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Money Saving Tip #3: Compare the per ounce cost of what you are buying. Bigger is not always better!

March 22, 2010 · 46 comments

in Money Saving Tips, Personal Finance

For years when I was grocery shopping, I assumed that the bigger the box, the better the deal.

However, I was wrong, at least in some cases.

One of the great pieces of information provided at the grocery store is the ‘per ounce’ cost that is printed on the product tags attached to the shelves by each item.  I love it when they calculate and display it for sale items too.  The grocers must think we never look at these tags based on the pricing schemes I see at the store sometimes.

Just this past week I was at my local grocery store and I compared the per ounce price of the 64 and 96 ounce cartons of  Tropicana orange juice (neither size was on sale).  Surprisingly, the per ounce price was MORE on the 96 ounce orange juice, which is the opposite of what we have come to expect.  The same was also true on 2 types of cereals I looked at.  In the next aisle, I stopped to look at the giant box of Bisquick, which you would think would be a good deal compared to the smaller sizes.  I was shocked at how much more expensive the big box was on an ounce-for-ounce basis compared to the smaller box.  To take advantage of this, purchase that smaller item when it goes on sale and combine it with any coupons you have.   In that situation, you can buy that item for practically nothing.  If you have multiple coupons or it is a really good deal, buy several and stock up!

I do still think that in many cases, the larger version of the product is still the better deal.  However, take a look before you put that giant jar of spaghetti sauce or whatever in your cart.  Maybe that smaller version is actually cheaper, and it also takes up less space in your cabinet.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike - Saving Money Today May 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

Great advice…you should always compare the per unit price to determine which product is really the best value. It’s amazing how few people actually look at it!


Kris May 12, 2010 at 10:51 am

Mike, I saw this just yesterday when I was buying mustard. That darn per ounce price was more expensive on the bigger bottle. But, I didn’t fall for it. I whipped out my coupon, grabbed the small one and walked out of there with almost-free mustard.


Nicky@PaydayDesk November 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

Very helpful post, thanks. There are lots of hidden things in a grocery shopping, that’s why if you have a limited budget it’s worth to get to know what tricks you should avoid. Some items are really worthy and can help to save some cash, while some only may seems savvy, but indeed will take out more money of your wallet. It’s not worth to trust all the ads and special affords which say that you will win with purchasing one or another item, just because the price is lower than usually.


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