Saving Money, Pennies at a Time: Calculating Price per Ounce

by Guest Post

in Change Your Financial Life

As the price of your grocery bill goes up and your budget is most likely decreasing, it is important to trim down costs on your weekly shopping trip anyway you can. Calculating the price per ounce or price per diaper in the end can save you a lot of money.

It seems daunting when you are in the store to be doing calculations to save a few cents, and most people do not take the time to do so, but those few cents over the thousands of items you buy a year can add up to real dollars.

How to Calculate

If you wish to find out the price per ounce you simply take the total dollar amount of the product and divide it by the number of ounces listed on the package.

For example:
32 ounce bottle of BBQ sauce is $3.00
$3.00 divided by 32 = 0.094 or 9.4 cents an ounce

This same idea can be used when buying diapers, toilet paper or even razors. Just take the total amount of the box of diapers, for example, and divide it by the amount of diapers in the box.

Assumptions of Price per…

The first way to save money using price per ounce is to throw out many assumptions you may have about what is the better deal and always calculate the price per ounce.

Assumption #1:  Warehouse prices (buying in bulk) are better than buying at the grocery store.

False – This is not always true. Make sure to check the price per quantity! For example, my local warehouse chain store had a bulk pack of Cream of Mushroom soup, when you calculate it out each can was $1.20 cents. However, at my local grocery I know that most of the time they have the same item on sale for 99 cents a can PLUS I can use coupons.

Assumption #2:  Larger items are usually cheaper per ounce.

False – A great example of this is ketchup. Many times when you go the store it seems that it would make sense that the larger ounce ketchup should be cheaper per ounce. However, I find that many times the small ounce ketchup is cheaper (per ounce) than the large ounce ketchup. Plus, if you have a coupon for the item, you can buy multiple smaller items, and use multiple coupons saving even more.

Assumption #3:  Store brand is cheaper than Name Brand.

Generally True – It is true that most store brands try to keep their prices lower than name brands. However, most store brands do not offer any coupons. So, if you use coupons or shop certain sales, the name brand actually comes out to be cheaper on many occasions.

Be prepared

So now that you will not be misled by any assumptions, make sure you are always prepared to calculate the price per ounce of any item.

You may want to bring a calculator to the store with you or use the calculator function on your cell phone. In addition, for commonly bought items, it is always a good idea to keep a little log of the price per ounce of the items at different stores. That way you know if you are getting the best deal.

After awhile, looking for the price per ounce will become second nature making you a more cost conscious shopper and saving you a lot of money.

Amanda Ellerbe writes and teaches about family finances, frugal living and nurturing children. She is also a military wife, and stay at home Mom, of a 2 year old with baby #2 due in March. If you ever have any questions or comments please feel free to reach her at: [email protected].


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