EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 18, 2013

How good is your good deal?

One of the questions I hear most often is, “How do I know I’m getting the best price?”

Here’s my standard.

Whether I’m buying a bottle of barbecue sauce or a winter coat, my goal always is to cut the price by half or more. While I love to get “crazy” deals (such as matching a $1 coupon to that barbecue sauce when it goes on sale for $1!) my usual goal is generally less lofty.

When you use this simple rule of thumb (cut the price in half) it becomes easy to recognize when an item falls into a good-buy range.

While you may find that over time your range of savings will fall a little over or a little under this mark, it’s a good one for which to aim. When shopping for groceries, you’re most likely to achieve that goal by combining both a sale and a coupon.

For example, this week I purchased a 12 double-roll pack of name-brand toilet paper. Its regular price was $7.99 but it was on sale for $4.99. With a $1 coupon, I cut the price to $3.99: half price. I knew this was a good buy, too, because the per-roll price hit my personal buy benchmark for toilet paper: less than 25 cents per single roll, less than 50 cents per double roll or less than $1 for a mega roll. I paid about 33 cents per double roll, a very good deal.

Of course, when a good sale comes around, you’ll want to stock up as much as you can. I had four coupons for the toilet paper sale, so now I have plenty in the house until the next great sale.

Want another example?

This week, I also stocked up on pasta. A popular brand was on sale for $1 per box, down from $1.50. I had coupons good for $1 off the purchase of two boxes that dropped the price from $1 to 50 cents per box! That’s a drop of about 66 percent, even better than cutting the price in half.

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