Looks are deceiving. But not deceptive.

Hey, Look, Basic Math Can Be Really Useful!

The retail environment takes a huge toll on people who can’t do math. Sort of. This Safeway display is fairly typical: identically-sized packages of the anti-histimine loratadine (generic Claritin) sit side by side, with one price a little higher than the other. Look more closely: those boxes are the same size because the pills are impossibly tiny. One bottle offers more than twice as many as the other. [More]

(Northwest dad)

4 Things That Make You Spend Too Much Money At The Grocery Store

Roaming the aisle of the grocery store can sometimes feel like walking around in a big money pit. Sure, everyone needs food to survive, but does it have to end up costing an arm and a leg every time you make a trip to stock up on your weekly necessities? If you’re walking out shaking your head and wondering how it all piles up, you can probably chalk it up to a few reasons. [More]

QVC is now charging less, but it's a worse deal.

A ‘List Price’ Isn’t Real Just Because Some Company Says It Is

Yes, it’s pretty much consumer common sense that the “list” prices that companies use to convince us how great their bargains are can be more or less nonsense. Anyone can make their own list, then put prices on it. Just in case you need a refresher, though, here are two great reader-submitted examples of discount prices that aren’t all that discounted. [More]

The targeted Walmarts.

Do Different Walmarts Charge The Same Price For The Same Item?

Have you ever wondered whether different Walmart stores in the same area charge the same price for the same items? Perhaps you did, but never got around to doing the legwork to find out whether that’s actually the case. Fortunately, Rob Cockerham is here, and has a lot of free time. Evidently. He did the experiment that I’ve always wanted to do, driving around to three different Walmarts around Sacramento on the same day to compare the prices of identical items. The results? Don’t waste your time driving around to different Walmarts for groceries. Unless you live in Rancho Cordova and need to buy an awful lot of chicken breasts.
[More]

How To Find The Best Nearby Beer Sales

How To Find The Best Nearby Beer Sales

You may hear about a nice beer sale, but without research you may be missing better offers elsewhere. Luckily there’s a site that will virtually stroll the aisles for you and point you in the right direction to find the cheapest booze. [More]

Price Comparison Apps That Help You Save On The Go

Price Comparison Apps That Help You Save On The Go

Your smartphone certainly costs enough in monthly service plans and data fees, so you can make it earn its keep by using price comparison apps when you’re shopping. Mobile apps help you pit retailers against one another to help you save money on your purchases. [More]

Higher Education Charging High Prices For Food On Campus

Higher Education Charging High Prices For Food On Campus

It’s not just drug stores that have boosted prices for grocery items, but also campus dining options at universities. Reader Bryan Carroll wrote an article about them for his school newspaper at Stonybrook University, The Statesman. On average, he found the food items from the campus commissary were a whopping 42 percent higher than local grocery stores. [More]

How Buying Grocery Items At A Drug Store Can Be A Bad Deal

How Buying Grocery Items At A Drug Store Can Be A Bad Deal

Drug stores have been adding more and more food items to their shelves lately, but is it a good deal to get your mac and cheese from the same place you get your Advil? ConsumerWorld did a mystery shopping investigation to find out, and the results will give you a headache. [More]

Is Walmart Or Target Cheaper?

Is Walmart Or Target Cheaper?

Ok, so the official studies are telling us that Target is now actually beating Walmart on price, but is it for real? Rob Cockerham decided to put the superstores to the test. He shopped for the identical shopping list and compared the final tally. Who won? [More]

How Do Airlines Compare On Fees?

How Do Airlines Compare On Fees?

It’s hard to keep track of all the extra fees airlines have invented to pad a ticket purchase, especially since they keep introducing new ones; USA TODAY says revenue from added fees have jumped nearly 16% from a year ago. The newspaper reviewed fees from 13 airlines in the U.S. and compiled this handy reference chart of current fee schedules, to make comparison shopping a little bit easier. As expected, Southwest continues to be one of the best values. [More]

Blame Manufacturers For Annoying Hidden Prices Online

Blame Manufacturers For Annoying Hidden Prices Online

Have you been noticing more and more lately that no matter which online retailer you visit, you have to add the item to your shopping cart to see the price? Blame it on manufacturers, who are taking advantage of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling to be more aggressive about controlling pricing online, writes the New York Times. [More]

Chart Makes Comparing Cell Phone Carriers Slightly Less Confusing

Chart Makes Comparing Cell Phone Carriers Slightly Less Confusing

If you’re in the market for a new cell phone and calling plan, the sheer number of options is terrifying. According to Billshrink.com, there are (theoretically) 10,000 possible combinations of voice plans, data plans, other add-ons, and … I think I need to lie down. But wait! Here’s a nice, objective cell phone plan comparison chart that can help you make sense of all this madness! [More]

Goodreads: A Better Alternative To Amazon's User Reviews

Goodreads: A Better Alternative To Amazon's User Reviews

Amazon’s user reviews for books are problematic because they serve more than one master. They’re meant to help inform consumers, sure, but they’re also meant to drive sales, and sometimes they’re even used by angry consumers as a form of protest. If you’re looking for more honest feedback on books, try Goodreads. [More]

See Which Retailers Offer Free Shipping

See Which Retailers Offer Free Shipping

The website istobe offers a daily free shipping report for over 500 online retailers, where you can quickly see whether there’s a minimum purchase requirement or if the retailer offers free shipping at all. It’s a good resource to use as you compare prices, and istobe says they update it daily.

Ask.com Launches New Service To Find The Best Deals

Ask.com Launches New Service To Find The Best Deals

Ask.com has launched a new service—ask.com/deals—dedicated to finding the best deals online. We don’t know how well it works, but we like the tabs that let you quickly jump to free shipping offers and printable coupons. It might be a decent starting place if you’re in the market for something and need to comparison shop first. Update: Our readers say it’s not worth your time, at least in its current state—results are paltry and frequently old or expired.

How To File A Complaint Against Your Insurer

How To File A Complaint Against Your Insurer

After our post yesterday ended up crashing the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ consumer information website, we received an email from them. They said they wanted to explain how the site works to address some reader questions, as well as point out that you too can contribute to the rankings by filing complaints when your insurer does something objectionable.

Find Out How Much Your Insurer Sucks

Find Out How Much Your Insurer Sucks

So you suspect your health/auto/home insurer is run by the devil, but you’re not sure whether the alternative you’re considering is any better. Kiplinger Finance has posted a helpful article on how to find the complaint ratio of an insurer via the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website. Update: here’s how to file your own complaint.

Are Dollar Stores Really That Cheap?

Are Dollar Stores Really That Cheap?

Kim McGrigg at Blogging for Change took a look at the dollar stores in her neighborhood and found that it can take some work to make sure you’re actually saving money. In fact, on a couple of items she actually paid a fraction more than what she would have at a superstore like Walmart. This matches what Consumer Reports’ shopping mag, ShopSmart, discovered in their recent “Dollar Mania” report (free PDF download).