You may be a shopper who follows a list, compares prices and doubts every offer. Or you may just sling things in a basket and hope for the best. But however you shop, working out what’s cheapest is not always easy.
Supermarkets and big brands want you to spend money with them and so they employ a host of tactics to get you to part with your cash. We’ve pulled out five shopping tactics or issues that we think you should watch out for.
These might not be deliberate ploys or attempts to mislead customers, but they do all make it harder for you to know how to get the best deal. So, here, we’ve suggested ways to beat the system.
Shrinking products costing you more
To compile our list we crunched data from the independent shopping website Mysupermarket.co.uk, visited each supermarket and recorded details from their websites. Not all supermarkets could be included in all categories, as some don’t sell online. Some of the tactics we unearthed include products that shrink in size but not in price – a topic we’ve discussed in great length before.
Now as the saying goes, sometimes good things come in small packages – and when it comes to refills, this may well be the case. In Asda, the Kenco Eco Refill (150g or 275g) was the same price per 100g as the 200g jar. And it’s thanks to the trusty unit price that we can see these kinds of anomalies at a glance – as surely you’d expect the refill to be cheaper?
When bigger isn’t always better value
And on this note, bigger doesn’t always mean better value. We found examples where the bigger pack wasn’t better value, even though some of the larger packs were claimed to be at a special price. This was the case with Tesco selling four cans of Green Giant Original Sweetcorn for £2 (was £2.44) but six cans were proportionally more expensive at £3.56. And that’s despite the fact the larger pack said ‘special value pack’. Sometimes, buying separate items can work out cheaper.
Late last year we called on supermarkets to Make Special Offers Special. We are continuing to talk to the supermarkets about their offers as we think all special offers should be transparent so that you can easily tell which products are cheapest. We’re keen to hear if you’ve been lured in by this pricing tactics and if you feel they’re costing you money in the long run. What is your pet hate when it comes to supermarket pricing?