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Decoding Grocery Store Prices: 3 Tips to Spot a Good Deal

Decoding Grocery Store Prices: 3 Tips to Spot a Good Deal
Kate Loweth

Grocery shopping – either you love it or you hate it. Personally, I love it because I enjoy the challenge of finding the best deal. With these tips in your cart, you will be on your way to shopping smarter at the grocery store!

 Know a Good Price When You See Itgrocery store price

Grocery store prices fluctuate and it is sometimes hard to know whether a sale price is really a good deal or not.

Think about the items you buy regularly at the grocery store – milk, butter, bread, bananas, etc. Pay attention to the prices you are paying for these items for a few months. You can keep a list on your smartphone or even in your head if you have a good memory. After a few months of monitoring the price of these items you will have a good idea what an average price for each item is. Once you have that price, you know that any time the price goes lower than the average it is time to “stock up” on that product.

For example, we go through a lot of butter in my house. It just disappears, I have no idea how it happens! In my area of the country, butter costs around $3.00/pound. When I see butter less than this price (typically around big baking holidays like Christmas and Easter), I will buy more. Butter has a pretty long shelf life, does not take up a lot of room in my fridge and will definitely be used in my house before it goes bad. Plus, you can freeze butter to extend its shelf life even further.

All of that knowledge helps me to know when is a time to stock up and when I should just buy enough to get me through to the next stock up opportunity.

Know How To Read Your Price Tags

Now this might sound kind of stupid but really it is a skill that you can master if you know what to look for. Let’s say you need to buy brownie mix. There are many shelves full of different choices. But if you do not have a specific brand preference, it can sometimes be hard to determine which is the least expensive item.

If you look closely, your price tag will tell you which item to buy. What you want to look for is the price per ounce for each product. That will allow you to compare a 12 ounce box priced at $2.75 to a 10 ounce box priced at $2.50 (without having to use the calculator on your smartphone). The tag will tell you that the 12 ounce box is a better deal as it is 23 cents per ounce versus 25 cents per ounce for the 10 ounce box. Even paper products have a price per sheet that can help you to compare different items.

Watch Out For Sale Tricksgrocery store basket

Grocery stores want you to buy more so they employ marketing tricks to get you to buy multiples of an item that you really only wanted to purchase one of. For a “buy one, get one free” deal it is definitely worthwhile to get two of the item because you are paying the same price whether you buy one or two.

But how about when your store is offering bags of Doritos at “two for $5” and you really only wanted to buy one bag. Do you have to buy two bags to get the price of $2.50/bag? Typically, no. In the vast majority of stores you can buy just one bag and get the sale price of $2.50.

Shopping should not have to be complicated. If you follow these three tips you will be shopping smart and saving money!


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