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Budgeted Eats Tips: Understanding Unit Pricing

Shopping the sales and eating to the season can help you save money. That’s a trick or tip you can use regardless of the kind of journey you’re on. Who doesn’t like to save a little bit of money? Aside from looking at the circular and making a list, have you thought about what other tool could be helpful for budgeting?

Unit prices are where it’s at. Yeah, I just said that and tried to make it cool.

Have you ever actually read the tag at the grocery store? Be honest. There’s a lot of information – the name of the product, UPC code, price of the product, price per unit (pound, ounces, etc.), sale price, sale date. It’s just a lot of numbers in tiny font and that can be overwhelming…if you even notice it.

But let’s consider that information.

Just like looking at nutrition labels – you can’t compare brands easily unless you understand the serving size (using bread as an example, all breads weigh different amounts and their ingredients are different) – you can’t compare prices accurately unless you get down to the nitty gritty.

Below are photos of Chobani yogurt and Fage yogurt. Both are the large 32 ounce containers. I often buy the small single serving cups from BJ’s because they’re reasonably priced for what they are, but for smoothies or protein yogurt/pudding I generally like to buy these containers.

Some things I want you pay attention to: before we look at the sale price, Chobani was already cheaper. It’s easy to look at the unit price in orange and see that Chobani is $3.00 per pound. Below you’ll see that Fage was $3.17 per pound. However, something to notice is that Chobani is 32 ounces and Fage is actually just over 35 ounces.

Mind blowing right, because they look exactly the same, but they’re not. So the $1.00 total difference actually isn’t $1.00. You’re getting 3.3 more ounces – there are 16 ounces in a pound – with the Fage brand so you’re actually only spending about $0.33 more for what you’re getting.

I know you’re thinking, this is a lot of math – and I get it – it is. So for ease, that’s why the unit price is important, but it’s also important to think about what you actually need.

I do believe that it can be worth spending a little extra to get what you will actually use and not waste anything because you are saving in the long run. I also am very pro-freeze what you can. This may not work for yogurt, but this could work for meat and produce.

Regardless of how you shop, I hope this helps breakdown all those numbers you see on the labels around your grocery store.

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