Size Matters

Do you know if something is a good deal?  If you saw something at one store for $1.00 and the same product at another store for $1.29, which would you choose? I think many people would choose the $1.00 product, but is it a better deal?  Well, that depends.  Are both products the same size? Are both products the same brand?  Do they have the same ingredients?  Will you finish the product before it expires?

I love a particular dollar store where everything is $1.00.  I also like a certain bulk store where I sometimes renew my membership every other year (nice trick to save money).  However, I only buy certain products at each of these stores because they have some terrible deals.  I end up not saving too much money at the bulk store because of the membership fee (even though I usually use a new member coupon for half-price membership).  The main reason I sometimes get a membership is because of some products I like that other stores don’t offer.  When my membership is about to expire, I buy the good deals in bulk (as long as I think I’ll use them before they expire).

Consumers were trained many years ago that the bigger product is the better deal.  Retailers and manufacturers know this, and they sometimes use it to their advantage.

Recently, after my weekly dinner with my dad, we went to my favorite dollar store because I knew they had a good deal on something he wanted, and the store was within walking distance.  I showed him around and pointed out some good deals.  I also explained that everything wasn’t a good deal because of the smaller product sizes.  He picked up something he likes and said, “I can’t believe it’s only one dollar!”  I said, “Yes, but look at the ounces.  It might not be a good deal.”  I didn’t have an exact answer since it wasn’t something I buy.  He did buy some products that were good deals.

Side note about our trip: I didn’t get anything!  My dad asked if I needed anything, and I said no.  He asked if I wanted anything, and I said not really.  I moved my head a little, recalling what’s normally in every isle.  I really didn’t want anything at that moment.  I even knew he would probably buy it for me, but I’m not just frugal with my money; I’m frugal with other people’s money too (even at places I’ve worked).  I laughed and told him that I sometimes realize in a few days that I do need something I didn’t get.  (After a week though, I wasn’t missing anything.)  I checked out the seasonal section just in case, but no.  I was leaving with nothing.  It actually felt pretty good. On the very rare occasion I’m in the mood to shop, I head to my dollar store.  I don’t think my dad understands how lucky he his to have a daughter who doesn’t like to shop.  My mom is the same way.  We take a list, get what we need, and leave.  When the three of us travel, we tend to buy food and experiences, but we generally don’t shop for stuff (i.e. souvenirs).

Look at part of the comparison I did with real products and prices.  To see if something is a good deal, you need to break it down into equal units.  As you can see, bigger is not always better.  It’s difficult to compare stores when they offer different sizes.  Knowing the unit price can come in handy.  Some stores also offer good sales when other stores never have sales.  I tend to buy most groceries at grocery stores instead of mass-retailers because the grocery store sales tend to be better than the regular prices of the mass-retailers.  I generally don’t buy household products at grocery stores, but there are sometimes exceptions.

I hope this helps!  Happy deal shopping!

Update:  I no longer purchase warehouse memberships.

Linda 🙂

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