Monday, September 14, 2015

U.F.N.


Do you know what this means on a grocery store shelf's price tag? I've only seen this a couple of times, with a reduced price for that item. I've found these letters in the spot on the sale tag that usually displays the date when a sale price expires.

It means, Until Further Notice.

This was on the unit pricing tag on the shelf for Adam's Natural Peanut Butter, 16 oz jars (and yes, they're glass jars). The price was reduced from $2.89/16 oz jar, to $1.50. I bought 16 jars. This was an unadvertised price reduction.

When I have seen the U.F.N. price reduction before, that item has been discontinued by the store and/or manufacturer, and the reduced price is kept until inventory is sold out (usually within a week or two).

Anyway, I bought all of the chunky-style that they had on the shelf and a couple of the creamy-style (we prefer the chunky), for a total of 16 jars. That's about a 5 month supply for us.

Just a heads-up on the U.F.N.

I have also seen items with unadvertised reduced prices with expiration dates on the price reduction set about 2 months into the future, in contrast to most advertised price reductions lasting just about 1 or 2 weeks. In some of these cases, the item has been discontinued entirely.

Stores take some less-popular items out of their inventory all of the time. When there's just a few of the item, I typically see them on the clearance shelves. But when there are many of the specified item, stores will often leave them on the "regular" shelf, with the reduced or "clearance" price.

The house-brand butterscotch chips that I bought last month remained on the shelf with a reduced price until they sold out (about a week), and that spot has now been filled with another product.

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I am mentioning this because when in the store this past week, my first reaction was, "oh, so the price has been reduced indefinitely, so I can always pick up more at this price later". Then I remembered when I've waited before, the product had been completely sold out, and I missed my opportunity to stock up at a great price. And I want you to be able to snag a good deal when something like this comes up, too.

Share your savvy shopping tips, please!!

35 comments:

  1. Interesting! I don't believe I have ever seen that code before, but will keep an eye out from now on. However, I have learned in shopping at Aldi that clearanced items go fast and to buy what I need as soon as I spot the markdown. They don't keep things around long there due to the lack of space.

    I did find a deal such as you are talking about a couple months back. We were bottle feeding four foster kittens who were not thriving (we got them when they were 5-7 days old). I decided to switch them to a homemade goat's milk formula. When I went to Target to look for the canned goat's milk, it was marked down to half off, so I bought all they had, which got them to the point where they were eating food reliably. They did thrive on the homemade formula (goat's milk, whole milk yogurt, egg yolk, and a tiny bit of corn syrup, along with a bit of multi-vitamin and taurine added). Win-win!

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    1. Hi Cat,
      I'm glad that the change to a goat's milk formula helped those kitties. And also happy that you could put together a formula, inexpensively.

      When I'm at Target, I always check their end caps for clearance items. Sometimes they have great deals, there. Also our Cost Plus market (an import store that has a food section), has a really great clearance on the end cap, sometimes up 70% off. I've found those Lindt chocolate bars for 55% off -- a very nice treat. And our Cost Plus is right next to Target, so I often peek in to browse for a minute.

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  2. I have never noticed that code either. I do see a lot of discontinued tags and always stock up when I see those. Generally, they have very good prices.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      I love checking the clearance section in grocery stores. I often find products that I would never normally buy, but once the price is reduced to clear, it's much more affordable. I bought a jar of pickled peppers and a jar of roasted red peppers on clearance a couple of weeks ago. Those 2 will be nice in fall or winter, I think.

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  3. Good to know, Lili. And what a great for the peanut butter. I would have stocked up too. :)

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    1. I was quite happy to find the Adam's for such a great price, Belinda. It's long been a favorite for us. One of my daughter's first questions was if she could have a "jar". I thought she meant a jar full of pb, but she meant the jar, as they're glass, not plastic!

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  4. I don't know if I've ever seen that particular code on a sale tag, but I have become very diligent about checking the tag for the sale end date. I've found that often one of my grocery stores will run a "long-term" sale on a number of items that aren't featured in the grocery flyer -- possibly because they aren't major loss leaders or maybe because of rules set by the product distributor or for whatever other reason. At any rate, those dates have been very helpful to me because sometimes I don't have the space right then OR, if it is produce (usually potatoes), I can only buy a certain amount and know that they won't spoil. If the sale price is running for a longer period of time, I don't feel as much pressure to buy ALL the potatoes (or whatever) right then and can take a little time to determine what will work best for us.

