Are you really saving with promotional sales?
HOUSTON Have you ever walked into a grocery store with a list but walked out with a whole lot more because something was on sale? It's not only costing you more, but in many cases, you are not really getting a deal. Amanda Grossman shops the grocery store like it's a game. "Don't think about this week or just next week," Grossman said. "Think about maybe the month." The super thrifty Grossman came up with a list of sneaky ways grocery stores get you to spend more money. No. 1: The classic "Bait and Switch" ad "One of the things that I found is, grocery stores do big promotions every week," Grossman said. Grossmans says those special deals are a great way for stores to reel you in and tempt you to make an additional trip to the store that you wouldn't have made otherwise. To combat this, she says purchase the special deal and leave. No. 2: Grossman calls it the "Switchamaroo." This is when products have decreased their size without decreasing their price. Take for example Tropicana orange juice. The company recently changed its ounces per carton. "Here, this one is 64 ounces; this one is 59 ounces, and you're paying the same price, which is $2.93," she said." Grossman says instead of paying the same price for less product, buy in bulk -- but only if you plan on using it all. No. 3: "Buy 10 for $10" "They seem like wonderful deals, and if you know what you're doing, they are great deals," Grossman said. Grossman says in most cases you don't have to buy 10 items to get the deal. Also be leery of some of the products that are advertised 10 for $10. "They'll sneak in products like gum or something very small, and you know you're really not taking advantage of that promotion and even more so, you might be paying more than you actually would normally," she said. No. 4: Those "Buy one, get one free" sales or "Buy One, Get One for a Penny." "Basically what you need to know is they usually stack up the price on the buy one, so that they recoup some of their costs," Grossman said. To combat this sneaky trick, use coupons. Grossman says when it comes to shopping at the dollar stores, beware. In many cases, you are not getting a better deal than at the grocery store, and sometimes you could actually be paying a little more. For promotions that offer money back for spending a certain amount, become cautious of retailers marking products at odd prices, which force you to buy one extra item. You can get more of Grossman's frugal confessions through blogs posted on her website.