Shelf Tags Hold More Information Than Just a Price


The Number That Makes the Difference

This might seem like a no-brainer, but many people overlook some basic information on price tags that could save them $100’s throughout their grocery shopping adventures. It’s nothing crazy, just a set of numbers that some overlook and don’t think twice about when they see it. But once you finally understand what those numbers actually mean, then you’ll always check them before you walk away with a product off the shelf.

I’m talking about the “price per pound, price per ounce, and price per count” labels on shelf tags.

These are usually located right next to the price of the product and carry a lot more weight than one might think. They show
 the VALUE of what you are buying and once you know how to compare them between two products, you can ensure that you are making the most of your dollar.

You can see the magical number in the image to the right. It is the 78.8¢ per gallon measure in orange. This is the number to truly look at when shopping on a budget. 

Yes, the 2/$5.00 might seem like a great deal, but is it the best? We'll see.


How to Compare Them and Win!

Now we'll learn how to read the tags. We’ll use a box of cereal as a simple example.

There are two sizes of the same cereal right next to each other on the shelf: an 11oz box and a 15oz box.


11oz box is priced at $2.99          and        15oz box is priced at $3.99


The 11oz box, although less expensive price-wise, is actually more expensive than the 15oz box. The 11oz box has a price per ounce of $0.2718/oz. ($2.99 ÷ 11 = $0.2718), whereas the 15oz box has a price per ounce of only $0.2660/oz ($3.99 ÷ 15 = $0.2660).

You get more cereal for your dollar if you get the bigger box. This means that you get to eat more for every dollar you spend, but more importantly, you'll buy that cereal less overall throughout the year.

This might not seem like a huge difference, but think of it in regards to the big picture. This is one grocery item. When people shop, they usually purchase more than one item at a time and sometimes can have carts full of groceries. Now multiply all those full grocery carts times the number of trips you take in a year. Those small savings begin to add up.

That is why it is very important to understand these units of measure on the price tag.


Why They’re There

Companies spend a lot of money on their marketing divisions to create the perception of ‘value’ for their products to target the average consumer.  And at times, they get really tricky with it.

Think of this: Have you ever purchased a bag of potato chips, opened it up, and questioned where the rest of the chips went? Like the bag you just bought was mostly air. Well at one point, I’m sure that bag was filled with chips but overtime, companies have continually lessened the amount of chips in the bag while keeping the size of the bag the same.

Consumers think that they are still buying the same bag of chips as they were 3 years ago, but don’t realize that it's actually a fraction of what they were getting before.

Because of this ‘trickery’, there have been regulations put into place to keep the consumers aware and that is why you see these ‘price per ounce’ numbers on the price tags. You as the consumer need to be informed as to what exactly you are buying.

Companies are hoping that you overlook this portion of the price tag in hopes of capitalizing on your normal spending habits. Say they know that if you buy laundry detergent 10 times each year and they decide to 'downsize' the amount in a bottle, they now know that with your purchasing frequency, you'll have to purchase 1 more bottle (at the same price) before the year is done. This 'trickery' is sorcery.


Second Nature

Now for myself, looking at these price tag indicators have become second nature. I completely forget that I’m doing it when I'm out shopping and it was actually difficult for me to come up with this post as it was something I found to be natural. I figured what was natural to me, may not be natural to you. So here I share and I hope you take it and run with it.

The best part about these numbers being second nature to me: I’m saving money without even thinking about it. Now that’s the best way to save money.



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