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  • Writer's pictureZachP

#24. Adulting Is Hard: One Tip To Save Big At The Grocery Store

Think back to when you were at the grocery store recently. Picture yourself in the canned food aisle. You plan to stock up on some canned veggies. You see the following three options for green beans: one can for $.97, a four pack for $3.95, and an eight pack for $7.49. You instinctively grab the eight pack because it seems like the best deal.

Unit Price Shopping

This is just one example of unit pricing. Unit pricing is when you determine the best deals based on price per unit verses retail price. The above canned food example is an easy one for illustration purposes. However, what if you are comparing something less obvious?

The simple formula for unit price shopping is sales price divided by the number of units ([sales price] / [number of units] = [price per unit]).


With this formula in mind, let's jump to a less obvious example. Now, picture yourself back at the grocery store. You are now in an aisle looking at peanut butter. You find the brand you want, but it comes in three sizes. First size - 16 oz for $1.69. Second size - 28 oz for $2.79. Third size - 64 oz for $4.99. Let's use the formula to look at each item separately to determine what is the best deal.

16 oz option for $1.69 | 1.69 / 16 = $.105

28 oz option for $2.79 | 2.79 / 28 = $.099

64 oz option for $4.99 | 4.99 / 64 = $.077

After comparing the items, it is clear that you save almost three cents per ounce with the 64 oz option.

Let's look at one more example for you parents out there. You want to buy GoGos, and your child does not mind the name brand or the Kroger brand. Because of this, you just want the best deal.

GoGo brand - 12 pack of 3.2 oz containers for $8.99 | 8.99 / 12 = $.749

Kroger brand - 24 pack of 3.2 oz containers for $13.99 | 13.99 / 24 = $.582

So, the Kroger brand saves you about $.16 per unit!

Price per unit shopping can get more complicated, but it becomes easy over time. Here is a quick example of a more complicated situation. Looking at the same example above with GoGos, what if the size of containers were different? Therefore, the GoGo brand was a 12 pack of 3.2 oz containers, but the Kroger brand was a 24 pack of 2.75 oz containers.

All you would need to do is add one extra step to your formula. You would need to figure out how many ounces are in each pack.

GoGo brand - 38.4 oz (number of items (12) multiplied by oz per item (3.2)) for $8.99 | 8.99 / 38.4 = $.234 per oz

Kroger brand - 66 oz (number of items (24) multiplied by oz per item (2.75)) for $13.99 | 13.99 / 66 = $.211 per oz

So, even with the different sizes of containers, you are still able to determine that the Kroger brand is the better deal.


These savings may seem small, but they add up over months and years. Unit price shopping takes a little practice up front, but it becomes second nature after a little time. I have been doing it for years, and I hardly ever make purchases based solely on retail price. I now make my purchases based on price per unit.

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