Be the savvy shopper who scores the bargain

Published 6:50 am Wednesday, March 13, 2024

By Bonnie Brown

A few weeks ago, President Biden commented on the increased price of food products.  He most specifically mentioned that snacks are now packaged in smaller quantities, but the cost of the item stayed the same.  

I think we have all experienced sticker shock in the last several months when the grocery bill rang up.  I certainly have.  And the Consumer Price Index Bureau claims that families are now paying 25 percent more for groceries than they were before the pandemic.

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I had been buying McCafe coffee pods, but I recently switched to Great Value Donut Shop pods.  I decided I would buy a small box and see how the coffee compared.  The taste was delicious.  It is 100 percent Arabica, which is supposed to be a quality coffee.  Arabica beans are often considered superior in taste.

I just recently checked the price and for 48 pods, the cost of the McCafe pods was $27.97.  The cost for Great Value Donut Shop was $16.47 for 48 pods.  Quite a price difference.  Needless to say, that in spite of my brand loyalty when shopping, I switched.  The coffee is delicious, and the savings are noteworthy. 

When I say I’m brand loyal, I mean it.  When I find a product that does what I need it to do, I will stick with it.  Until, that is, they change the packaging for a “new and improved” version that was working for me.  I may not even remember the name of an item since I am a visual shopper. 

I know the colors and design to expect to see each time I select my preferred product from the aisle.  However, when the manufacturer decides to claim the product “new and improved” and change the packaging, they may lose me. For two reasons. First, I don’t buy into the “new and improved” claims.  Secondly, the new packaging may not be readily identifiable to me, this visual shopper.  

There is also evidence that consumers are seeking out “dupe” (duplicate) or knockoff deals looking for bargains for popular products in the form of off-brands or knockoffs.  

Younger shoppers are less brand loyal than their parents and grandparents.  This trend is not only about food items, but applies to just about every item you purchase — clothes, home goods, beauty supplies, etc.  

Now, when it comes to electronics, consumers are more likely to purchase the brand items rather than knock-offs or “dupes.”  I’m thinking it might be because of the warranties that accompany these pricey electronics, and we all know that at some point during ownership, you’re gonna need to contact customer service for these items.  

There’s example after example of these price differences and consumers are embracing the off-brand and it is becoming trendy and even fashionable to be frugal, to find that bargain brand that undercuts the price of the brand item.  

I remember during my school days, there were shoes and certain clothing items that I desperately felt that I should be wearing instead of the cheaper shoes and home-sewn clothing.  

But I will say that my mother was an excellent seamstress and when it counted that my outfit be a “stand-out” she made it happen and I was proud to wear the garment.

So be the savvy shopper who scores the bargain “dupe” online, in the food aisle, at the estate sale, or thrift store.  And feel proud to brag about your savings and for being so cool.