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Saving: Not Always About Unit Price

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Whenever we go grocery shopping, we’re always sure to take a look at the unit price of a particular item to make sure we’re getting the most for our money. What this usually, but not always, results in is that we buy more of a product in order to secure the lower price and usually, but not always, this is no big deal. The only time that the unit price concept fails is when you start talking about quickly perishable goods. See, when you buy a 2 lb. bag of sugar (or whatever size that largest bag is), it doesn’t matter how long you keep it because sugar won’t go bad. If you were to instead buy the large container of cottage cheese or yogurt, then you start inching into the territory of wondering how quickly are going to use it because it will go bad.

So, the frugal thought of the day, which occurred to me (at least to write about it) when I was walking around, of all places, Costco, was that in addition to unit price, you should consider how much of it goes to waste if you don’t use it in time. By that token, we buy a lot of things at a higher unit price but lower amount simply because waste is waste, regardless of its financial impact, and we should try to keep that at a minimum always anyway.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about frugality, maybe hosting the Festival of Frugality put it on the brain or something.

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7 Responses to “Saving: Not Always About Unit Price”

  1. Tinyhands says:

    Also consider the psychological impact of having a lot of something around.
    It’s easier to waste if it doesn’t seem scarce.

  2. Isaac says:

    My wife and I have this debate all the time when we buy certain items like tortillas. Yes 3 dozen is often cheaper than 1 dozen, however most of the three dozen get wasted. I would rather pay more and not waste food than save a few cents and throw most of it away.

  3. This is why I only buy products like light bulbs at the cost clubs.

  4. I guess some people only catch on with the savings and not the bigger picture. You have to learn to save food as well as save costs.

  5. Tim says:

    this is why we split membership at costco and split perishables with our friends.

  6. You really do have to think how fast you will use something up, but don’t forget that there is a lot of stuff that can be frozen. Tortillas can be frozen, so can yogurt or cottage cheese (if it is going to be used in cooking rather than fresh. Fresh, not so good) Shredded cheese, luncheon meat etc too. Now if you buy 4 heads of lettuce, well you are on your own.

  7. Matt says:

    I seldom buy perishables at Costco, unless it’s stuff I can split and freeze.


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