Saving money for groceries with unit pricing

With finances tightening these days for most of the middle class due to gas prices soaring, any little bit of savings can help relieve some of the financial pressure.
If you’ve never actually looked at this or thought about it, it’s time that we did a little bit of education in how to buy groceries (and really anything else you can pick up at a retail superstore).
On the tags themselves, most people usually pay attention to the price itself. But there’s another smaller number there. A unit price. This means that if broken down by unit, this item would cost X amount per unit. Sometimes, the “sales” or even larger item doesn’t save you any money than buying the smaller amounts of the same item. In fact, just recently, I found regularly priced toothpaste in a larger tube costing less than the “sale” double-pack of the same large tube of toothpaste. Meaning, if I bought two of the regular price toothpaste, it would be less than the double-pack.
That’s the trick to unit pricing. Not really so much of a trick, than observation. With a little bit of forethought, you can save yourself some of those pennies. And a penny saved is a penny earned, as they used to say.
Photo Credit: (ninjapoodles)

  • I almost always shop at Harris Teeter and I really appreciate the unit pricing their price labels offer. However, they are not always accurate. I guess I’m a real nerd for standing in the isles double-checking the math, but it has lead me to notice that unit prices are not uncommonly wrong — usually displaying less than the actual unit price.
    I too have noticed that “sales” on a larger package of some item still offer a unit price greater than the smaller not-on-sale package of the same product.
    Another way I find these unit prices helpful in discerning the real value of a sale is when the sale price is something complicated like 5 for $3.79. Sometimes the actual “savings” is quite minuscule, like a penny or two per package. For some reason this tactic seems to be quite common on “sales” of Green Giant frozen vegetables, which I then don’t buy just because I feel insulted that they think I can be duped.

  • I almost always shop at Harris Teeter and I really appreciate the unit pricing their price labels offer. However, they are not always accurate. I guess I’m a real nerd for standing in the isles double-checking the math, but it has lead me to notice that unit prices are not uncommonly wrong — usually displaying less than the actual unit price.
    I too have noticed that “sales” on a larger package of some item still offer a unit price greater than the smaller not-on-sale package of the same product.
    Another way I find these unit prices helpful in discerning the real value of a sale is when the sale price is something complicated like 5 for $3.79. Sometimes the actual “savings” is quite minuscule, like a penny or two per package. For some reason this tactic seems to be quite common on “sales” of Green Giant frozen vegetables, which I then don’t buy just because I feel insulted that they think I can be duped.