Shopping-Hacks: Save Money at Your Local Big-Box Retailers!

In today’s economy we all want to make our dollar go further and get more with less. Retail stores employ a range of clever marketing tools and tricks to encourage unwary shoppers to part with their money. This guide should help you navigate your way to finding the way to a bargain and make your dollar stretch further.

1. Beware of the big shopping cart

Large shopping carts at big box retailers are not just their for the convenience of allowing you to do a big shop, there is a clever psychology behind the size of these shopping carts. Shopping carts at big box retailers are generally 40% larger than other retail stores. We as consumers are inclined to want to fill our carts, so the bigger the cart the more we purchase. When shopping at a big box store, fill the cart with your bag, your jacket and anything else you have with you. That way your cart will not look so empty and you will be less inclined to fill up your cart with unwanted items.

2. Find out which day the store does their markdowns

Most big box stores have a set day of the week where they do their markdowns, or add items to the clearance section. Use this to your advantage and save money. Strike up a conversation with a store employee and ask them when the next markdowns are going to be. Buy bakery and butcher items that have been marked down and freeze them for later. With planning and patience you can save money on big ticket items as well as everyday items and groceries.

3. Don’t be fooled by the decoy

Big box stores know that you are there for a bargain so they all employ a strategy called decoy deals. A decoy deal is where an expensive product is offered next to a similar product which is lower in price. You think you are getting a good deal with the lower priced product. Some stores even have a bargain product on display too, this will draw you to purchase the mid-priced item. Make sure you compare prices at other retailers, because although it may seem like you are getting good value, it may not necessarily mean that you are.

4. Learn to read price tags

For most stores, if the price ends in a 9, it is a full priced item. The following is a guide to some of the discount codes used in stores:

Cheapest price: usually ends in .00 or .90

Manager’s special ends in 97

Gap, Old Navy
Cheapest price: ends in 7

Cheapest price: ends in .88 or .97

Cheapest price: price tag has letter C or F
Cheapest price ends in 6 or 8

On the top right-hand corner of the tag, you can find the % discount of the item


Cheapest price ends in4, 6, or 7

Clearance items are always round numbers

5. Negotiate

If you are buying a number of big-ticket items, don’t be afraid to negotiate try to get a discount. Look for items which are scratched, or slightly damaged and ask for a discount. Do your research and if you find that an item priced cheaper elsewhere ask the store to match or beat their competitor’s price.

6. Buy store brand

For most products, store brand is the same quality as brand products and at a cheaper price. You will have some brand products that are your favorites that you are willing to pay more for, but for the majority of products, store brand is cheaper and just as good. Many store brand products are actually made in the same place as the store brand product, you are just paying extra for the branding. For the brand name products you love, wait until they come on sale and buy in bulk.

7. Make a list

Going into a big box store without a shopping list can save you precious time and money. I list gives you the focus you need to guy exactly what you came to buy and avoid the aisles that you do not need to go down. Without a list, you will run the risk of walking down every isle and filling up your shopping cart with unnecessary purchases.

8. Upgrade your store membership

Upgrading your membership at big box stores can have lots of perks and make your membership really work for you and many stores will refund the cost of your membership if you don’t feel you have got value from it.

· Costco membership is $110 and gives 2% reward, or $750 per year

· Sam’s Club Plus is $100 and members earn $10 for every $500 in qualifying purchases up to $500 annually

· BJ’s Wholesale Club is $100 and members receive 2% reward as well as discounts on fuel and eating out

· Target Red Card is free and members receive 5% off all purchases and free shipping.

9. Coupons

Coupons are a great way to save. If you want to maximize your savings, there are lots of websites that will match stores sales with available coupons such as GrocerySmarts.com. Combine your coupons with already discounted items for even bigger savings. There are a number of coupon apps available to help you save and get those discounts. Some apps will ask users to complete a short survey, or watch a short video and then upload a photo of your receipt as proof of purchase and they will send out anything from gift cards to cash. Others use the geographic location on your phone to show you available coupons for stores near you, at the checkout, the cashier scans the coupon directly from your phone. If you are purchasing something online, always do an internet search to see if there is a current coupon code that you can enter at the checkout to give you a discount.

10. Shop online

Not everyone has access to a box store and the savings that can be made my having to travel long distances to shop are negated by paying for fuel and your time. The Boxed Wholesale app delivers groceries and household products at low prices and don’t charge a delivery fee. This free app is available for download on Android, Apple and tablet and is available in 48 states.

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