Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Size To Buy: Price Per Unit

Most people think that buying food in bulk will save them money. When I talk with friends and store associates about finding the lowest cost items, they are often surprised to hear that sometimes the bulk buys are actually not the best deal.So here’s a quick run down of how I calculate which size to buy so I can get the biggest bang for my buck.

Warning: This will involve using your brain and flexing your math muscles. Come on! You can do it!

Tip of the day: Compare prices per unit.

Don’t compare price per item because some packaging makes it difficult to tell how much product you are getting. If you factor in the size of the product, the material it is made from (glass, plastic, paper, etc), you’ll start to realize that some items take up the same shelf space but they don’t have the same amount of product.
So when you go to the store, pull out your calculator and do a little math.

Price / # of units = price per unit

If you have a coupon for a specific item, you will want to factor that into the equation:

(Price – coupon value) / # of units = price per unit if you have a coupon.

Sometimes items without coupons are cheaper and the coupons might not actually save you money. Keep this in mind!

Real life application:

Say for instance,  you have a coupon for $1 off of any Dr. Pepper 12 pack and the sale price at the store is 3 packs of any soda for $10.  This is the equation you will do:
$10/ 3 packs = $3.33 per 12 pack
$10/ 3 packs/ 12 cans = about 28 cents a can!

With a coupon your equation will look like this:

($10- $1 coupon) / 3 packs/12 cans =
$9 /3 packs = $3 per 12 pack
$9/ 3 packs/12 cans = exactly 25 cents a can!

Some of you might say, well 3 cents a can is not really that great of savings. However if you have one can of soda every day for a year and can save 3 cents per can, you’ve saved about $11 on soda alone. Now imagine you follow this same tip for all groceries and personal care products that you buy. Every penny adds up! Once you get this process down, it will come naturally.

No Calculator? Look at shelf tags:

If you forget your calculator or you are in a hurry, or have no coupons, look at the price tag on the shelf. Usually it will be listed as a price per unit. Watch out for similar products that are measured by different units. This can make one product appear to be cheaper than the other one.

This is a great tip, even for those of you who don’t clip coupons. If you follow this tip alone, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars per year.

I hope this helps break down one of my basics for how to find a great deal at the grocery store! This time, I hope you’ll grab whichever one is truly the best deal!

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