I’ve been seeing a lot of pseudo deals lately and – can I be honest? It’s really starting to cheese me off. Maybe you’ve seen them: the store produces a pretty color sale flyer with a big picture of a whozit on the cover and a big red sale price with an exclamation point. Then they tell you where to find a coupon for this item to sweeten the deal even more.
Only the whozit is not on sale at all. In fact, after coupon it’s still a little more expensive than what you pay at a real sale price.
As this trend seems to be gaining popularity among retailers, I thought I’d share a few common techniques used to make us think we’re getting a good deal. If you’re not familiar with typical prices on your most purchased items, you may fall victim to the pseudo deal. Here are some tips to help you avoid them:
One Price For Multiple Purchases
I have seen many instances of stores hiking up a price and marketing it as a multi-purchase deal. Example: my local store carries name brand macaroni & cheese for $0.92 per box. A recent weekly sale advertised it at 5 for $5! That’s a “sale” price that’s $0.08 more than what we typically pay. When buying items priced this way, make sure you’re really getting a deal.
Bulk Size or Multi-Packaged Items
You may be surprised how often a multi-pack is actually more expensive than buying each item individually. Two examples I see a lot: chicken noodle soup sells in my area for $0.79 per can, or you can get a four pack for $3.84. That’s an increase of $0.17 per can! Another common culprit is canned tuna. Priced at $0.84 per can in my area or $5.99 for a 6 pack. That’s an increase of $0.16 per can! I’ve found this to be the case with some extra large cereal boxes and other items in various departments. Stores are hoping we’ll assume that our “bulk” purchase items will be lower priced and just scarf them up without looking closely. I guess it must be working for them, because they’ve been at it for years.
Arbitrary Limits on Purchases
Retailers use the psychology of the purchase limits to make us think they’re offering a hot deal. But sometimes it’s just a marketing gimmick. Become familiar with the average price of your frequently purchased items to avoid this trap.
Did you know that manufacturers often pay extra to have their products at eye level? Even when they don’t, stores routinely place the higher profit items in this location. They know we’re in a hurry and may not have time to look at every shelf, so they strategically place the higher profit items where we will be most likely to see it, grab it and go. Recently I was in Target when I noticed a full size name-brand deodorant on the bottom shelf priced at $0.97. This was the lowest priced product they carried, and I had to hunt for it. Those found at eye level were priced at $3-$4+ each.
Tune in tomorrow when I’ll share four more tips for avoiding the pseudo-deal!
Posted in: frugal living tips