How I Saved Over 50% on My Last Purchase at the Grocery Store

Do you know how to be a savvy shopper at the grocery store? I’m not talking about flyers or coupons or buying what is in season. I mean REALLY paying attention to what you are buying. There are so many little tricks out there aimed at getting us to spend more money. Can you spot them?

Yesterday I had to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. As I was waiting in line, I noticed denture cleaning tablets on the shelf. I have a mouth guard at home (hey, it might not be super sexy but it’s better then grinding down teeth!), and it needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Sometimes I’m lazy and just brush it but it’s a good idea to get some cleaning tablets too. As I was pondering whether denture cleaning tablets were safe for mouth guards, the pharmacist called me up.

While ringing in my prescription, I asked her whether she knew if the denture cleaning tablets were safe for mouth guards. She said that someone had asked her the same thing yesterday and they had found “mouth guard safe”cleaning tablets next to the denture ones.  Awesome. So I go take a look, grab the box, and then double back….this is what I saw:

So, here are the observations:

  • Overnight cleaning tablets for dentures: $8.79
  • Retainer tablets (mouth guard safe as per logo on bottom left hand corner): $6.49
  • At first glance the retainer tablets are cheaper, however you are smarter than that and observe the quantity in each box – 96 vs 32
  • Hmm….you don’t get nearly as many tablets in the Retainer box….
  • See that yellow circled price on the bottom right hand side….that’s the per unit (in this case per tablet) price. $0.09 for the Overnight tablets, and $0.20 for the Retainer tablets!! That’s over DOUBLE the price!!! WHAT?!
  • Ok, hold on, hold on. Before we jump to conclusions, maybe the price premium is due to the chemical make up of the tablets. So the next step is to look at the ingredients on each box to see the differences. Guess what….the ingredients were exactly the same! (You’ll have to take my word on this one, I tried taking a picture but the text on the boxes was tiny).

So to summarize,

……EXACTLY the same product, over twice the cost!

Why? Because of fancy marketing.

Now, I could list HUNDREDS of examples in the store of how companies do this. Womens shaving cream vs mens? No difference, just pink packaging. Tylenol vs no name brand? No difference, just patents.

So here are some tips for you next time you are at the store:

  1. Observe the PER UNIT price of the items you are buying
  2. Look at the ingredient list – many items can be marked as having this extra feature or that added benefit, but when it boils down to the ingredients, they are the same
  3. Don’t fall for flashy marketing tactics
  4. BONUS TIP: I didn’t talk about it in this post, but items which are placed at eye level on the store shelves are ALWAYS the most expensive. Take a moment to look up and down for cheaper alternatives.

I hope this helps you to avoid unnecessarily high grocery bills 🙂



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