Frugal Living 

You Don’t Always Need The Best Deal, Just A Deal

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On relatively inexpensive things, it’s oftentimes good enough to get a decent deal rather than hold out for the absolute best deal ever.

Every once in a long while, usually around large sporting events or during the hot summer months, my local Giant Food has a great deal of five 12-packs of soda for ten dollars. At $2 a pack, this brings the price per can of soda down to less than 17 cents a piece. This is compared to a regular price of $3.99 a 12-pack (I think, but I can’t be certain because I’ve never purchased it at full price before) which turns that seventeen cent piece of caffeinated heaven into a nearly 34 cent David Bach-worthy indulgence (okay, there was a bit of hyperbole involved there but you catch my drift). Those five for $10 deals aren’t very frequent and oftentimes Giant Food throws its customers a bone and offers the 12-packs at three for $10 or sometimes four for $10. At those prices, the unit cost of a can is only slightly lower but don’t carry the stigma of full price.

My strategy for weathering the droughts between good soda deals was to not purchase soda at all. It’s arguably better health-wise to skip the soda (one of my friends doesn’t drink soda on the advice of his dentist because the acidity damages your enamel if you let it linger) so I often go for more coffee when it’s cooler or plain water when it’s hotter. However, every so often I’ll crave a soda and then drop $1.29 for one of the plastic 20 oz. bottles. The end result is that it’s either feast or famine… I either get the deal and buy cans at seventeen cents or a bottle at over seven times the price (ignore the fact that I get eight more ounces because it’s not really relevant for the purposes of this discussion).

So lately I’ve been following my own maxim of getting a decent deal in the absence of the best deal. The five for $10 isn’t always available, but the 3 for $10 and the 4 for $10 is usually available and I pick up one to hold me over. By spending a little more, I prevent myself from going all the way over to the other extreme and get more value for my dollar in the long run.

Or I could quit drinking soda and stick with tap water, which costs nearly nothing. 🙂

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “You Don’t Always Need The Best Deal, Just A Deal”

  1. Glenn Lasher says:

    I drink pretty much only iced tea and water. I figured out that iced tea costs me 0 for the water, 2 cents for the tea bag, maybe a cent or two for the sugar, about a penny for the electricity to heat the water (in the microwave) and not a whole lot for the ice cubes. We’re looking at a dime at most; probably closer to a nickel. Yes, it takes 7-8 minutes to assemble, but the ritual gives me a chance to pause my routine and give my brain a few minutes rest.

    Speaking of which, I’m going to go get myself some tea now. Back in ten.

  2. miller says:

    Let’s remember that your friend who doesn’t drink soda now drinks a lot more beer instead. And while his dentist maybe happy, he’s doctor probably isn’t! =)

  3. Dan says:

    My wife and I each drink a can a day with our packed lunches, so we stock up on soda deals. It also helps that we are happy with store-brand/generic. So we never pay more than 4 12-packs for $10, but normally will get the 5-for-$10. I couldn’t imagine paying anything more than $2.50 per 12-pack because those deals are common enough to be able to stock up.

  4. saladdin says:

    Try an ulcer. Soda makes me want to rip my guts out and use a fire extinguisher. 1 coke in the last 3 months. Now I use those single serving kool-aid cups and water.


  5. FYI, Coke is buy 4 12-packs for $11 and get 1 free at CVS this week (making them $2.20 per pack). Walgreens has the same deal on Pepsi but requires a coupon from the weekly ad (you should be able to print it out here).

  6. jim says:

    If you have a Giant Foods nearby, they have a 5 12-packs for $10 this week too… as if they read my post and set up the deal for me. 🙂

  7. Wow, that’s great. I don’t think I’ve ever seen $2 for a 12-pack around here!

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