    Great deal on the peanut butter -- we are a divided household; I prefer creamy and my husband prefers crunchy. :)

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    1. Hi Laura,
      In fall, I do find a couple of our stores have "holiday" baking items on sale for an extended time frame. And this is nice, as sometimes there's not enough $ in the budget that month to really stock-up, or I simply don't have room to store it all, and I can take my time with making purchases. I do read those tags closely!

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  5. Wow, great price on good peanut butter!!! I wonder if this means you're not going to be able to get it there anymore?? That would be a bummer, but at least you won't need any for a while. :)

    I'll definitely keep my eye out for the UFN notations. I've never noticed them before. Thanks for another great tip! Sara

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    1. Hi Sara,
      I was happy to buy as much as I did, but am sorry that it will likely all be gone next time I'm at that store. Maybe peanut butter prices will return to a normal level again, soon. Trader Joe's natural peanut butter was $1.59 for years, up until 2012, I believe.

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  6. I've never heard of that term before either. But I have learned to buy something immediately when there is a price reduction because when I change my mind at a later date, it is all gone!

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      that's what I've learned, too. And sometimes I have to force myself to buy more than I feel comfortable with at the moment. But I know myself, I will regret not buying more, at a later date.

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  7. I'm back!! :) I'm making your whole wheat sandwich bread this morning (we really like it!) and decided to try the whole recipe as opposed to halving it as I usually do. I'm curious as to whether you are able to ever actually add the full 8 additional cups of flour? I'd say that I get about 4-5 cups in before turning it out to knead, although I do incorporate quite a bit more flour by hand as I find it easier than working in my bowl. Also, I know what texture I'm looking for when working it by hand so feel confident that the bread will meet my expectations (and it has, always!) -- it's harder for me to gauge that only by sight. Anyway, it just occurred to me as I was working with the dough and thought I'd ask. This has become our go-to sandwich bread -- I like that it's whole wheat, the texture is great and it freezes really well.

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    1. Hi Laura,
      It all depends on the flour I'm using. Sometimes the dough will take about 7 1/2 cups more flour total (including kneading the dough and forming into loaves), but sometimes not. I think it depends on the coarseness of the grind as well as moisture content of that flour. And the more whole wheat I use, the less flour I need in total, as the amount really should be determined by weight, and the whole wheat weighs more than the white.

      The original recipe came from my mom's cookbook c.1957, and I have often wondered how flours may have changed since then.

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  8. Since we're stocked fairly well, and because we're a two (3 actually) household family, I feel I have the luxury to hold out for stacked deals...which are coupon, sale, rebate, store reward point, even 5 percent grocery credit card deals and other credit card deals like the Amazon $15 Amex offer. Sometimes I tire of the tweaking involved, but when another stacked forerunner comes along, I can't help myself. Maybe I'm a deal addict since I like deals that come together like a puzzle. This is for Sara lol...we bought five 12 oz packages of lop cheong for free (sort of...I had to buy $100 gift card to get $20 of groceries free. The sausages were on sale at $3'99 each and can be kept for awhile frozen. I also earned another $5 from using a credit card that had a 5 percent grocery store category promotion. Also the gift card I bought was Sears which I used at Kmart with their surprise point, coupons and point rebate, which in the end netted a free Hoover carpet machine. Sometimes the point rebates are nearly 1:1. The point program is sometimes frustrating because of the short expiration dates but when the deals come together especially when it can be rinsed and repeated using the same dollars, what's not to like!

    YHF

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    1. Kindle fires have a mind of their own...not "forerunner" I thought I typed "winner" lol

      YHF

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    2. Hi YHF,
      I wish I had more success with coupons. I know in some areas there are double or triple coupon stores or days. When we lived in Utah I had 1 store that doubled coupons every Wednesday. My other problem with coupons is finding them for basic items like flour or produce. But in fall, I do find C & H sugar coupons, at a time when many stores have baking items on sale, so I can put a coupon together with a sale on sugar at least.

      Good for you, though, on doing so well with the deals!

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    3. Hi, YHF--

      "Free" lop cheong, now THAT's a deal I definitely could appreciate... if only I was coordinated(?)/devious(?) enough to figure out that whole process you went through! LOL

      My MIL gave me all her coupons and store circulars from the paper when we were young; and I did shop sales and some coupons.

