How To Really Shop The Specials Catalogues

Retailers spend lots of money getting their specials catalogues in your hands. Here are some dos and don’ts to really save you money.
U
Melissa
Cohen
Published: Wednesday, April 19th 2017
General
Retailer’s have designed the specials catalogues to get you through their doors. Not to save you money, but in the hopes that – while you’re there – you pick up a whole bunch of extra stuff (because you’re ‘saving’ anyway, right?). But, a little bit of frugality, common sense, and mindful spending, can see you walk out their doors a real smart shopper. debt review

What To Avoid When Shopping The Specials Catalogues

We’re not suggesting you go coupon crazy (we’re not in America), but let’s put the specials to task. They’re meant to save us money, but whether we actually save any is up to us, shoppers. There are a number of measures to take to make sure we get the last buck. But first, a couple of ‘specials’ to avoid.

1. Two For One, Three For Two

These are referred to as “open-the-wallet” items. They’re designed to get shoppers to let their guard down and loosen the grip on their hard-earned money. We’ve mentioned before how retailers use this trick to move more product (and still make a profit). The trick here is to assess the cost of the items you’re paying for, regardless of the freebie. Is it priced competitively or has it been bucked up by a few cents? Don’t let the free item trick you into buying more than usual. Unless you’re splitting the cost for all the items in the deal with friends.

2. Anything Not On Special, And Not On Your Grocery List

We’d go as far as to include anything that IS on special but is NOT on your grocery list. Let’s just be real for a second. Retailers only discount their products to get you into their stores. Once there, who knows how much more you’ll spend on non-essentials? You literally need to head into the store with blinkers on. The catalogue with your selected items clearly circled held up in front of your face will suffice.

3. Competitions And Promotions

Like we said, the specials catalogue lured you in, and now the promotional displays are the barrage meant to overwhelm and confuse you. You know the type, buy three of these branded items and swipe your loyalty card at the till and you could go to Mauritius. Or win a bike. Don’t fall for it. Even if the item was on your list, just get the one!
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The Dos Of Shopping The Specials

That said, there are ways to beat the system. It all comes down to being utterly ruthless in your budget buying.

1. Compare Catalogues

Brand loyalty and reward programmes be darned. Shop all the promotional catalogues, even if it means multiple stops. Chances are, there’ll be different items on special at each store (no accident, mind you). So, don’t get lazy here. Shopping multiple specials means you could get the majority of your monthly necessities at the lowest price. And, if something's not on sale on any of the lists, just give it two weeks... Viccy Baker, founder of Red Gekko’s Retail Price Watch, said that if customers shop regularly at one chain they have already paid a higher price than the average in the weeks and months preceding the special. But, don’t stop there – compare savings too. Would it be cheaper to go for the two Sunlight Liquids for R35 (as an example), or the single refill (not on special), which is possibly up to R10 cheaper than the bottle?

2. Make A Physical List

Instead of just circling the items in your promotional leaflet – why not consolidate the items onto a single grocery list per store you plan on visiting? That way you could scratch off each item you came for and physically see when there's nothing left to keep you in store. This way, you avoid the urge to 'save' a little more while you're there.

3. Count Your Savings

Okay this isn’t necessary, it just feels awesome to see how much you’ve actually saved by putting in a little elbow grease. This is a good practice to maintain every week / month. You'll also be able to keep track of the actual price of items and not fall for any false specials. There have been cases of retailers marketing goods at a 'special price' that's higher than it was in previous months. Don't say we didn't warn you.