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Supermarket savings

Details make all the difference when saving money. Minor changes in the the way you shop the supermarket, such as picking the store brands over designer labels, cutting coupons and watching in-store promotions, help to keep money in your pocket. On the other hand, all the discounts in the world won't save you a dime if the cash register rings up the wrong price at the checkout.

A star money-saver knows that the job isn't done once the goods are loaded in the cart. Close attention to your receipt can net even more savings, says the Frugal $ense winner for the month of December, Hon Chu, of Oviedo, Fla. Congratulations, Hon!

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Bankrate: How did you come up with your winning tip?

Hon: Well, a lot of times you see ads in fliers or specials that the store has, and then after you check out you find that you didn't get the discount. It's frustrating. Sometimes you don't even find out until you get home and look at the price on the receipt. By then it is probably too late because you don't want to make that trip back to the store just to get $3 or $5 back. So, I began to check the prices to make sure they were correct every time I checked out of a discount store or grocery store -- especially on the promotional items where it's $5 or $10 off -- making sure it is really that price. If not, then I can go back in the store right away and talk to the customer service representative and get the price adjustment. In some of the supermarkets, they are really good about this because I think they are afraid of being seen as deceiving customers with the wrong prices on specials or ads. That's why they are giving the first item for free and then price-adjusting subsequent items. In Florida, Albertson's and Publix both do it.

December's Frugal $ense winner: Hon Chu

Hon Chu, of Oviedo, Fla., won $100 for submitting the following tip:

Check your receipt after you have checked out
It is a good practice to check the price of the items on a receipt after you have checked out. A lot of times, the price scanned on the register does not match what is advertised or posted in the store. You could save a lot if you can catch all these errors. There is also a growing trend -- especially in supermarkets -- that if you catch the price discrepancy, the first item is free and subsequent items will be price-adjusted.
Read more tips  
Submit your tip

Hon Chu

Bankrate: Does this pay off for you a lot?

Hon: Definitely, definitely -- a lot of times. Just maybe two or three weeks ago my wife went to the supermarket and bought two pounds of extra-large shrimp and then was charged more than was advertised and we got about $10 back. And my colleague, when I told him that I entered the contest and shared my tip with him, he went to the store to get some baby formula, which is very expensive. It was the wrong price, and he bought two of those items, so he ended up getting the first item free and then the price was adjusted, so he ended up saving $27.

Bankrate: Do you do other things to save money?

Hon: Yes, I think frugal is a way of life, but I didn't used to be that way when I was a teenager or in my early 20's. I would just go for brand names, and when I had money I would just go and buy something when I found it. I think living frugally is possibly part of the aging process. But now my wife and I are always looking for good deals, coupons and specials to save as much as we can.

Bankrate: Why did you enter the Frugal $ense contest?

Hon: I came to know about the Frugal contest about two or three months ago, and I thought it was really interesting because the ideas are coming from real people who used the tips and tested them before. I used a couple of them and found them very helpful in saving money and thought I had a good tip as well, so wanted to share with the rest of the people.

Bankrate: What is your biggest money-saving tip of all time?

Hon: That will be my next entry on Bankrate.com -- just kidding. Actually I do have some ideas, but I'm not allowed to win for another 12-month period, is that right? But my wife will be able to, so watch out for my wife's entry.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: Jan. 12, 2007
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