I know that many in the media might refer to it as “marketing tactics” but I look at the games going on at many grocery stores more as trickery. Shrinking product sizes while maintaining or even increasing prices, increasing product count while decreasing product sizes, making packaging larger and products smaller, and using other gimmicks to have customers pay more while getting less just doesn’t fly with me.
While it might not be possible to combat inflation in all aspects of our shopping, especially when it comes to things like eggs or milk where there just aren’t many other buying options, my family has gotten pretty good at finding ways to avoid shrinkflation and other pricing and product tricks.
Look at weight, not just size or number
Reviewing the actual weight of a product or products and the price per ounce or pound can help clear up any misconceptions about what you’re actually getting for the price. Comparing various products of similar type based not just upon number or packaging size but by what you’re actually getting in product weight can allow you to better determine what the best bang for your buck is. From meats and cheeses to cookies, crackers, cereals, and more, looking at pricing per unit of measurement can be a great way not to get burned by shrinkflation and other packaging gimmicks.
Square footage is for more than just homes
But it can be hard to know what type of deal you’re getting when it comes to things like paper towels and toilet paper. And basing your decision on number of rolls or size of rolls (“double” or triple” rolls) could leave you making the wrong decision.
Often times, at the bottom of paper product packaging, you’ll find (amongst information like number of rolls, number of sheets per roll, and type of product) the total square footage of the package. This can help clear up any misconception about how much paper you are actually getting for your money. Sure, you might have a preference as to thickness or cushiness or whatever, but when it comes to paper products of similar variety, looking at the square footage you get for the price can help you make the best buy for your buck.
Keep an eye on the checkout register
More than a time or two, I’ve gotten home to go over the receipt from our grocery store outing only to be surprised and disappointed to see we were overcharged for something. Whether it was due to improper product placement or faulty advertising or we just misread the price of a product, it doesn’t change the fact that we paid more than we were expecting to, which can add up to lost dollars that could have been spent better elsewhere or on another product of lower price.
Once home though, it might be too late or too much trouble to return an item just because you paid $4.99 rather than $2.99. This is why it can be important to keep an eye on the items as they are rung up at the register to ensure that they are indeed the prices you expected them to be and catch the error while you’re still at the store and can do something about it if they’re not.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.