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How to Tell When a Special Deal is Not So Special

Special offers at the supermarket aren’t always what they seem.

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Special offers at the supermarket aren’t always what they seem. It doesn’t mean you can’t get better value by taking advantage of discounts and deals – you just need to make sure it really is going to save you money. Here are some “deals” that you should approach with caution:

1. Price Cuts That Aren’t Real

Just because some deals say it costs less than full price, it doesn’t always mean it was on sale at the higher price for long. Sometimes promotions featuring a “was/now” price change sticker are on sale at the reduced price for longer and more often.

2. Bigger Packs More Expensive

Big “value packs” suggest the best value. But it’s sometimes the case that it’s cheaper to buy the smaller packs. You can also get caught out by the packaging being downsized but the price staying the same, or fruit and vegetables being cheaper sold loose rather than in packs (and vice versa).Tip: Most supermarkets have the unit price (eg, per 100g) on the label located on the shelf, so you can check whether it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.

3. Multi-Buys can cost more than single items

If you need more than one of an item, multi-buys such as Buy One, Get One Free, can save you cash. Be careful though: some supermarkets have been found to increase the price of one item when they’re in a promotion and lower it when they’re not. This makes you think you’re saving more than you really are.

The word “Special!” makes the shopper believe the product on sale is scarce, available only in one shop, and for a short time only. The shopper responds almost instinctively by buying the product – retail psychologists called this response the Scarcity Effect.



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