follows every week. First, she circles sales items she wants. Then, she compares the ads and makes her grocery list based on the best deals. She sets aside any coupons she already has for those items, and then does one final check before her trip.

"On Sunday morning, I check and clip more coupons from the Sunday newspaper," Barone explained. "I add or combine them altogether to get more savings and head to early Sunday shopping."
 
Barone also said shopping early when stores are less crowded is better for price matching at the register and using all of her coupons because she's not usually holding up a long line of shoppers.

Erin Sherman's advice is bit unexpected.

"Find a young, male cashier," she told Davis.

She's not kidding. Erin Sherman is a happily married mother of four; but she finds younger male cashiers to be more easy-going and agreeable to her price matching requests. When she shops, she takes all of the ads and a spreadsheet she creates each week of which store has what on sale.

"As I go to check out, they want to know where I'm matching the ad at," Sherman explained. "I pull out my spreadsheet. It makes it a lot simpler."

Walmart has the most lenient price matching policy. You don't even have to bring the competitor's ads because they're supposed to have them at each register. Target also price matches; but you have to pay for the item and then take your receipt and the competitor's ads to the customer service desk to get the difference refunded.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2