Shopping in Bulk: Bust or Save?

Shopping Savings
on October 18, 2012

There are many bulk options these days that are not actually smart buys for the consumer. Many times, retailers or manufacturers will hide higher prices behind the illusion of a lower price, bundling together a certain type of product to make it seem less expensive. However, after breaking down the math, the bundled options do not save them any more money than purchasing items one at a time.

One of the most common options that you may have seen at your grocery store is the “10 for $10” option that many grocery stores will offer to its customers on a daily basis, stopping only to switch the products on which it offers the deal. However, these bundled deals actually may not be the big savings that most people think that they are.

Here are a few ways to vet those bundled deals so that you can really see if you are saving money by participating in them.

1.  Check to see if you can buy these products one by one or if you are beholden to the entire bundle.

In order to hide the true nature of a bundled deal such as a 10 for $10, grocery stores will often require that you purchase the entire bundle in order to take advantage of the savings package.

This can seem to be advantageous at first glance. However, if there is no way that you can use 10 of the product before it spoils, you are doing yourself a disservice.

Also, if you cannot split up the purchase, you need to check the per unit price when it is divided by 10. You can also check the price of the total weight of the product if it is a product that is used by weight. Many times, the unit price when drilled down in this manner is more than an individual serving of the product.

2. Check to see if the bundled package is less than an economy sized package of the same product.

In order to see if you are really getting a good deal on a bundled product package, you can check the price of that bundle against an economy sized package of the same product. The economy sized packaging is basically combining the smaller sizes into a bundle without having to bundle them, and the price may actually be less for that prearranged packaging.

You will only know for sure when you compare the price of similarly sized packages. You can take the price per oz as a measure of which package will cost more.

3. Check to see if the bundled price actually has a lower per unit price than the same product individually wrapped.

Often, grocery stores will simply hope that people do not look to the side of the sale to see that the sale price is not really a sale price at all. You may have seen two prices for the same product and wondered why a grocery store would overlook such a thing – just know that sometimes it is done on purpose to catch the people who are not paying as close attention as you are. Doing the math will never steer you in the wrong direction – the hard numbers will not tell you a lie.

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