Unit Pricing: The Cheaper Price Isn’t Always The Best Price

Unit Pricing: The Cheaper Price Isn't Always The Best Price

I’ve always been pretty dedicated to living frugally. As a matter of fact, I have a whole section on my blog committed to sharing frugal living tips I have learned over the years HEREAt the beginning of my frugal lifestyle journey years ago, I learned a very important lesson in why the cheaper price isn’t always the best price. A lesson, that is, in unit pricing.

Before I was introduced to unit pricing, I would always target the smallest price possible for products. Mostly just because it seemed like the most logical way to save the most money. If I had a choice between a bottle of Tide for $3.99 or $2.99, I’d automatically go for the $2.99 bottle – but that was only based solely on the total cost. Little did I know that I could have been saving a lot more money if I was basing my deals off of the unit price instead.

WHAT IS UNIT PRICING?

Unit pricing is simply the price per weight or volume of an item. Of course, this doesn’t speak to the quality of the item you are buying. But it’s a very helpful tool in making informed purchasing decisions.

HOW DO YOU FIGURE OUT THE UNIT PRICE?

In the U.S it’s law that the unit price for any given item is marked on a price ticket. In Canada, Quebec is the only province that holds similar laws. Every other province in Canada is just a voluntary practice. Here in Ontario I often see unit prices marked on price tickets in 90% of the stores I go to though. If you are looking for the unit price on the price ticket, it’s usually located in the bottom right corner.

But, it’s also really easy math to figure it out. And that is coming from me – who’s math skills were a big part of why we choose not to homeschool. the math is just:

the total price / the total weight or volume. 

As an example, I’ll use the laundry detergent ticket above.

$7.62/2.5L=$3.048/1 L (or $3.05/1 L) 

IS UNIT PRICING AN EFFECTIVE TOOL?

Sometimes with pricing items out this way, it can cost you a bit more upfront. But if it’s a cost you can afford, then my experience says; Yes! Unit pricing a very effective tool. And it’s not just me. THIS Canadian study was done where over 40% of the population reported that they use unit pricing and find it an effective tool. Unit pricing is how places like Costco or Sam’s Club work. You pay more upfront for a bigger quantity, but pay less overall per unit or volume.

Do you use unit pricing? If not, will unit pricing be a tool you implement in the feature? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Unit Pricing: The Cheaper Price Isn't Always The Best Price

21 comments

  1. MinhNguyen says:

    These are great experiences. I also pay attention to this when shopping with her husband. Need to learn more. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Elizabeth O says:

    This is such an informative post about unit pricing. I always look at this while I’m shopping and always carry my calculator to help to calculate my shopping items price.

  3. Maria says:

    I’ve actually been doing this for years! I don’t know when it happened exactly, but I remember feeling so wronged when I figured out they sometimes the “economy pack” was actually more expensive than the other ones!

  4. Joanna says:

    I like that my local supermarket actually shows the unit pricing as well, so it is easier to compare without doing the math. You can easily see which are the cheaper products.

  5. Preet says:

    This is so informative post about unit-pricing. I do sometimes check the unit pricing on my phone’s calculator, but I do skip it when I am in hurry.

  6. Ithfifi says:

    I’ve never ordered big quantities before but this looks really helpful for that. Anything maths related I am generally useless in! Seeing the two costs side by side makes it really obvious how helpful it is!

  7. Wiola says:

    My husband is the one who taught me to look for a unit price while choosing a product in the supermarket. So it’s true, you can buy something that seems cheaper but it’s really not if you check the unit pricing! We always compare these little piece of information if we wanna save some money!

  8. Luci says:

    I actually do use unit pricing, probably because I work retail. If I’m buying something that is in bulk I tend to look to see if it is a better buy.

  9. Ariel says:

    I never really knew any of this and I took an economics class in college. I always thought the lower price was the best price but now I know differently. Thank you for sharing this great information.

  10. Ana Vukosavljevic says:

    I remember when I was studying this from Economy, it was soo confusing for me, but it has totally sense when you actually look at it. I need to give this to my mom to read it!!

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