Supermarket Savings: Comparing “Real” Prices

Unit prices
Check the price per weight for easy comparisons

To compare supermarket prices, it’s important to look at the “per unit pricing” on every item you are buying. By law, every supermarket must have a comparable price on its shelf so that you can literally compare the “apples to apples” price. For example, let’s say you are comparing two brands of granola bars and one box has 8 bars and the other has 10. By comparing the “per ounce” prices on the shelf tag, you can easily see which one is the better value.

You probably know that in general, larger packages are sold at lower per unit prices, but it isn’t always true! The most obvious exceptions are items that are “on sale”, where literally a smaller package can be 10-80% less than the larger package of that product on a per ounce or per pound basis. When you stop and look at items, some may have 4, 5 or even 6 different sizes available! When you add coupon or discount savings to the offered price it can increase savings dramatically.

Look at this example: let’s say a famous brand of ketchup is sold in 4 different sizes at your supermarket:

Size Price Price per oz.
14 oz. $1.29 $0.0921 per oz.
22 oz. $1.99 $0.0904 per oz.
32 oz. $2.79 $0.0872 per oz.
44 oz. $3.49 $0.0793 per oz.

It appears that the largest bottle is the best per ounce price. However, you have a manufacturer’s coupon to use with a face value of $0.50 off any size of this brand’s ketchup (which will be doubled at the register by your supermarket, making it worth $1.00). This brings the smallest bottle’s unit price down to $0.0207 per ounce, a whopping 74% less than even the largest size’s regular price, and lower than every available size as well. Checking for coupon and discount card advantages are well worth the time and effort. Check my tips on the best places to find coupons.

Image courtesy of Hioe Sandy at

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