Spending Smart

Reporter: Graeme Butler

Times might be getting tough, but for savvy shoppers in can mean big savings, but you have to know how to spend smart. Right now retailers, wholesalers and producers are bending over backwards for your business.

John Stanely is a Perth based retail expert. He consults to shops and businesses across the world. He says customers now expect discounts and sales all the time. So much so that we don't necessarily see them as bargains anymore.

"Things are going to change in the next few weeks and months I actually think some consumers now are almost getting bored of the sale it used to be an event now it's become the normal practice and I think people are starting to say where to next what do we do next" says John Stanley.

The next big thing is value adding and product grouping. The premise is that you've already got the best price you can but what else can be thrown in.

"I think what you're going to see is products bundled together to offer a complete package. For example it might be a meal instead of parts of the meals. Some companies I've come across are actually including the wine in the meal as an offer to the consumer".

"It means added value for customers and I think you'll find that most retailers will offer value added packages for various products and it's probably a good time to be shopping for consumers because there's going to be some pretty good deals around I think" says Rick Hart.

Rick Hart says it's not just retailers. Manufacturers are keen to move their products. Group them together like this Blue Ray Player included in the price of a new Plasma.

"There's lots of options for customers and I think part of our criteria in business is to value add in terms of service that might be removing packaging installing a refrigerator or washing machine. Taking away the old might be free storage for people that are building or renovating and got nowhere to put stuff but they want to get it at today's prices".

The key to smart shopping is to recognise a bargain and that can go beyond the ticket price of the item. Think about the delivery, the removal of your old appliance and even the packaging those things can cost you real dollars and you might be able to get them included in price but remember if you don't ask you don't get.

"Look I think customers should always ask. Ask what's included in the price and be keen to explore what the options are around the place. As I said there's a fair bit of innovation around the place in terms of retailing at the moment and that creates opportunities for customers" says Rick.

It's not only big ticket items where there's money to be saved. The shelves of your local supermarket are becoming a bargain hunter's paradise. If you know what you want.

"Definitely people on a budget understand that if they invest a bit more in that bulk buy at the end of the day it's going to save them money" says John Cummings.

John Cummings heads the Independent Grocers association in W.A. He says supermarkets are offering great deals on bulk or grouped buys. For example buying more than one item for a cheaper price.

"What happens is the manufacturer wants to shift some products. He then goes to the retailers and says we'll sell you this bulk pack at this price and we basically sell it for what it costs us and it's an absolute saving to the consumer. As I said if they buy those bulk packs at the end of the month they have saved money" says John Cummings.

The art of saving with bulk is to follow the price cycles of specials. They happen every two or three weeks depending on the product. Anna is a savvy shopper. She says the bargains are great, but be warned you'll get caught if you only buy a single product.

"People that are on strict budget, if they want to buy 2 lots of shampoos say for example 2 shampoos are $4 what happens then is that when you go through the check out if you're only going to purchase one it's not like one shampoo is $2 it's the actual unit price so you might find it a lot more and a lot of people don't check their dockets" says Anna.

The tip to save is to always know your product. Do your homework and avoid impulse buying.

"The first thing is write out a list. The second thing is to stick to that list and the third thing is to look for those bulk packs. Look for things on specials. These three things alone can save you 25% - 30% off your weekly grocery bill and that is a lot of money if you're on a tight budget".