Grocery Store Flyers - Deal or No Deal?

Use Caution Before Jumping on Sales Advertised in Weekly Grocery Store Circulars

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A thrifty tip to cut the cost of food is to plan your meals with your coupons and with weekly grocery store flyers and circulars by your side. This is the best way to save on your weekly food budget. However, sometimes the advertised sales do not add up to much in savings and could even cost you more money. Here are ways to make sure you are getting a good deal on the products advertised in your weekly store flyers.

BOGO - Buy One Get One Deals

There are excellent BOGO deals at the grocery stores, but there are also some very deceptive offers. Before you jump on a BOGO sale, do some price checking.

  • Buy One Get One Free Meat Deals
    Usually, the BOGO meats are displayed in a case away from the other meats. Take time to check in the meat department for the best prices per pound and compare the prices with the meat that is on a BOGO promotion. Many times the BOGO meat prices will be increased to absorb the cost of the free meat.
  • Expiration Dates
    Even canned foods have expiration dates. Those that are nearing the expiration date or already expired for "best used by" are often placed on a BOGO promotion.
  • Store Coupon Policy on BOGO Purchases
    Find out what the grocery store's policy is on using coupons with BOGO sales. Some stores allow you to use a coupon on each product, including the free products. When stores do allow this, it can turn an average BOGO sale into a real money saver.

    Sizing It Up

    You may see an item listed as being "On Sale" in your weekly grocery flyer. Often the sale items will be for the smaller containers of a product, and the larger containers which are not on sale are the better deal. Comparing unit prices will help you determine which product is the best deal.

    10 for $10 Deals

    At first glance the "10 for $10" deals can look pretty good until you realize that you can buy seven out of the 10 for under a dollar at another grocery store. Keeping a price book on products you use on a regular basis will help you determine if you are getting a good deal on "quantity for less" promotions.

    Two-For Deals

    Products selling at "two-for $x.xx" can sometimes be deceptive. For example, if you see aspirin marked two for $4, but the regular price is $2, there is no real deal when you buy two.  

    You will also want to check the prices of the other non-promoted brands. You may find they are cheaper than the brand on promotion. Always dig deeper to see if the "two-for" deals are real deals.

    Loss Leaders

    A "loss leader" in a grocery store is a product sold at a substantial discount to generate traffic and increase sales.

    Stores will often advertise a loss leader, knowing that there are limited quantities, and they are likely to run out before the advertised expiration date of the promotion.

    This is where the store's rain check policy can come in handy. If you see a product advertised in a store circular that is drastically reduced, and you get to the store only to find out the item is sold out, ask for a rain check.

    Great Value! Or Is It?

    Sometimes a "great value" isn't a deal at all. Take, for example, the coffee I like to buy. The non-sale price is $5.75 a pound. During holiday weekends it is often promoted for $3.99 a pound. That is as low as the price will go, so I know to stock up. But between the promotional times, it is often advertised as a "great value" for $5.50 a pound which is not a great value at all.

    The Bottom Line

    Unfortunately, advertised offers cannot always be taken at face value when shopping for the best deals on food. But if you keep up with prices and make certain to read the weekly flyers carefully before buying, you won't be fooled into spending money on deals that just look like deals.