      But related to what Lili said, I find that I want sales/coupons on basic ingredients. I don't buy an awful lot of name-brand and/or packaged things; so a lot of coupons I realized were for stuff I wouldn't have bought at all if they weren't "cheap". And even "cheap" I finally realized, some of them weren't cheap enough to be worth my buying over my more-thrifty usual stuff.

      Of course, that was before "points" and gift cards and on-line coupons and a lot of things they have now, which you seem to be using well! :)

      Sara

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    4. Actually I didn't plan any of that, I'm not that devious, but maybe i am? I'm always looking for alternatives or solutions, hopefully in a good way. The first deal was the gift card at a local supermarket which I hardly shop since the nearest store is 20 miles away. I happened to look at the weekly ad, along with several other store inserts and saw the "buy $100 gift card, and get a $20 store gift card fee". That already was a deal to me, and in the same ad was the lop cheong on sale. Did the math, and wow, I get 5 packages free if I buy a Sears gift card? The store cashier didn't know about the promotion, had to call over the supervisor and they had to read their instructions to ring up the transaction. I was surprised no one else thought it was a good deal. I already knew I needed a carpet cleaning machine, so I didn't mind stocking up on Sears gift cards, plus I can use it at Kmart where there is always a good points coupon, points rebate or surprise points awarded if I buy such and such. So I went back to another store and bought two more gift cards, and again the cashier didn't know how to do the transaction. Seems no one else on our side of the island was interested in this gift card promotion. The store sells the best meat and produce on our island IMHO, yet no one is interested in free food? Then shortly after buying the gift cards, I ran into a bunch of 1:1 points rebate if I bought blutooth earbuds and accessories. I have some grandkids who would like these so I picked up a bunch with my gift cards and got all the money back in points. The hardest part was coordinating the award dates and expiration dates of the points. I seriously think Kmart designs their ShopYourWay point program to confound the customer into forgetting to use their points. Then with the points I got back from the purchases, I bought the Hoover carpet machine. But along the way, I got some coupons sent to my email, "spend $30 get $20 back in points", plus the site has coupons that download into your card like "$10 off $50", so I managed to use those too.

      YHF

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    5. That's interesting, YHF. You WOULD think that, in this economy, and with food prices what they are, more folks would have wanted free food! Maybe you were just more observant/persistent? It's quite frustrating when the folks at a store don't know about/how to implement a sale/coupon.

      I think my other issue is that it's a long way to the nearest chain stores, so we're just not big (or maybe even normal?) consumers. I do get good coupons from mail order folks I do business with; and I'm learning their patterns, so I don't buy right before it's time for a good coupon to roll in. I'm running out of an expensive stock-up item, and hoping that I remember right, and the once-a-year 15% discount is coming soon! :) Sara

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    6. My issue with this is when you are on a limited budget you don't have $100 for a gift card to get $20 back much less several gift cards using the same deal. Also I live in a small town in a rural state with no major store chains. That is a big problem when you have to travel over 50 miles ONE way to even get to a Wal-Mart or K Mart or any of those other chains. But I am glad you were able to do the coupons and get your carpet cleaning machine. Susan

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    7. Yes, Susan--

      Lili and I have discussed this in the pat in private, about how comparison shopping and some other strategies really don't work as well for folks like you and me who are a long way from real "town".

      I find that what works for us is well-organized bulk shopping at the places that are generally the most-economical when we're going to the city anyway, and strategic free/low-fee shipping mail order purchases to fill in specialty things.

      I also think I can relate to your original comment, though maybe for a slightly different reason. I figure I'll end up buying something I wouldn't otherwise, if I do one of the buy "x" to get "y" things; so although I might have the $100, I might not want to spend it.

      I think I'd be much better able to take advantage of great deals like YHF's if I was more of a consumer in general. We just don't buy much besides food. Not a big gift-giving family, don't buy much clothing, etc. I had to buy a few things at Kohl's department store the past two years, and everytime they try to get me to sign up for their (good) discounts. They look at me funny when I tell them, this is probably the only day I'll be in a store like this for the rest of the year! :)

      Best-- Sara

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    8. Susan and Sara,
      I totally get the not wanting or being able to do the buy one gift card or item, in order to get the other one discounted. I don't do very much of that, except when it's something I've already had in my mind that I wanted.

      And for you, Susan, you have to figure in your time and gas, if you traveled a distance to make a deal. I think it's wise to just find what works for you, and focus on that.

