As the recession stretches on and we all get used to shopping around to push our pounds to the limit, the value of good supermarket offers can never be overestimated. Or can it?
While supermarkets have always put themselves forward as our budget buddies, a new investigation has made some people think twice about how their favourite shops can behave - and just how much money they are actually helping us to save.
After looking into nearly three quarters of a million supermarket discounts, consumer watchdog Which? has released a new set of figures. Amongst other things, they bring to our attention multi-buy deals which actually increase the price of the product, rather than see it knocked down, as the supermarket bosses would have you believe.
We all have eyes for the odd BOGOF, but if the deal actually doubles the price of an individual product then we would actually be losing money off the back of something that is making us think we are saving.
Take Asda's multipack offer on Müller yoghurt for example, which saw the price of a single pot jump from 30p to 61p when the supermarket offered 10 units for £4.
Another 'tactic' it would appear, is to sell something at an unusually high 'full' price for a very short time, then slash the cost and brand the reduction a 'special offer'.
Online grocer Ocado was a particular culprit on this count, after putting up the price of strawberries to £4.38 for just 13 days,and then cutting the price to £2.19 for 112 days, claiming this to be a significant reduction.
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Be sure to check the fine print on deals, do not be afraid to travel a little further for the best offers and do not be tricked into buying something more expensive than you had planned.
The likelihood is that Which?'s findings should lead to a clamp down on tricky tactics at supermarkets, and bosses at the watchdog have condemned shops for failing to "play fair", but be sure to watch out for dodgy deals all the same.
In their defence Tesco, Asda and Ocado were all quick to respond in apology to the Which study, with Asda claiming: "We are only human and occasionally we make mistakes."