Shopping Only By Sales is not Shopping Frugal.ly
I have seen this several times – Retailer A is selling cereal – Buy 2 for $5.00, regularly priced at $3.00 each. If you bought two at the regular price, that would be $6 but you are only paying $5 when you buy two (WYB in Coupon Lingo) – you save $1 or 16.6% This drives me nuts when people say how much you are saving on a sale – the thinking is all wrong.
Tip for the parents out there – have your kids practice their math to figure out percentages – see this handy reference from Christina, Plain and Simple:
By the way – I love Christina’s blog on the topic of calculating how much she saved with coupons, check it out! This is the right way to calculate percentage saved.
OK, back to my rant.
Buying two for $5.00 works out to $2.50 each. I happen to be shopping at Retailer B who normally sells a single box of the same cereal for $2.39 and they are not having a sale. Some people want to focus on sales that get them big savings. Buying at Retailer A you save $1 or over 15%! With that logic, buying at Retailer B you save $0 or 0% – doesn’t sound like saving very much at all. But in reality, Retailer B has the better deal.
The problem with big savings numbers is that in order to save big, you have to start with a really big starting price and work your way down. You can save big at stores that normally charge really high prices. You shop at stores that normally charge low prices, you aren’t going to see such big numbers. And when you shop at more expensive stores, they make up the difference on the things you buy that aren’t on sale. That’s why we here at Frugal.ly don’t let ourselves get too distracted (OK, maybe a little bit distracted, but not TOO distracted) by big sales.
Now, I don’t mind calculating how much you saved – but do your own calculations with your own numbers not with the retailer’s numbers. And if you really want to see big numbers, compare the original price charged by the more expensive retailer to the cheaper retailer ($3.00 – $2.39/$3.00 = 20.3% savings!) – well, that might be going overboard.
For Frugalific Savings You Gotta Compare Grocery Prices
So this post kicks off our series ‘Compare Grocery Prices for Frugalific Savings’ – part of our ‘Frugal.ly Philosophy For Shopping’ line of fabulous, fun and frugal blog posts. Topics we cover will be, starting from least effort to most effort:
- Compare Unit Prices for Frugalific Savings
- Compare Brands for Even Frugaler Savings
- Compare Retailers for the Frugalest Savings
- Keeping Track of All Those Prices (or ‘Wouldn’t it be Easier to Just Pay Whatever They Are Asking?’)
Once we get the basics down, then we start talking about saving even more by using coupons and other promotions for not just Frugalific but truly Frugtastic Savings! But that is a topic for a different series.
In order to save money, you have to look at the big picture. You have to compare grocery prices – and not just compare the regular price and the sale price at a particular retailer. You have to compare across different sizes of the product, across different retailers selling that product, and even across brands that compete with that product. You gotta shop Frugalifically!
Enjoy the series!
- Christina, Plain and Simple: Coupon Math: Calculating Percent Saved