      I've made the same choice with regards to grocery coupons. Our area doesn't have double or triple coupon stores. For me, shopping at wholesalers combined with cooking from scratch has been my way to get the great deals, rather than clipping coupons. But for others, clipping coupons nets them so many free items.

      I could waste my energy being envious of their deals, or, I can simply get on with my own way of saving. And it sounds like you've done a fab job with that!

      And Sara, "yes" to the notion that I could wind up buying something I didn't need or even had enough desire to own. I know this is an issue with me, because I have done it in the past! But, I do keep this strategy in the back of my mind, as a possibility for the future. I try not to rule anything out, as it could prove fruitful at some point.

      One thing that does yield freebies for us is a rewards credit card. We do pay it off every single month. I have it on my calendar to make the bank transfer over the phone, on a specific day of the month, each month. And it's a no fee card. I read all of the fine print, when they send out disclosure updates, so as not to be caught out by a rule change. But otherwise, no extra work, to obtain those rewards points and redeem. (Ours is a travel one, which winds up paying for a fair bit of our vacations.)

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    9. I don't think it is either/or, I try to save where ever I see an opportunity to save...even 10 cents (one bean party). I shop thrift stores for certain household goods, clearance clothing for certain fashion items, and as though that is not bottom fishing enough I try to top that with an extra discount like senior day, or make a donation at Savers with our unwanted items for up to 30 percent off. I also tried Goodwill online auctions and outlet store, and found some great buys. Our favorite rice storage dispenser (fits a 25 lb bag rice) that sells for about $40 at Sam's was $1.99 at the Goodwill outlet store, simply because it was a container no matter the size (that is their price guideline, not based on the retail value). There are all sorts of savings opportunity if you don't think....I only do this not that. However, I may pick up cans for exercise but "no" to dumpster diving given my age and agility.

      YHF

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    10. You're right on that, YHF, not an either/or thing at all.

      I love Goodwill's pricing on some items. Here, all canning jars are 20 cents. I find my "nice" canning jars there, the ones that I put thins like preserves or homemade bath products into for gifting.

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    11. About five years ago, before silver/gold prices shot up in 2010-2011, I was able to buy sterling silver jewelry at Goodwill for the same price as costume jewelry. They simply priced all their rings $1.99 and necklaces $2.99. I think they withheld any gold jewelry donations.and sold these at auction. For the past couple years, Goodwill has been pricing sterling silver higher than costume, despite silver prices dropping off a cliff. (That's another story why physical silver prices keep climbing yet paper silver is in the crapper.)

      I know this is getting far off topic, but I'm sure there are many other price opportunities that are below "market" as much as there are ripoffs. If a seller is not pricing their merchandise correctly, should I feel bad and offer to pay more? I like keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities where I can purchase below market, that's all. The same can be said for stock picking or rental property purchases, buy low sell high.

      When doing taxes, I spend hours trying to figure out the least amount of taxes we must pay, so why not employ that same shrewdness to finding store deals where i can string several offers and get a significant discount. Plus I enjoy the serendipity of the sport.

      OK...I've probably said too much.

      YHF

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  9. Thanks for the heads up! I have seen that before and had no idea what it meant.

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    1. Hi Anne,
      Just one of those funny little things that isn't always self-explanatory at the store.

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  10. what store has Adams for $1.50?
    I want to stock up too

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    1. Fred Meyer. I went to the one on 164th in Lynnwood. Hope there's still some for you, frugalspinster!

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    2. While, you're there -- also at Fred Meyer this week -- Challenge butter, $1.69/lb limit 2 with in-ad coupon, and Colgate toothpaste 89 cents 8.2 oz tubes w/ in-store coupon (hung on shelf) -- better price on toothpaste than Dollar Tree.

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    3. Frugal spinster -- I was back at Fred Meyer this morning, and they had marked the Adam's back up, even higher than I thought the original price was last week (it was $3.39 today). They might have been clearing out "old stock", otherwise I can't see why they'd mark it down so significantly.

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    4. How weird! Sara

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  11. I never noticed the U.F.N. on tags before but you can be sure I will be on the look out for it. Thanks for the tip.
    Rhonda

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    1. Hi Rhonda,
      It's just one of those odd notations on the price tag. I wish they'd spell it out, though. So everyone could know what they mean.

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.