A trip to the grocery store can be time consuming, especially if you’re comparing prices in order to cut back on your budget. However, when it comes to comparison…we aren’t the only ones cutting back. Products on store shelves have been shrinking for years, but with that being said…pricing is higher and what you’re receiving is smaller. So, are consumers being deceived…most likely; yes?

One of my favorite go-to snacks are the Kettle Brand ‘No Salt’ chips. They come in a heavier bag (less breakage), and is somewhat attractive to the eye; a marketing advertisement that works. The price of these chips has increased over the last few months, so shopping for sales is imperative. I’ve paid as much as $3.29 for what seems to be a small bag; they only come in one size…so I thought. Not every store will carry the ‘No Salt’ brand, and they do offer a bag with 50% less salt; possibly a better seller. The grocers I frequent had a sale on this brand for $2.99 so I picked up a couple of bags. The following week, there was another sale at another local grocer so I made the trip. Their offer was fantastic…purchase three bags and pay only $1.99 each! I couldn’t resist. Once I returned home I couldn’t help but notice, the bags were identical but one was slightly (oh so slight) shorter. The pricier bag was 6 oz. while normally they are 8 oz.; a 2 oz. difference but a spike in price. If I had just thrown the bags on the shelf I would have never noticed.

Companies everywhere are sticking to their original labels, they keep the packaging exactly the same while downsizing the product and increasing the price; without the ‘New & Improved’ look. As with the Kettle Brand chips, Coke did a similar gesture; normal cans in a six pack were 8 oz. but then decided to make their cans taller, reducing the quantity of coke to 7.5 oz. Most major companies are following suit; they seem to parallel with one another when shrinking brands; Maxwell House Coffee went from 30 oz. to 26.8, Charmin Toilet Tissue uses their 12 pack to hide their difference from 154 sheets to 142 which equals out to one less roll of tissue. As companies continue to figure out ways to increase profits without alarming consumers, we too must stay on top of our game. Spotting out these minimal changes is important to those who live on a budget.

As a consumer, I want the most bang for my buck; at the same time I know companies have rising costs, like the recent surge in fuel prices, driving transportation costs up and passing it on down the line. I have a feeling we will be seeing a variety of price hikes throughout the U.S…different products along with different services; Amazon recently announced an increase for its Prime Members and online retailers will most likely be adding taxes to its consumers toward the end of this year. It’s all about their bottom line.

Passing on any helpful information for those who shop in-stores or online is always welcome…because let’s face it, we’d all like to make our money stretch a little further than it does.

Make your week count.