- Shop at cheap outlets: The stores with the lowest prices include: "Aldi, Costco, Market Basket, Slater Bros., Shoppers Food Warehouse, Trader Joe's and Walmart." The downside: fewer choices at stores like Trader Joe's and Aldi or shoppers must make bulk purchases at Costco.
- Be wary of circulars: Featured products in circulars often see a spike of up to 500 percent in sales volume. So stores like to highlight lots of items in their weekly circulars. The catch, says Shop Smart: "Not all items in circulars are on sale [at a discount]."
- Watch product placement: ("Avoid store fake-outs) Look out for products placed in bins at the end of shopping lanes, in "island displays," or in the middle tier of a shelving unit. Those eye-catching locations typically contain higher-priced goods.
- Ignore colors: Marketers play head games with color. The concept: certain colors are more apt to gain your attention. So play your own games with the marketing gurus and ignore their color codes.
- Cut your own fruit/Slice your own cheese: Don't pay extra for pre-cut, pre-frozen, pre-sliced fruits and cheeses. Slices of Jarlsberg cheese, for example, were priced at $7.99 per pound at a deli counter, compared to $3.99 per pound for a block. Likewise,the shoppers at the magazine found a chilled 16-oz beverage for $1.19, but the same bottle was 50 cents cheaper when it was stored warm on a shelf.
- Buy store brands:The quality of store-brands is often comparable to name brands and the price can be 50 percent cheaper.
- Use price guarantees: Many chains or stores will match competitors' prices on promotions and sales.
- Shop alone: You may spend more if you shop with your kids or your spouse.
- Skip the impulse purchases: Make a list and stick with it.
- Use store cards: Many stores offer frequent shopper cards, which entitle you to different perks, including unadvertised specials.
- Check out the scanners: 70 percent of the participants in survey reported finding mistakes made in the checkout line.
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Thursday, August 30, 2007
11 Tips for Cutting Grocery Bills from Consumer Union
"Avoid store fake-outs," is one of 11 money-saving tips for grocery shoppers in the Aug/Sept. issue of Shop Smart, a publication from Consumers Union/Consumers Report. Here's a summary: