Are You Getting What You Pay For? -- Savings Experiment

Are You Getting What You Pay For?
Are You Getting What You Pay For?

From shampoo to sliced bread, many brands have been downsizing their products, all while charging you the same price. So, how can you tell if you're really getting what you pay for? Here are a few tips on how to shop smart and avoid getting tricked.

First, check the net weight every time you buy a product and compare it against competing brands. Sometimes two items will appear nearly identical in price and size, but different in weight. The scale never lies.

Product packaging can also be pretty deceptive. Take cereal for example. Some boxes may appear to be the same at first glance, when you turn them side by side you'll see that some are smaller and don't hold as much.

This trick is done with peanut butter, too. Check the bottom of the container. If it looks more hollowed out than usual, you're likely getting less for your money.

Packages aren't the only thing shrinking -- toilet paper has undergone a lot of downsizing over the years. Some companies will advertise a high amount of sheets per roll, even though the overall size of the roll has been reduced considerably. Don't be fooled.

Lastly, be on the lookout for marketing catchphrases. Words like "New and Improved," "Healthier" and "Greener," can sometimes create the illusion of a new item, when, in fact, you're spending the same money on less product.

If all this seems like too much to follow on your own, check out the "Grocery Shrink Ray" on Consumerist.com. This section tracks and lists downsized products, so you'll know if your favorite cookies got smaller, or if you're hallucinating.

Follow these tips the next time you shop, and you'll see that even though the products may be shrinking, your bank account won't.

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