How Unit Price vs Shelf Price Can Save Money

Unite Price vs Shelf Price Woman Grocery Shopping
Photo Courtesy of Pexels – Jace Oner

Everyone is trying to save money now that the costs of things have been going up and you may think that buying something in larger size packages will help you save. In many cases, this can be the case. But be careful, since going with a larger size may not always be a good idea compared to calculating the unit price.

I remember years ago in my area grocery chains would put on the shelves right next to the price of the product the “unit price,” usually the cost per ounce. This was where you could see which is cheaper. Sometimes the bigger size didn’t save you money. And if it did, it often wasn’t much. But every bit helps. Of course, if you have a coupon that can alter the equation. So please pay attention to that.

Sure going with a generic or store brand can save you money too, especially if you don’t have a coupon or the item lacks a sale on the product you want. They usually have larger sizes too. I walked by the cereal isle and the national brands are tiny now and keep shrinking. I have seen bags of the generic cereal which taste the same to me for a fraction of the cost, but you may feel differently. As long as your family will eat it then go for it.

Sometimes though you have a picky person that refuses to switch brands and try something new. Therefore, you might try being a bit devious to make the switch and see if that finicky eater will even notice. Fibbing occasionally to get them started on the generic never hurt anyone. Just from my family’s experience, the Captain Crunch as sold as generic at Giant Eagle in a big bag tastes about the same as the real deal. I kept the old box and bag and put it in there and no one noticed. Then I started using those plastic cereal containers to store them. To keep it fresher longer, which was true too, and all was good. But the unit price of the Captain Crunch was killing the budget!

Now sometimes going with larger sizes isn’t a good idea at all. For example, your trips to the warehouse store could end up costing you more. I was in one recently and they had huge packages of products all over the store. Just by the pharmacy they had shavers in big packages. I swear you could buy what seemed like a year supply in one package. Buying this way may seem like a great deal if the product you or another family member uses. But something that’s perishable can be more expensive for you even if the unit price is far lower than the smaller everyday item if you don’t get to use the product in time and it spoils.

If you aren’t going to use it, then you are throwing your money away if it’s going to go bad before you can. Buying a massive load of bacon for example even if it’s cheaper gives you a reason to eat something that you shouldn’t just because you got a deal on bacon. Yet, it could be chips, candy, a sugary snack, and so on. Saving money in this way could lead to packing on pounds, higher cholesterol levels and risking type 2 diabetes because your product use by date is approaching.

Being mindful of the unit price is definitely something we all should watch. What is more important, we should temper the urge to save by being careful of getting a bargain that could do us harm by eating more of an unhealthy item.


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