Saturday, February 14, 2009

$3 each, 6 for $20

Going by a display in Safeway, the pricing on fire logs caught my eye. Not that I am in the market for a fire log, but the idea that they could sell 6 for $2 more than the cumulative individual price said either that they couldn't add (or multiply) or they expected that their customers can't either add or multiply. There are any number of these kinds of pricing strategies in supermarkets across the U.S. Buy one, get one free and actually pay more than the unit price for the same product. Get a $2 off coupon for a product that cost $10 more than the generic brand. Regular price $15, today's special $4 (when was the last time the item sold for $15?).

One of the most useful aspects of food sales is the availability of unit pricing. Most supermarkets mark their product shelves with small labels that tell the cost of the item and and some breakdown of the cost per weight or volume. The range of prices can be considerable, with "house" brands usually costing the least. Wise shoppers learn how to interpret the information provided in the stores to get the best bargains.

By having at least three months of food storage, the buyer is not forced to purchase items at a high seasonal or scarce price. The existence of stored foods, liberates the buyer from the vagaries of day to day price changes and opens up the concept of planned purchases of food. You buy products during the season when the price is low and live off of the stored food when prices are high. You can also adjust the way you purchase food to avoid price spikes.

Food storage becomes a strategy to save money on food over the long term, rather than simply starving when either money or food are scarce.

No comments: